Gary W. Harper


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Professional Title

Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, Professor of Global Public Health


Global Public Health
Health Behavior and Health Education
School of Public Health


Gary W. Harper, PhD, MPH is a Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, as well as a Professor of Global Public Health. Dr. Harper's research and community work focuses on the mental health and sexual health needs of adolescents and young adults who experience varying degrees of oppression and marginalization, especially Black gay/bisexual young men, transgender and non-binary youth, and youth living with HIV. His LGBTQ+ mental health work is focused on increasing access to mental health services for LGBTQ+ youth, and working with policymakers to ban the use of conversion therapy with LGBTQ+ minors. For more than 25 years, Dr. Harper has worked collaboratively with community agencies and community members to develop and evaluate a range of culturally and developmentally appropriate mental health, sexual health, and HIV prevention programs for youth—working domestically in large urban cities and globally in Botswana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, and Zambia. In Dr. Harper's research, he utilizes mixed-methods and qualitative approaches to research; especially methods that help us understand the lived experiences and social justice needs of diverse groups of adolescents and young adults.

Harper is a co-principal investigator for Student Opportunities for AIDS/HIV Research, the only pipeline program of its kind in the United States, which provides a robust training environment for undergraduate students from underrepresented groups who are interested in research careers in this area

Research Interests

community-based research
mixed methods
qualitative research