Professor of Social Work

Victoria Frye

Dr. Frye’s research evaluates how social stratification produces health disparities, applying epidemiological and social science theories to identify multilevel determinants of both HIV and intimate partner and sexual violence using mixed methods.


For over two decades, Dr. Frye has led the design and testing of HIV prevention interventions, among populations, made vulnerable to HIV by social systems of oppression, including women who use drugs, gay men of color, and low-income, heterosexual, African-American cisgender men and women. A hallmark of her research program is an intellectual process that applies critical social and psychological theory to empirical data to inform the design of social and behavioral prevention interventions. She develops complex, theory-based conceptual models, specifying interconnected macro-, meso- and micro-level pathways, which she tests using carefully collected observational data and multilevel statistical models. Results, and further formative research, inform the design and testing of multilevel prevention interventions, using quasi-experimental and experimental study designs. The ultimate goals of Dr. Frye’s scholarship are to 1) reduce social stratification by developing the research base on multilevel drivers of health inequities; 2) design and test multicomponent and multilevel prevention interventions to eliminate health disparities; and 3) partner in an authentic way with community organizations, members and representatives to ground my scholarship in equity.

Dr. Frye has been the Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI of over a dozen NIH/CDC-funded research grants, including a K01 (career development award), three R21s, three R34s, and two R01s, and has been a Co-I on numerous R01s, R56, and U01 grants. Dr. Frye recently completed TRUST (1R01 DA038108; Contact mPI: Frye), an HIV self-testing intervention and PEPTALK (1R21 AI122996; Contact mPI: Frye), a theory-based social and print media campaign to drive demand for PEP among MSM residing in upper Manhattan and the Bronx. With colleagues at Gay Men of African Descent, she tested, using quasi-experimental methods, CHHANGE (R21 MH102182-01; PI: Frye), a community-level, anti-HIV stigma and -homophobia intervention. She is currently funded to conduct CHHARGE (R34 MH121295-01; PI: Frye), which extends the CHHANGE model to include intersectional PrEP, PEP, and testing stigmas. These interventions build on results from NYCM2M (R01 HD059729-01: PI: Koblin), one of the first major, cross-sectional, social epidemiological studies of neighborhood and network effects on the health and well-being of gay men in an urban area; the study of 1500 MSM living in NYC was conducted between 2010-2012 and, in addition to producing a dozen peer-reviewed research reports, provided dissertation data for three doctoral candidates. Dr. Frye is currently co-leading similar research on neighborhood and network effects on HIV care-related outcomes using a longitudinal cohort study design (R01 MH110176-01A1; PI: Tieu; Co-I: Frye); finally, in this area, she is the mPI on ENVIO (R21 1MH2994614; Contact mPI: Tieu; mPI: Frye), an ecological momentary assessment-based study to evaluate the impact of environmental violence, including racism, homophobia and police brutality, on HIV care engagement among MSM of color.

Dr. Frye also studies intimate partner and sexual violence, using mixed methods to characterize informal social control of violence. Like her work in HIV prevention, this observational research informs the design and testing of interventions. Most recently, she has focused on prevention among urban commuter campus college students with Department of Justice funding via the Office of Victims of Crime. In the 1990s, she and her health department colleagues mapped the epidemiology of intimate partner femicide in New York City. She is currently developing a program of research focused on partner and sexual violence prevention among urban commuter campuses students.Dr. Frye has authored over 85 publications, in journals such as JAMA, American Journal of Public Health, Social Science and Medicine, JAIDS, Lancet HIV, AIDS & Behavior, Violence against Women, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, PLOS ONE, Health & Place and the Journal of Urban Health, where she served as Associate Editor from 2008 to 2019. She is a Scitnetific Advisory Board member of the HIV Intervention Science Training Program for Unrepresented Investigators (NIMH R25 MH080665-07; PIs: El-Bassel, Wu) and a member of the Evaluation Core of the New York and the City University of New York School of Public Health Prevention Research Center (U48 DP 005008; PIs: Trinh-Shevrin, Thorpe, Huang). She was until February 2021 the Co-chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to which she was appointed in 2016 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Obama. She has lived in NYC since 1987 and in Washington Heights since 1999 with her family; she and is an elected parent member of the District Six Community Education Council, serving Washington Heights and Inwood, where her children attend public school.