Eric Houston




Assistant Professor
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Professional Bio

Eric Houston, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Charles R. Drew University in Los Angeles. He also holds an appointment as adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. His research and clinical work focus on addressing health disparities, mood disorders, and trauma. Dr. Houston received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He completed his clinical psychology internship at New YorkPresbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center and an additional three-year NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Houston has been awarded funding to conduct research aimed at examining factors associated with treatment adherence and engagement with care among patients disproportionately affected by HIV. His research has been published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at national conferences.

Project Description

A large and growing body of research has identified patient perceptions of care as a key factor influencing engagement and adherence. In the context of medical care for HIV, perceptions among African American patients are adversely influenced by psychosocial factors, including HIV stigma, medical mistrust, and perceived racism/discrimination. Little research, however, has examined the range of perceptions of medical care held by African American patients who decline HIV treatment or become lost to follow up. Given the growing disparities in HIV treatment outcomes affecting African Americans, there is a critical need to better understand these perceptions and how they may either facilitate or impede patient retention and adherence. Using a sample of African American patients identified as lost to follow up for care at two large urban hospitals, the current project employs qualitative approaches designed to identify and characterize a broad range of patient thoughts related to medical care. Findings are expected to elucidate how interventions could be designed to effectively re-engage and retain African American patients at risk for poor treatment outcomes.

Why did you apply to New Connections

My motivation to apply to the New Connections program stemmed from a commitment to engaging in research captured by the Culture of Health framework and a desire to bolster my ability as a behavioral scientist to design and conduct studies that have the potential to impact health outcomes related to HIV prevention and treatment.

Research Interests

Dr. Houston’s research interests focus on the role of cognitive processes and psychosocial factors in health disparities related to HIV.


Houston, E., Rucker, M., Tatum, A.K., Wolfe, B., Rolfsen, N., Williams, M., & Glick, N. (2016). HIV treatment outcome disparities: Using web-based technology to promote adherence and engagement with care among African American patients. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 9(4), 41-52.

Tatum, A.K., & Houston, E. (2016). Examining the interplay between depression, motivation, and antiretroviral therapy adherence: A social cognitive approach. AIDS Care, 29(3), 306-310.

Houston, E., Lyons T., Wolfe, B., Rolfsen, N., Williams, M., Rucker, M., & Glick, N. (2016). Implicit cognition among patients lost to follow up for HIV care: A preliminary study. The Open AIDS Journal, 10 (1), 83-92.

Houston, E., Mikrut, C., Guy, A., Fominaya, A.W., Tatum, A.K, Kim, J.H., & Brown, A. (2016). Another look at depressive symptoms and antiretroviral therapy adherence: The role of treatment self-efficacy. Journal of Health Psychology, 21(10), 2138-47.

Houston, E., & Fominaya, A.W. (2014). Antiretroviral therapy adherence in a sample of men with low socioeconomic status: The role of task-specific treatment self-efficacy. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 20(8), 896-905.

Houston, E., Sandfort, T., Watson, K.T. & Caton, C.L.M. (2013). Psychological pathways from childhood sexual and physical abuse to HIV risk behavior among single homeless women: The role of PTSD and borderline personality disorder symptoms. Journal of Health Psychology. 18, 1330-1340.

Houston, E., Sandfort, T., Dolezal, C., & Carballo-Diéguez, A. (2012). Depressive symptoms among MSM who engage in bareback sex: Does mood matter? AIDS and Behavior, 16(18), 2209-15.

Houston, E., McKirnan, D., Cervone, D., Johnson, M.S., & Sandfort, T.G.M. (2011). Assessing treatment motivation among patients receiving antiretroviral therapy: A multidimensional approach. Psychology and Health. 27(6), 674-87.

Houston, E., & McKirnan, D. (2007). Intimate partner abuse among gay and bisexual men: Risk correlates and health outcomes. Journal of Urban Health 84(5), 681-690.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2018
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Making Health a Shared Value
  • Project Name: Examining the impact of negative impressions of HIV medical care on the engagement in and adherence to care of African-American patients

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