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Melissa Howard

Clinical Associate Professor

Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention


Email: mehoward@fiu.edu

Focus

Community Health Promotion, Health Communication, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health

Biography

Dr. Melissa Howard is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) with a background in community health education. She joined Stempel College in 2009 and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in maternal and child health, public health education, health behavior theory, intervention design, program evaluation, health communication, and research methods. Her research and practice interests center on community health, adolescent health, health equity, and community-based participatory research. 

Dr. Howard presently co-leads an evaluation of the Closing the Gap (CTG) grant program awarded by the Florida Department of Health Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE). The CTG program funds community-based projects that improve health outcomes among underserved populations. Since 2019, Dr. Howard has served as the director of FIU's Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Public Health Catalyst Program. Funded by HRSA, this program serves to expand FIU's existing graduate-level MCH training program, strengthen MCH practicum experiences for our students in Miami-Dade County, and integrate our graduates as leaders in the MCH workforce. Since 2018, Dr. Howard has served as a member of the Community Engagement Core of FIU's Research Center in Minority Institutions (FIU-RCMI). FIU-RCMI is an NIH-supported program dedicated to growing health disparities research in South Florida.  Dr. Howard previously served as a co-investigator on a SAMHSA- funded project aimed at reducing health risks among young adults in Miami-Dade County. Through her longstanding membership on FIU’s Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Task Force, Dr. Howard plays an active role in shaping University policy and programs to ensure a healthy FIU environment with respect to health behaviors including substance use.

Education

  • University of Florida, MPH, Ph.D.
  • Wellesley College, BA

Publications/Research

Bozlak CT, Brown QL, Davis R, de Long R, Howard MM, Lassiter TE, Perez-Patron MJ, Taylor BD, Turchi R & Tissue MM. (2022).  Developing a Public Health Maternal and Child Health Training Program: Lessons Learned from Five Schools of Public Health.  Maternal and Child Health Journal, 25 (1), 1-8. 

Wagner EF, Langwerden RJ, Morris SL, Ward MK, Trepka MJ, Campa AL, Howard MM, Charles SC, Garba NA & Hospital MM.  (2021).  Virtual Town Halls Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy Among Racial/Ethnic Minorities: Preliminary Findings.  Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, 62, 317-325.

Clarke RD, Fernandez SB, Hospital MM, Morris SL, Howard MM, Wagner, EF, Wales E. (2021).  Getting Their Feet in the Door: Communication Cues to Action for HIV Testing and Condom Use Behaviors Among Hispanic/Latinx College Students.  Journal of Primary Prevention, 42(4), 331-341.

Fernandez SB, Howard MM, Hospital MM, Morris SL, Wagner EF. (2019).  Hispanic Students' Perceptions About HIV/STI Testing and Prevention: A Mixed-Methods Study in a Hispanic-Serving University. Health Promotion Practice, 20(5), 742-750.

Fernandez SB, Wagner, EF, Hospital MM, Howard MM, & Morris SL (2019). Social Media Based Strategies to Reach Hispanic Young Adults with Tailored Sexual Health Information. Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 21, 73-93. 

Fernandez SB, Clarke R, Howard MM, Morris SL, Hospital, MM & Wagner, EF. (2018). Focus Groups in Health Disparities Research:  Lessons Learned from an HIV Prevention Program with Hispanic Young Adults.  In Lowell Duncan (ed.), Advances in Health and Disease, Vol 4, 131-152.  New York: Nova Biomedical.

Fernandez SB, Wagner EF, Hospital MM, Morris SL, Howard MM & Graziano J. (2016). Direct and indirect strategies for reducing alcohol use in emerging adult clinical and community samples: Social Media-Based Prevention for Reducing Alcohol Use Problems among Emerging Adults. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Volume 40, Supplement: S1.

Howard MM, Weiler RM, Haddox DJ. (2009). Development and Reliability of Items Measuring the Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs for the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Journal of School Health, 79 (11), 554-60.

Morris [Howard] MC, Cline RJW, Weiler RM, Broadway SC. (2006). Prescription Drug Abuse Information in D.A.R.E.  Journal of Drug Education, 36(1), 33-45.