Donna Howard
Associate Professor, Behavioral and Community Health
Faculty Affiliate, Maternal and Child Health, Department of Family Science (2012- present); Faculty Affiliate, The Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy (2012- present); Faculty Associate, Maryland Population Research Center (2011- present)
Other Affiliations: Center on Young Adult Health and Development, Horowitz Center for Health Literacy, UMD Prevention Research Center
Campus: UMD | Building: School of Public Health | Room: 1234D
Phone: (301) 405-2520 |
Office Hours: 

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 or by appointment. To make an appointment email me at:


My work has centered broadly on community-based empowerment efforts, principally among minority and poor populations.  For the past 20 years I have focused on adolescent risk and protective behaviors, particularly interpersonal and intimate partner violence.  I have expertise in qualitative methods and leadership experience with developing, implementing, analyzing and publishing qualitative research addressing various domains of community violence (i.e., interpersonal, dating, and sexual violence) and their psychosocial correlates. I was PI of both NICHD and University of Maryland School of Public Health funded research on healthy and harmful teen dating relationships and the role of socialization in shaping dating attitudes and behaviors. I had a Seed Grant from the University of Maryland Population Research Center to explore the use of social media in the formation, maintenance, conflict resolution and dissolution of adolescent dating relationships.  I am currently working on analysis of data examining of religious socialization and teen dating dynamics and adolescent minority males’ ideas of healthy and harmful dating relationships. 

My interests are also in global public health.  While on sabbatical during the 2008-9 academic year, I was the recipient of a Fulbright-Pai Fellowship to India where I spent 4.5 months as a Visiting Lecturer/Professor in the Department of Community Medicine, Manipal University, Karnataka, India.  Upon my return, I developed, and now annually lead, a study abroad to south India where students are exposed to the organization and practice of public health within an Indian context.  This winter session program is entitled:  East Meets West:  Contrasting Public Health Priorities, Pragmatics and Polemics in the U.S. & India.  Currently, I am co-investigator on a 5-year Multi-method, Multi-design study examining the impact of Galli Galli Sim Sim (the Indian version of Sesame Street) on preschool children’s literacy, numeracy, socioemotional development, health, nutrition and child safety.

Education and Training

1978: B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Major: Community Nutrition

1980: M.P.H., University of Hawaii School of Public Health - Major: International/Cross-Cultural Health

1994: DrPH, The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health - Major: Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

Area of Specialty:  Adolescent Risk and Protective Behaviors

1994 - 1996: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Center for Minority Health Research - University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

Honors and Awards

Winner, Top Poster Award, Howard D, Mehrotra D, Borzekowski DLG.  A Qualitative Study Informing the Education Content of an Indian Preschool TV Program (Galli Galli Sim Sim).  International Communication Association Annual Meeting, Fukuoka, Japan. (2016)

Exceptional Teacher at the University of Maryland, The Academy of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (AETL) (2015)

Life After Scholars Mentor Award, College Park Scholars Global Public Health (2015)

Inductee, Gamma Zeta chapter of Delta Omega (Honorary society in Public Health) (2015)

Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity’s Ten Outstanding Faculty Members Across the USA and Canada Award Recipient (2013)

Phillip Merrill Presidential Scholars Program Mentor Award, UMCP (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2006)

Faculty Recognition Award from Global Public Health students “All of the Above” (6 categories of merit), College Park Scholars University of Maryland (2012)

Honorable Mention Poster Competition, Communication Category:  “Defining and deconstructing adolescent girls dating dynamics.”  University of Maryland School of Public Health Research Interaction Day Poster Competition, College Park, MD (2011) 

Jerry P. Wren Outstanding Service Award, UMCP SPH (2011)

Faculty Recognition from Global Public Health Program, UMCP College Park Scholars (2011)

Recipient, University-Wide Celebration of Scholarship and Research, UMCP (2011, 2008)

Expert Advisor, National Institute of Justice’s Teen Dating Violence project (2010-present)

Regional Reviewer, India Fulbright Program, Council for International Exchange of Scholars (2010-2013)

13th Annual President's Cup Student Mentor Invitee (2009-10)

Center for Teaching Excellence Fellowships- Teaching with New(er) Technologies Fellowship (2009)

Fulbright-Pai Fellowship to India Manipal University, Manipal, India (2008-9)

School of Public Health Doris Sands Teacher of the Year Award, UMCP (2007-8)

Lilly Fellow, Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Maryland, College Park (2002-3)


Irwin Royster, Dr. Nancy Aiken, Dr. Katrina Debnam, Dr. Brian Gilchrist, Dr. Sharon O’Brien


Fedina L, Murray K, Howard DE, Wang MQ.  (In press, 2016). Teen Dating Violence Victimization, Perpetration, and Sexual Health Outcomes among Urban, Low-income, Ethnic and Racial Minority Youth.  International Quarterly of Community Health Education.

