Faculty Profile

James McMahon, PhD

Associate Professor
James McMahon

Dr. McMahon is Associate Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, School of Nursing. Trained in medical, biological and behavioral anthropology, Dr. McMahon has conducted community-based public health research in low-income New York City neighborhoods for 15 years. His work has focused on the behavioral, social and cultural factors that contribute to the spread of infectious diseases in vulnerable populations. Dr. McMahon's research and expertise are reflected in four ongoing lines of investigation: (1) the development of public health programs designed to prevent the spread of HIV and other infectious pathogens among urban drug-users, with a focus on minority women and heterosexual couples, (2) understanding how the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread among noninjecting drug-users, (3) investigating issues related to anti-HIV microbicide acceptability and use among high-risk urban women and their sex partners, and (4) the advancement of biostatistical methods applied to epidemiology.

Dr. McMahon recently completed a randomized trial to assess the effectiveness of HIV prevention interventions for women drug-users in primary heterosexual relationships. The NIH-supported "Harlem River Couples Project," was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a couples-based HIV counseling and testing (HIV-CT) intervention against a standard of care individual HIV-CT. Another recently completed study examined intranasal drug use as a possible route of HCV transmission. The study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2008, showed that HCV RNA is present in the nasal cavities of intranasal drug users and that the virus can be transferred onto sniffing implements during drug use. Dr. McMahon's latest study, recently funded by NIH, is examining risk behaviors of heterosexual men to help improve prevention programs targeting heterosexual transmission of HIV. In another study conducted in New York City, Dr. McMahon is collaborating with Dr. Janie Simmons to examine relationship and structural barriers to drug treatment outcomes among heterosexual couples who inject drugs. Two international collaborations are also ongoing. Work with Dr. Michael Clatts to study the impact of sex work on the HIV epidemic in Vietnam commenced in 2008; and research with Dr. Anneli Uuskula in Estonia examines determinants of HIV risk among IDUs and their sexual partners. Additionally, Dr. McMahon has contributed to the development of emergent quantitative methods in the social and health sciences, including critical event analysis, mathematical modeling of disease transmission, multilevel and structural equation modeling, and the analysis of data from couples (dyadic data analysis).

Dr. McMahon teaches epidemiology, research measurement, and biostatistics across multiple educational programs in the School.

See James McMahon's curriculum vitae.