Sannisha K. Dale, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Health Divison


Boston Unviersity, 2014

Research Interests

I am a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in conducting research on the intersection of mental (e.g., PTSD) and physical health (e.g. HIV) and developing interventions. I completed my PhD in Clinical Psychology at Boston University in 2014, Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/Harvard Medical School (HMS) in 2015, Predoctoral Fellowship at the MGH/HMS in 2014, and a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2005. I was previously an Assistant in Psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. I joined the Psychology Department at the University of Miami’s in August of 2017 as an Assistant Professor in Psychology. I will be taking doctoral students for the fall 2018 academic year.

My primary research interests are (a) enhancing our understanding of the relationships between resilience, trauma, and health outcomes among individuals with HIV and those at risk for HIV, (b) investigating psychosocial (e.g., discrimination) and structural factors (e.g., poverty) that relate to health disparities, (c) developing effective prevention and intervention strategies to promote resilience and good health outcomes, and (d) engaging community members and stakeholders in research. I have been the principal investigator of three NIH-funded grants in the area of HIV: current Mentored Career Development Award (K23) from NIMH, F31 award from NIMH, and a scholar award via the Harvard Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). The purpose of my K23 study (Striving Towards EmPowerment and Medication Adherence [STEP-AD]) is to develop and assess the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention to improve medication adherence for Black women with HIV by combining evidence-based strategies for trauma symptom reduction, strategies for coping with racial and HIV-related discrimination, gender empowerment, problem solving techniques for medication adherence, and other resilient coping techniques. It consists of four phases: (1) formative/qualitative phase (completed), (2) open pilot trial (completed), (3) small RCT (ongoing), and (4) preparation for an R01 application in partnership with a community based clinic/organization. Beyond my K23, I am also collaborating as a co-investigator on a R01 grant (PIs Howe and Keita) aimed at creating a reliable and valid resilience measure to capture individual, interpersonal, and neighborhood resilience components among African Americans with HIV and assess whether higher resilience facilitates positive HIV outcomes by the level of the neighborhood risk environment. In conducting research I view community engagement and involvement as the key and start to doing research that can be adopted in community settings to have a positive impact. Positive community relationships both ground and inspire my approach to research.

Selected Publications

Dale SK, Kelso G, Cruise RC, Watson C, Cohen M, Weber KM, Watson C, Burke-Miller JK, Brody LR. (2014). Resilience among women with HIV: Impact of silencing the self and socioeconomic factors. Sex Roles, 221-231. PubMed PMID: 24932061.

Dale SK, Cohen M, Weber K, Cruise RC, Kelso G, Brody LR. (2014). Abuse and resilience in relation to HAART medication adherence and HIV viral load among women with HIV in the United States. AIDS Patient Care STDS, 28 (3), 136-143. PubMed PMID: 24568654.

Dale SK, Bogart LM, Wagner GJ, Galvan FH, Klein DJ. (2014). Medical mistrust is related to lower longitudinal medication adherence among African American males with HIV. J Health Psychology, 21 (7), 1311-21. PubMed PMID: 25293970.

Dale SK, Weber K, Cohen M, Kelso G, Cruise RC, Brody,LR. (2015). Resilience moderates the association between childhood sexual abuse and depressive symptoms among women with and at-risk for HIV. AIDS and Behavior, 19 (8), 1379-1387. PubMed PMID: 25085079.

Dale SK, Grimes T, Miller L, Ursillo A, Drainoni M . “In our stories”: The perspectives of women living with HIV on an evidence-based group intervention. (2016). Journal of Health Psychology, pii: 1359105315622558. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26772760.

Dale SK, Traeger L, O’Cleirigh C, Bedoya A, Lerner J, Pinkston M, Wilner J, Safren SA. (2016). Baseline substance use interferes with maintenance of HIV medication adherence skills. AIDS Patient Care STDS, 30 (5), 215-220. PubMed PMID: 27158849.

Dale SK, Bogart LM, Wagner GJ, Galvan FH, Pantalone DW, Klein DJ. (2016). Discrimination and hate crimes in the context of neighborhood poverty and stressors among HIV-positive African-American men who have sex with men. Journal of Community Health, 41 (3), 574-583. PubMed PMID: 26696119.

Dale, SK, Weber, K, Cohen, M & Brody, L. (2016). Abuse, Nocturnal Stress Hormones, and Coronary Heart Disease Risk Among Women With HIV. AIDS Care, 29 (5), 598-602. PubMed PMID: 27733045.

Bogart LM, Dale SK, Christian J, Patel K, Daffin GK, Mayer KH, Pantalone DW. (2016). Coping with discrimination among HIV-positive Black men who have sex with men. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 19 (7), 723-737.

Dale SK, Pierre-Louis C, Bogart LM, O’Cleirigh C, Safren SA. (2017). Still I Rise: The need for self-validation and self-care in the midst of adversities faced by Black women with HIV. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Flash C, Dale SK, Douglas K (2017). Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention in women: current perspectives. International Journal of Women's Health, 9, 391-401.


Cultural Diversity (Undergraduate)