Gillings School Directory

Kate Muessig, PhD

Dr. Kate Muessig

Kate Muessig, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Health Behavior
  • 306 Rosenau Hall
  • CB #7440
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599
  • USA

Dr. Kate Muessig is a public health interventionist and social scientist whose research centers on the prevention and care of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the urban United States and in China. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior.

Representative Courses

Foundations I, Global Health Module (HBEH 815) | Syllabus

Research Proposal Development (HBEH 860) | Syllabus

Research Activities

Dr. Muessig's work focuses on key populations including men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers and populations experiencing health disparities.

She is currently engaged in the development and testing of a number of electronic and mobile Health (eHealth/mHealth) interventions for men who have sex with men in both the U.S. and China. These projects aim to alleviate stigma, increase social support and reduce barriers to care.

Her methodological focus is on the use of qualitative and mixed-methods studies to support the development, implementation and evaluation of health behavior interventions.

Service Activities

Editorial board:
     Sexually Transmitted Diseases, invited member of the editorial board (September 2014–present)

Peer reviewer:

     Grant proposal reviewer:
          USAID/Project SEARCH: Research to Prevention (R2P)
          Small Grants Program for HIV/STD prevention among men who have sex with men (May-July, 2010)
     Ad-hoc journal reviewer:
          AIDS and Behavior
          American Journal of Public Health
          BioMed Central Public Health
          Journal of Medical Internet Research
          Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare
          Journal of the International AIDS Society
          Patient Education and Counseling
          Sexual Health
     Abstract reviewer:
          International Union against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI)
          Asia Pacific Conference, Bangkok, Thailand (2014)

     Annual UNC-South China STI Research Training Course in Guangzhou, China, (2012-2014)
     Host faculty adviser for Suowei Xiao, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Carolina Asia Center (2014-2015)


Princeternship: hosted undergraduate Princeton University student for exploring public health career (2014) See write-up.

Selection committee: Princeton in Asia fellowships – interviewer (2013-present)

Department of Health Behavior, Masters Admissions Committee (2014-present)

Department of Health Behavior, Student Survey Committee, Graduate Program Review and CEPH Reaccreditation (April 2015-present)

Carolina Asia Center Advisory Board (2014-2016; two year invited term)

Carolina Asia Center, The China Initiative: Facilitating transdisciplinary research and collaboration among China scholars across the University of North Carolina (2013-present)

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) for Asian languages scholarship committee (2014-present)

Carolina Southeast Asian Summer Program (SEAS), selection committee (2014)

UNC Doris Duke and Fogarty Fulbright International Clinical Research Fellowships review committee (2013-present)

Gillings Innovation Laboratory Awards; conduct faculty proposal reviews (2014)

Invited speaker and workshop facilitator: Qualitative Data Analysis Training Workshop; UNC Office of Undergraduate Education. (2015)

Practice Activities

Dr. Muessig develops evidence-based combination interventions that address social, structural and behavioral factors that impede optimal individual and public health outcomes for HIV. These combination interventions include the application and evaluation of advances in biomedical, behavioral and technology-based tools (e.g. web, mobile web, mobile phone apps) for HIV prevention and care.

In North Carolina and internationally, Dr. Muessig works directly with clinicians, public health practitioners, community-based organizations and community members in the design and application of research to advance these goals. For the past four years she has worked with Dr. Hightow-Weidman on her NIH-funded research including the HealthMPowerment study - a web and mobile phone-based intervention to reduce sexual risk and increase testing and linkage to care among HIV-positive and HIV-negative young, Black men who have sex with men (MSM) in North Carolina; and the Epic Allies study – a mobile phone application that uses principles of behavior change, gamification, and social networking to support daily medication adherence and maintenance in care among HIV-positive youth. If successful in their respective randomized controlled trials, these interventions will be disseminated in other U.S. sites and adapted for use in other UNC-collaborative sites in South Africa, Brazil and China.

Dr. Muessig's work supporting the USAID-funded LINKAGES project – a collaboration between USAID, FHI360, UNC-Chapel Hill, IntraHealth and PACT—is focused on improving service delivery of HIV prevention and care services to affected key populations in over 20 countries. She designed a tool called the Programmatic Mapping Readiness Assessment which guides country partners through an information gathering and decision-making process to identify the geographic and sub-population areas of greatest need for HIV services within the country, identify the potential risks and benefits of conducting research ans service provision in these areas and create an action plan for addressing these risks.

Key Publications

“Inside these fences is our own little world”: Prison-based HIV testing and HIV-related stigma among incarcerated men and women. Claire Farel, Eliza Filene, Kathryn Muessig, David Rosen, Becky White, David Wohl (2016). AIDS Education and Prevention, 28(2), 103-116.

Medication-Taking Practices of Patients on Antiretroviral HIV Therapy: Control, Power, and Intentionality. K Amola, E Maiese, M Mouw, K Muessig, J Murphy, A Panter, K Stein, D Wohl (2015). AIDS patient care and STDs, 29(11), 606-16.

A mixed methods study on the acceptability of using e-health for HIV prevention and sexual health care among MSM in South China. Muessig KE, Bien CH, Min Y, Lee R, Yang M, Yang LG, Yang B, Peeling RW, Tucker JD, Hightow-Weidman LB. (2015). Journal of Medical Internet Research.

A systematic review of recent smartphone, internet and Web 2.0 interventions to address the HIV continuum of care. Muessig KE, Nekkanti M, Bauermeister J, Bull S, Hightow-Weidman LB. (2015). Current HIV/AIDS Reports, 12(1), 173-190.


PhD, Health Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2011

BA, Anthropology / East Asian Studies, Princeton University

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