Diana Sheehan




Assistant Professor
Florida International University

Professional Bio

Dr. Diana Sheehan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work at Florida International University (FIU). Her research focuses on racial/ethnic and socioeconomic HIV disparities, particularly those that occur along the HIV/AIDS continuum of care and those that occur among Latinos. In addition, much of her work has focused on the contribution of residential neighborhoods to HIV disparities. More recently, she has begun conducting research on the impact of neighborhoods and risk networks on sexual risk behaviors. Dr. Sheehan’s work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the HIV Prevention Trials Network. She also holds a PhD in Epidemiology from FIU, and a BS and MPH from Boston University.

Project Description

Structural strategies addressing social determinants of sexual risk behavior could augment current individual-level interventions by addressing those factors that limit a person’s ability to carry out risk reduction. The primary objective of this study is to assess the longitudinal relationship between social disorganization and sexual risk behavior as measured by rates of newly diagnosed chlamydia and teen birth rates. To achieve the study objective, we will conduct growth curve modeling of 8 years of County Health Rankings and American Community Survey data. Findings may provide critical programmatic information necessary to address the social determinants of sexual risk behavior, thereby helping to create healthier, more equitable communities.

Why did you apply to New Connections

I applied to the New Connections program because I wanted to connect and aligned myself with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health, as well as with early career investigators across the country conducting health equity research.

Research Interests

  • Health disparities
  • Social determinants of health
  • Neighborhood effects on health
  • Spatial epidemiology


Sheehan, D.M., Fennie, K.P., Mauck, D.E., Maddox, L.M., Lieb, S., & Trepka, M.J. (2017). Retention in HIV care and viral suppression: individual- and neighborhood-level predictors of racial/ethnic differences, Florida, 2015. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 31(4), 167-175. PMCID: PMC5397217.

Sheehan, D.M., Trepka, M.J., Fennie, K.P., Prado, G., Madhivanan, P., Dillon, F.R., & Maddox LM. (2017). Individual and neighborhood determinants of late HIV diagnosis among Latinos, Florida, 2007-2011. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 19(4), 825-834. PMCID: PMC5083229.

Sheehan, D.M., Trepka, M.J., Fennie, K.P., Prado, G., Madhivanan, P., Dillon, F.R., & Maddox LM. (2015). Individual and neighborhood predictors of mortality among HIV-positive Latinos with a history of injection drug use, Florida, 2000-2011. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 154, 243-50. PMCID: PMC4536123.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2018
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Creating Healthier, More Equitable Communities
  • Project Name: Examining the impact of social disorganization on sexual risk behaviors to improve community control of problematic individual behaviors

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