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Photograph of Melissa Hawkins

Melissa Hawkins Director, Public Health Scholars Program Health Studies

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University M.H.S., Johns Hopkins University B.A., Emory University

Melissa Hawkins is the Director of the Public Health Scholars Program in the Department of Health Studies at American University. Dr. Hawkins is an epidemiologist with over a decade of experience in the application of public health methodologies to government and private sector challenges. Her expertise is in maternal and child health, with an interest in improving pregnancy outcomes. Currently, her research addresses the integration of Community Health Workers (CHW) in the U.S. health workforce, in both clinical and community-based teams, and examining the effectiveness of CHWs as change agents in improving health equity. She is also the research director for a 5-year intervention study, funded by the USDA, to improve health literacy and prevent obesity in elementary school students in Washington DC. Before joining American in 2015, she served as Research Director for TMNcorp, a public health communications organization, where she lead the design, conduct, and analyses for epidemiological investigations related to women, infant, and children’s health. She also served as a Senior Epidemiologist with Epidemiology International, a contract research organization, where her research focused on resolving methodological and data collection issues in study design and evaluation. Her work focuses on translating data to improve community health. Dr. Hawkins holds a Ph.D. and M.H.S. in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, where she previously taught undergraduate and graduate students for fifteen years before coming to American University. She is a fellow with the American College of Epidemiology. Her vision for the Public Health Scholars Program is to prepare students for a wide range of public health careers.
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2021

  • HLTH-350 Intro to Health Research

  • HLTH-394 Comm Service Learning Project: Intro to Health Research

  • HLTH-683 Data Analysis in Hlth Sciences

Summer 2021

  • HLTH-211 Emerging Issues Public Health

  • HLTH-683 Data Analysis in Hlth Sciences

Fall 2021

  • HLTH-480 Public Health Capstone

  • HLTH-681 Research Methodology