LaRon Nelson


Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute


Dr. LaRon Nelson is a public health nurse and family nurse practitioner. He is a Scientist in the Centre for Urban Health Solutions of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital and the inaugural holder of the OHTN Research Chair in HIV Program Science with African, Caribbean and Black Communities. Dr. Nelson’s domestic and international research investigates strategies to reduce race and sexuality-based disparities in HIV outcomes. He is recognized as the world’s leading authority on the application of self-determination theory for HIV prevention and care. He is also trailblazing the use of a rapid psychological trauma recovery intervention to reduce the negative impacts of stigma and trauma on HIV outcomes in African and African diaspora communities.

Dr. Nelson’s work has influenced US foreign health policy on the decision to MSM in its key population targets for prevention services in West Africa. He has been invited to the White House on numerous occasions to provide consultation on setting research priorities for addressing stigma to improve HIV prevention and care outcomes in the US and sub-Saharan Africa. He was named one of Canada’s Rising Stars in Global Health for his groundbreaking research in Ghana and was honoured by the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care with the Excellence in HIV Prevention Award. Dr. Nelson is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. His work has been featured in the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership as well Canadian media outlets such as Poz Magazine, Outwards Magazine, Toronto Star newspaper, and Healthy Debate.

Recent Publications

  1. Wheeler, DP, Lucas, J, Wilton, L, Nelson, LE, Hucks-Ortiz, C, Watson, CC et al.. Building effective multilevel HIV prevention partnerships with Black men who have sex with men: experience from HPTN 073, a pre-exposure prophylaxis study in three US cities. J Int AIDS Soc. 2018;21 Suppl 7 :e25180. doi: 10.1002/jia2.25180. PubMed PMID:30334600 PubMed Central PMC6193312.
  2. Nelson, LE, McMahon, JM, Leblanc, NM, Braksmajer, A, Crean, HF, Smith, K et al.. Advancing the case for nurse practitioner-based models to accelerate scale-up of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. J Clin Nurs. 2019;28 (1-2):351-361. doi: 10.1111/jocn.14675. PubMed PMID:30230068 .
  3. Dyer, TV, Khan, MR, Regan, R, Harawa, NT, Nelson, LE, Wilton, L et al.. Differential Patterns of Risk and Vulnerability Suggest the Need for Novel Prevention Strategies for Black Bisexual Men in the HPTN 061 Study. J. Acquir. Immune Defic. Syndr. 2018;78 (5):491-498. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001716. PubMed PMID:29771782 .
  4. Kushwaha, S, Lalani, Y, Maina, G, Ogunbajo, A, Wilton, L, Agyarko-Poku, T et al.. "But the moment they find out that you are MSM…": a qualitative investigation of HIV prevention experiences among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Ghana's health care system. BMC Public Health. 2017;17 (1):770. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4799-1. PubMed PMID:28974257 PubMed Central PMC5627492.
  5. Ogunbajo, A, Kershaw, T, Kushwaha, S, Boakye, F, Wallace-Atiapah, ND, Nelson, LE et al.. Barriers, Motivators, and Facilitators to Engagement in HIV Care Among HIV-Infected Ghanaian Men Who have Sex with Men (MSM). AIDS Behav. 2018;22 (3):829-839. doi: 10.1007/s10461-017-1806-6. PubMed PMID:28550380 PubMed Central PMC5995561.
  6. Nelson, LE, Wilton, L, Moineddin, R, Zhang, N, Siddiqi, A, Sa, T et al.. Economic, Legal, and Social Hardships Associated with HIV Risk among Black Men who have Sex with Men in Six US Cities. J Urban Health. 2016;93 (1):170-88. doi: 10.1007/s11524-015-0020-y. PubMed PMID:26830422 PubMed Central PMC4794466.
  7. Nelson, LE, Wilton, L, Zhang, N, Regan, R, Thach, CT, Dyer, TV et al.. Childhood Exposure to Religions With High Prevalence of Members Who Discourage Homosexuality Is Associated With Adult HIV Risk Behaviors and HIV Infection in Black Men Who Have Sex With Men. Am J Mens Health. 2017;11 (5):1309-1321. doi: 10.1177/1557988315626264. PubMed PMID:26758708 PubMed Central PMC5675212.
  8. Nelson, LE, Wilton, L, Agyarko-Poku, T, Zhang, N, Aluoch, M, Thach, CT et al.. The Association of HIV Stigma and HIV/STD Knowledge With Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Adolescent and Adult Men Who Have Sex With Men in Ghana, West Africa. Res Nurs Health. 2015;38 (3):194-206. doi: 10.1002/nur.21650. PubMed PMID:25809638 .
  9. Nelson, LE, Wilton, L, Agyarko-Poku, T, Zhang, N, Zou, Y, Aluoch, M et al.. Predictors of condom use among peer social networks of men who have sex with men in Ghana, West Africa. PLoS ONE. 2015;10 (1):e0115504. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115504. PubMed PMID:25635774 PubMed Central PMC4312093.
  10. Nelson, LE, Thach, CT, Shelton, MM, Boyer, CB. Co-Parenting Relationship Experiences of Black Adolescent Mothers in Active Romantic Partnerships With the Fathers of Their Children. J Fam Nurs. 2015;21 (3):413-42. doi: 10.1177/1074840714560753. PubMed PMID:25486931 .
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, University of Rochester