Sandra McCoy, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Division of Epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) School of Public Health. She studies how social, economic, and cultural forces influence disease transmission and health outcomes. During the past several years, Dr. McCoy has explored these relationships through the lens of HIV infection and reproductive health. Using a diverse array of approaches, her goal is to identify innovative, cost-effective, and scalable interventions to overcome global health challenges. Dr. McCoy is especially interested in designing and testing new interventions that can positively change health behavior, such as increasing adherence to treatment, adoption of family planning, or encouraging people to engage in health screenings.
Most recently, Dr. McCoy led a randomized study in Tanzania to compare the effects of short-term food and cash assistance on adherence to antiretroviral therapy among people living with HIV infection in Shinyanga Region (read more about the study here). Also in Tanzania and with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations Program, her team used patient-centered design and a customer centered approach to develop a simple, scalable intervention to retain patients in HIV care. In addition to her work in Tanzania, Sandi is part of the external impact evaluation team for Zimbabwe’s Accelerated National Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT) Program. In this role, she has led several sub-analyses, including describing service utilization in the PMTCT cascade, an analysis of unmet need for family planning, a study examining the effect of food insecurity on utilization of services in the PMTCT cascade, and a study using geospatial analysis to better target resource allocation in the “last mile” towards elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission. She also has a portfolio of projects focusing on HIV prevention among vulnerable populations in the United States.