Beyond ?Know Your Status?: Investigating HIV/AIDS in Conversation with Black College Women
Brittany Williams

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Vermont

Primary Discipline

Higher Education
As a social determinant of health, education is inextricably linked with health disparities making research at the nexus of education and health vital for students? long-term success. HIV/AIDS is a major health disparity disproportionately impacting young adults, Black women, and U.S. Southerners. Center for Disease Control data suggests that HIV/AIDS infections are most common among people aged 13-45; Black women account for 58% of all women diagnosed and living with HIV in the U.S.; and Georgia ranks first of all 50 states in new HIV infections. Historically Black Colleges & Universities and predominantly Black Minority Serving Institutions in Metro Atlanta are, then, unique contexts to help mitigate the HIV/AIDS epidemic. To effectively leverage these campuses, there is an urgent need for HIV/AIDS research centering Black college women in their own words and on their own terms. This project is an intersectional qualitative study exploring Black college women?s attitudes, skills, and knowledge on the HIV/AIDS crisis in Metro Atlanta using sista circle methodology. While centering Black college women?s knowledge production and histories, I will specifically explore their perspectives on HIV/AIDS health and education policies, practices, and awareness of available biomedical prevention treatments such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Given the necropolitical attitudes towards HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation in the U.S. South, the findings from this project will inform campus leaders and stakeholders on how to better support Black women?s health education and campus health policies using the stories of their lives.
About Brittany Williams
Brittany M. Williams is a proud daughter of the working-class Black American south and product of Atlanta Public Schools. Beginning fall 2022, Dr. Williams will serve an Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration at the University of Vermont. Her research broadly explores race, class, and gender in education. She is particularly interested in (1) the nexus of education and health, inclusive of HIV/AIDS and stress; (2) how supervision and workplace dynamics influence employee success; and (3) the impact of social identity-based inequalities on higher education access, attainment, and achievement within which she centers classism, identity development, and citational injustic. Her personal-professional advocacy has recently appeared in AIDS United, National Public Radio, Teach for America, the National Black Women?s Health Imperative, and the National Minority Aids Council. Williams? scholarship has been published in numerous academic journals including Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, and Higher Education Research and Development, and has received extramural funding from the American Association of University Women. She recently co-edited the monograph Supervision in student affairs: Approaches and tensions in today?s workplaces (2021, with New Directions for Student Services). Prior to the 2022 academic year, she served as faculty at St. Cloud State University. Williams received her B.A. (Interdisciplinary Arts) from Hampshire College, M.A. (Sociology of Education) from Teachers College?Columbia University, and Ph.D. (College Student Affairs Administration) from the University of Georgia. She is a proud co-founder of two digitally rooted co-mentoring communities for Black women: #SisterPhD and #CiteASista.

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