Susan S. Witte
With a perspective informed by feminism and women’s studies, Dr. Witte works with communities to identify best approaches to preventing HIV and other related social determinants of health.
Susan Witte is a social worker and associate professor. She teaches in the clinical and advanced generalist methods of the master’s and doctoral programs. Dr. Witte served for 15 years as the associate director of the Social Intervention Group and has been a faculty affiliate since 2014. She joined the faculty of the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia at its inception in 2007.
Born and raised during the second wave of feminism, her teaching, practice, and research are firmly entrenched in third-wave feminist ideals and environments. An educational background in public policy and women’s studies led her to pursue social work practice and research women’s sexual and reproductive health, including HIV/STI prevention and the many co-occurring, related issues women experience—e.g., histories of childhood and adult trauma, substance and alcohol use, partner violence, and poverty. She has written about and conducted intervention research since 1987.
Dr. Witte’s research is broadly targeted to the evolution of more efficient and effective methods for evidence-based program implementation in local and global communities. She collaborated with SIG investigators to develop and promote couple-based interventions for heterosexual women beginning in 1997 and has tested, packaged, and disseminated the first of these, the Connect intervention, also a CDC DEBI. She led one of the largest HIV/STI dissemination projects to date, testing the adoption and effectiveness of a multimedia couple-based HIV prevention program delivered in HIV services agencies across New York State. Her past and ongoing research has been funded by NIMH, NIAAA, NIDA, and CDC.
Dr. Witte has also worked since 1995 with communities of women engaged in sex work. She collaborates with colleagues in the United States and abroad, predominantly in Mongolia and currently in Kazakhstan, to test the benefit of adding financial literacy, business development, and microsavings components to HIV prevention for women in sex work.
Based on her dissemination work, Dr. Witte is also collaborating on a project examining the impact of enhancing provider-level collaboration and referrals across HIV services programs in New York, in order to build on natural capacities and strengths in the system and improve prevention services to consumer constituencies served by these agencies.
Dr. Witte’s direct practice experience includes working in agencies that provide support to survivors of child and adult sexual violence as well as agencies that provide the spectrum of HIV/AIDS prevention, education, and treatment services. She has worked as a clinician and an administrator, providing direct care as well as developing and conducting needs assessments and new programs and evaluation plans.
Dr. Witte holds a BA from Duke University, an MSW from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD from the Columbia School of Social Work.