Howard DE, Debnam K, Strausser A. (In press, 2016). “I’m a stalker and I’m proud of it: Adolescent Girls’ Perceptions of the Role Played by Social and Digital Media in Dating Relationship Dynamics”. Youth & Society.

Bhagat K., Howard, D. (In press, 2016) Children’s Conceptualizations of Health, Healthy Bodies, and Health Practices: An Analysis of Dialogue and Drawings.  Critical Public Health.

Aluko O, Beck K., Howard D.  (2015).  Medical students’ beliefs about screening for intimate partner violence: A qualitative study.  Journal of Health Promotion Practice 16, 4, 540-549.  DOI 10.1177/1524839915571183.

Howard DE, John C, Gilchrist B, Royster, I, Aiken, N.. (2015). Adolescent Minority Males Characterizations of Healthy Teen Dating Relationships.  Challenging One-Dimensional Stereotypes  Journal of Child & Adolescent Behavior, 3:6.

Howard DE, Debnam KJ, Cham H, Czinn A, Aiken N, Jordan J, Goldman R. (2015).  The (Mal) Adaptive Value of Mid-Adolescent Dating Relationship Labels.  Journal of Primary Prevention 36,187-203.DOI 10.1007/s10935-015-0387-2

Bellows D., Howard D, Boekeloo B., Randolph S.  (2015).  Investigating community concerns regarding HIV Prevention Organization’s expertise in serving HIV-vulnerable populations. Progress in Community Health Partnerships.

Debnam K, Howard DE, Garza M. (2014).  "If You Don't Have Honesty in a Relationship, Then There Is No Relationship": African American Girls' Characterization of Healthy Dating Relationships, A Qualitative Study.  The Journal of Primary Prevention. Aug 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Debnam KJ, Howard DE, Garza MA, Green KM.  (2014). African American Girls’ Ideal Dating Relationship Now and In the Future.  Youth & Society. published online 22 May 2014. DOI: 10.1177/0044118X14535417

Howard DE, Debnam K, Wang MQ.  (2013). 10 Year Trends in Physical Dating Violence Victimization among U.S. Adolescent Females. Journal of School Health 83,6, 389-399.

Murray K, Haynie D, Howard D, Cheng T, Simons-Morton, B.  (2013). Perceptions of parenting practices and aggression in an urban African American sample: An examination of directional relationships. Family Relations. 62,648.DOI:10.1111/fare.12025

Howard DE, Debnam K, Wang MQ, Gilchrist B.  (2012). 10 Year Trends Physical Dating Violence Victimization among U.S. Adolescent Males. International Quarterly of Community Health Education 32, 4, 283-305.

Howard, D.E., Raj, C.V., & Desmond, S.  (2010). Borrowing from the East to Strengthen the West:  Merging Public Health Case Studies of Community-Based Service Learning Practices from India and the U.S.   Journal of Community Practice, Special Edition 18 , 2, 336-360.

Griffin, M., Howard, D.E., & Boekeloo, B.  (2010 online; Jan 2011 paper).  Drinking Motivation, Sexual Risk Behavior and Sexual Dating Violence among Undergraduate Students.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Murray, K., Haynie, D., Howard, D., & Cheng, T.  (2010).  Perceptions of parenting practices as predictors of aggression in a low-income, urban predominately African American middle school sample.  Journal of School Violence 9, 2, 174-193.

Carpenter, C., & Howard, D.  (2009).  Development and initial psychometric testing of a survey instrument to measure adolescents’ drug use resistance self-efficacy.  American Journal of Health Behavior 33, 147-157. 

Yan, F., Beck, K., Howard, D., & Shattuck, T.  (2008). A Structural Model of Alcohol Use Pathways among Latino Youth.  American Journal Health Behavior, 32, 209-219. 

Howard, D.E., Wang, M.Q., & Yan, F.  (2008).  Prevalence and psychosocial correlates of forced sexual intercourse among U.S. high school adolescents.  Adolescence, 42, 629-643.

Howard, D.E., Wang, M.Q., & Yan, F.  (2008).  Psychosocial factors associated with reports of physical dating violence among U.S. adolescent males. Adolescence 43, 449-460.