A headshot of Dr. Stephen Thomas, a professor at UMD's School of Public Health and the director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity
Professor, Health Policy and Management
Director, Maryland Center for Health Equity
Other Affiliations: Center for Health Equity, Public Health Science
Campus: UMD | Building: School of Public Health | Room: 3302E
Phone: (301) 405-8357 |
Office Hours: 

By appointment, please contact Nanette Rode at 301-405-8859 or nrode@umd.edu


One of the nation's leading scholars in the effort to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities, Dr. Stephen B. Thomas has applied his expertise to address a variety of conditions from which minorities generally face far poorer outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and HIV/AIDS.  He is the Principal Investigator (with Dr. Sandra C. Quinn) on the Center of Excellence in Race, Ethnicity and Health Disparities Research, funded by the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).

Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards for his professional accomplishments, and over the years, his work has become recognized as one of the scholarly contributions leading to the 1997 Presidential Apology to Survivors of the Syphilis Study Done at Tuskegee.  His current research focuses on the translation of evidence-based science on chronic disease into community-based interventions designed to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care. More specifically, he has focused on understanding how social context shapes attitudes and behaviors of underserved, poorly served, and never-served segments of our society toward participation in health promotion and disease prevention activities. Dr. Thomas is particularly interested in how the legacy of the Syphilis Study at Tuskegee (1932–72) has impacted trust and influenced the willingness of African Americans to participate in medical and public health research.

Education and Training
  • PhD in Community Health Education, Southern Illinois University, 1985
  • MS in Health Education, Illinois State University, 1981
  • BS in School Health Education with Certification in Secondary School Health Education, Ohio State University, 1980

HLSA787: Distrust, Race & Research

Honors and Awards
  • 2005 David Satcher Award from the Directors of Health Promotion and Education
  • 2004 Alonzo Smyth Yerby Award from the Harvard School of Public Health for his work with people suffering the health effects of poverty
  1. King C, Chen J, Garza M, & Thomas S. (2014). Breast and Cervical Screening by Race/Ethnicity: Comparative Analyses before and during the Great Recession.  American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 46(4):359-67.
  2. Reynolds C, Thomas S, Morse J, Anderson S, Albert S, Dew M, Begley A, Karp J, Gildengers A, Butters M, Stack J, Kasckow J, Miller M, & Quinn S. (2014). Early Intervention to Preempt Major Depression among Older Black and White Adults. Psychiatric Services, 65(6):765-73.
  3. Kasckow, J, Morse, J, Begley, A, Anderson, S, Bensasi, Thomas, S, Quinn, SC, & Reynolds, CF. (2014).  Treatment of post traumatic stress disorder symptoms in emotionally distressed individuals, Psychiatric Research, 220: 370-375.
  4. Reynolds, C., Thomas, S.B., Morse, J., et al.  (2014). Early intervention to preempt major depression in older black and white adults.  Psychiatric Services, ePub ahead of print March 2014.
  5. Butler, J., Quinn, S.C., Fryer, C.S., Garza, M.A., Kim, K.H., & Thomas, S.B.  (2013). Characterizing researchers by strategies used for retaining minority participants: results of a national survey. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 36(1), 61-67.
  6. Quinn, S., Garza, M., Butler, J., Fryer, C., Barnard, D., Casper, E., Kim, K., & Thomas, S.  (2012). Improving informed consent with minority participants: Results from researcher and community surveys.  Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 7(5), 44-55.
  7. Quinn, S., Butler, J., Fryer, C., Garza, M., Kim, K., Ryan, C., & Thomas, S. (2012). Attributes of researchers and their strategies to recruit minority populations: Results of a national survey.  Contemporary Clinical Trials, 33(6), 1231-1237.
  8. Thomas, S., Quinn S., Butler, J., Garza, M., & Fryer, C. (2011). Toward a fourth generation of disparities research to achieve health equity. Annual Review of Public Health, 32(1), 399-416.
  9. Thomas, S.B., Sansing, V.V., Davis, A., Magee, M., Massaro, E., Srinivas, V.S., Helmy, T. & Brooks, M. (2010). Racial differences in self-rated health status vs objective clinical measures among participants in the bypass angioplasty revascularization investigation 2 diabetes trial, (BARI 2D). American Journal of Public Health, 100(S1), S269-S276
  10. Rajakumar, K., Thomas, S.B., Musa, D., Almario, D. & Garza, M. (2009). Racial differences in parents’ distrust of medicine and research. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 163(2), 108-114.
  11. Musa, D., Schulz, R., Harris, R., Silverman, M., & Thomas, S. (2009). Trust in the health care system and the use of preventive health services by older black and white adults. American Journal of Public Health, 99(7), 1293-1299.
  12. Musa D, Schulz R, Harris R, Silverman M, Thomas S. (2009). Trust in the Health Care System and the Use of Preventive Health Services by Older Black and White Adults. American Journal of Public Health, 99(7): 1293-9.
  13. Thomas S & Quinn S. (2008). Poverty and the Elimination of Urban Health Disparities: Challenge and Opportunity.  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 11(36):111-25.
  14. Corbie-Smith, G., Thomas, S., & St. George, D. (2002). Distrust, race and research.  Archives of Internal Medicine, 162, 2458-2463.
  15. Freimuth V, Quinn S, Thomas S, Cole G, Zook E, Duncan T. (2001). African Americans' Perspectives on Research and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study: Results of a Qualitative Study in Four Cities. Social Science and Medicine, 52:797-801.
  16. Thomas, S. & Quinn, S. (1991). The Tuskegee Syphilis study 1932-1972: Implications for HIV education and AIDS risk reduction programs in the Black community. American Journal of Public Health, 81(11), 1498-1505.