Melissa Ward

Melissa Ward

Assistant Professor

Epidemiology, FIU Research Center in Minority Institutions (FIU-RCMI)

Office: AHC5 483

Phone: 305-348-2075



Women-Centered Care, Opioid Use Disorder, Social Epidemiology, Health Disparities


Melissa Ward, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Stempel College. A proud double-alumna, she earned her BA in English from FIU in 2008 and her PhD in Public Health/Epidemiology in 2017. A social epidemiologist by training, her research interests include disparities in access to substance use treatment and women’s health. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of a grant funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse titled, “The Women-Centered Opioid Recovery Project: Advancing women's engagement in care for opioid use disorder through development of a novel recovery navigation system led by women in recovery.” She is also a co-Investigator on the Research Infrastructure Core for FIU’s Research Center in Minority Institutions (FIU-RCMI) as well as two NIH-funded projects examining patient-centered and women-centered HIV care. She has worked at FIU since 2013; before joining the FIU-RCMI team as a postdoctoral fellow in 2018, she worked as a Research Analyst and Medical Simulation Manager in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

Prior to coming to FIU, Melissa worked as a Research Associate at George Washington University (GW). She has extensive experience in health equity research and program management, and has provided technical support for numerous projects sponsored by federal and international agencies including the Department of State, HRSA, NIH, UNAIDS, and the World Bank. In 2010, she received her MPH in Global Health Policy at GW, completing a GW Global Health Service Fellowship in the Public Health Information and GIS Unit at the World Health Organization that same year.


  • PhD, Public Health/Epidemiology, Florida International University, 2017
  • MPH, Global Health Policy, George Washington University, 2010
  • BA, English, Florida International University, 2008

Proud moment of your mentees

I love watching my mentees advance in their careers, whether that is presenting at a conference, publishing their first paper, landing a competitive post-doctoral fellowship, starting a job as a government epidemiologist, or launching their faculty career in academia.


To view an updated list of Dr. Ward’s publications, please click here.