William Ward Darrow

William Ward Darrow

Professor Emeritus

Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Email: darroww@fiu.edu

Curriculum Vitae


History of Public Health, Program Planning & Evaluation, HIV & STD Prevention


Professor Emeritus Bill Darrow developed, taught, and updated graduate-level courses on theories of health behavior, community organization for health promotion, ethical issues in public health, intervention mapping, program planning and evaluation, survey research methods, and a doctoral seminar on “The New Public Health” that morphed into “History and Foundations of Public Health.” While active on our faculty (1994-2020), he served the South Florida community as a member of the Dade County HIV/AIDS Prevention Community Planning Group (1995-97), Miami-Dade County AIDS Prevention Task Force (1994-1999), South Florida Syphilis Coalition (2003-2005), Florida Department of Health HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Work Group, and the South Beach AIDS Project Advisory Board (1995-2001).

Dr. Darrow began his tenure with FIU in summer 1994 by leading HIV prevention and research efforts in South Beach and other areas of high HIV incidence. From 1999 to 2008, he served as project leader and principal investigator for the REACH 2010 community mobilization project to eliminate disparities in HIV disease in Broward County. In retirement, he continues to conduct research, present, and publish alone and with former and current faculty and student colleagues. To date, he has published over 125 original research articles in peer-review journals as well as chapters in books, research monographs, and technical reports. He has presented more than 100 scientific papers at national and international meetings, and has consulted with many professional and service organizations, including the Global Program on AIDS, the World Health Organization, and the European Union.   

Dr. Darrow’s career in public health began on September 5, 1961, as a Venereal Disease Investigator with the New York City Department of Health. In 1963 he moved to the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) as a Public Health Advisor and in 1965 joined the Behavioral Research Activities Unit of the Venereal Disease Branch.  After receiving advanced degrees, he returned to CDC in 1973 as a Research Sociologist responsible for conducting research and consulting with biomedical colleagues on the social and behavioral aspects of sexually transmitted diseases. In summer 1981, he was assigned to the Task Force on Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections to help reveal the secrets of a previously unrecognized acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Before accepting a faculty position with FIU in August 1994, he supervised a staff of 30 social and behavioral scientists as Chief, Behavioral and Prevention Research Branch, Division of STD/HIV Prevention, National Center for Prevention Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Darrow’s role in demonstrating the sexual transmission of the AIDS virus was described by Randy Shilts in And the Band Played On (1986), His character was portrayed by Richard Masur in the Emmy-Award-winning motion picture of the same name (1993). He can be seen playing himself in “The Zero Factor,” part one of the four-part documentary, A Time of AIDS (1993; shown most recently on the Discovery Channel). In 1999, Bill appeared in the ZDF German Television series, 100 Jahre—Der Countdown, to talk about the extent of scientific knowledge about AIDS in 1985, and how that knowledge evolved from a series of scientific studies conducted with CDC epidemiologists and other colleagues. More recently, his research on early AIDS has been reviewed in Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic (Oxford University Press, 2017), and he reflects on that research in the documentary film, Killing Patient Zero (filmed, in part, at FIU and released in 2019).


  • University of Connecticut, BA (cum laude) 
  • University of New Hampshire, MA
  • Emory University, PhD


Darrow WW.  The First 40 Years of AIDS: Promising Programs, Limited Success [Commentary]. AIDS and Behavior 25 (November 2021), 3449-3471 (DOI 10.1007/s10461-021-03497-1). 

Khalil I, Yut L, Agha K, Furlani Bodanese L, Barajas S, Frederic J, Silva AC, Darrow WW.  Increasing the use of Permethrin to Prevent Zika Infections among University Students. Florida Public Health Review 18 (2021):9-19. Available at: https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/fphr/vol18/iss1/2 

Othman A, Darrow WW. The Wall, the Ban, and the Objectification of Women: Has “Uncle Sam” Learned any Lessons from “Typhoid Mary?” International Journal of Social Quality 9 (Winter 2019):1-18 (DOI: 10.3167/IJSQ.2019.090202). 

Preston S, Darrow WW. Are Men Being Left Behind (Or Catching Up)? Gender Differences in HPV-Related Awareness, Knowledge, and Attitudes Among Diverse College Students.  American Journal of Men’s Health. (November-December 2019):1–12 (DOI: 10.1177/1557988319883776) 

Escudero DJ, Bennett B, Suarez S, Darrow WW, Mayer KH, Seage GR III.  Progress and Challenges in “Getting to Zero” New HIV Infections in Miami, Florida.  Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care 18 (2019):1-9. (DOI: 10.1177/2325958219852122). 

Preston SM, Darrow WW.  Improving Human Papillomavirus-Related Knowledge and Attitudes Among Ethnically Diverse Young Adults. Health Equity 3 (2019):254-263  (DOI: 10.1089/heq.2018.0091). 

Rubens M, Batra A, Sebekos E, Tanaka H, Gabbidon K, Darrow WW.  Exploring the Determinants of Risky Sexual Behavior among Ethnically Diverse University Students: The Student Behavioral Health Survey-Web. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (May 2019):1-9 (https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-019-00596-7). 

Mukherjee S, McKinney S, Darrow W.  Stigma Towards Homosexuality and AIDS Among Students of a Large Hispanic-Serving University.  Sexuality & Culture 22 (December 2018):1137-1153 (https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-018-9516-4). 

Darrow WW, Bhatt C, Rene C, Thomas L.  Zika Virus Awareness and Prevention Practices among University Students in Miami: Fall 2016.  Health Education & Behavior 45 (December 2018):967-976 (DOI: 10.1177/1090198118760687). 

Darrow WW.  And the Band Played On: Before and After [Commentary]. AIDS and Behavior 21 (October 2017):2799-2806 (DOI: 10.1007/s10461-017-1798-2).