Perry Halkitis has one over-arching message for his students:
“Research is complicated and messy and doesn’t the happen the way it appears in textbooks. You need to be fluid in your thinking in conducting research studies because we’re working with people in real life settings. People are complicated organisms, diverse on so many levels, with real minds, hearts and lives. We have to acknowledge that and design studies in such a way as to accommodate for reality. We must never lose site of the fact that the best research in public health is conducted with and for the public.”
All that said, "I love research –it’s close to my heart. Working to train the next generation of scholars -- that’s my legacy." And quite a legacy it is.
Making a remarkable impact on the body of national research of gay men, Dr. Halkitis is a nationally recognized and award-winning HIV/AIDS and Gay Men’s Health Public Health psychologist, writer and AIDS warrior. As such, he is a “go to” resource for the national news media.
Dr. Halkitis’ rich background in education, psychology and public health gives him a unique advantage of seeing research from multiple perspectives and disciplines -- he approaches his work from a wider lens and encourages his students to do the same.
Perry specializes in HIV/AIDS bio-behavioral research studies for gay men, with an emphasis on the intersection of HIV with drug use and mental health burden. He has been recognized by his peers for his leadership and acumen in the classroom, lab and the halls of the US Congress for gay men’s health -- especially as they relate to HIV prevention and care.
Most recently, he received the Psychology and AIDS Leadership Award (Distinguished Leader), American Psychological Association Committee on Psychology and the AIDS 2014 Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology Award (Senior) and the World AIDs Day New York State Commissioner’s Award. He also served on Governor Cuomo’s End of AIDs Task Force and was appointed by former US Health and Human Services’ Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory panel on HIV/AIDs .
He serves as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at NYU’s College of Global Public Health (CGPH), is a professor of applied psychology, global public health and medicine, and director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS).
“I think that using multiple disciplines makes the quality (of the work) and the way we (the team) think about the studies even better. I believe that when we have a wider lens, the better the work becomes. By bringing psychology, public health and education together, it makes the framework for thinking about the problem wider, compared with using one very narrow perspective. And that’s the beauty of the work we are doing here at CGPH -- bringing all these disciplines together.”
As the director and founder of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) at NYU, Dr. Halkitis conduct studies that focuses on understanding the behavioral, biological, social, structural and psycho-social drivers of health problems primary in gay men and as well as other marginalized populations. Currently, he is conducting the Project P-18 study which looks at the health risk and resiliencies of young gay and bisexual men as they emerge into adulthood, as well as the biological, behavioral and structural drivers of these health states. The study is built on the syndemic theory which posits that health epidemics are overlapping, synergistic and fueled by psychological burdens experienced by many populations including sexual minority men.
As part of the CHIBPS team, Dr. Halkitis Halkitis works closely with many CGPH and Langone faculty including Drs. Farzana Kapadia, Danielle Ompad, Kalvin Yu, Richard Green, and Dustin Duncan.
In tandem with conducting significant work that informs public health practice and policy, CHIBPS also serves as a training ground for the next generation of scholars. For the last 15 years, no less than 25 students a semester from various disciplines including public health and across levels of study interim at CHIBPS. NIDA also recognizes the significant mentorship and training provided at CHIBPS. Over the last six years, NIDA has funded high school and college students who are members of underrepresented groups in research to work with Dr. Halkitis’ team. In addition, CHIBPS has served as a site for the development of numerous postdocs -- also members of underrepresented groups --funded to work with Dr. Halkitis and his colleagues as they begin their own scholarly careers.
Perry inspires, educates and leads his staff and student researchers by example. He has built an environment conducive to constant learning and growth, thereby fostering a community of highly-skilled scholars committed to research on gay men’s health.