Photo of Amy Nelson , MS RN

Amy Nelson, , MS RN

University of Maryland PhD
Home Baltimore MD United States


Amy Nelson, MS, RN was at the National Institutes of Health as a Nurse Specialist / Research Coordinator and Research Nurse working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 2007 to 2014. Since then, she has worked as a Nurse Coordinator for the Clinical Research Unit at the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore after being recruited to re-establish clinical trials at the site. Her many positions in leadership since becoming a nurse led her to pursue a Master’s Degree in Health Services Leadership and Management at the University, and her desire to not only implement essential research questions but to ask them, drove her to begin the Ph.D. Nursing program in 2017. Ten years in an inner-city volunteer position in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco living and working among the homeless, prostitutes and heroin addicts stirred up great concern for the health of the marginalized populations with numerous life and health challenges. International non-profit work, as well as refugee health home visiting while a Public Health Nurse has shaped her interests in HIV and other infectious diseases, especially among current substance abusers who are often the progenitors of new, and sometimes life-long infections for themselves and others.


Research/Clinical Practice Area: Jonas Scholar – Preventive Health
Dissertation: Anticipated Dissertation Title: Exploring the Impact of Drug Craving versus Drug Use on HIV Sexual Risk Behaviors. While it is known that HIV risk is reduced when methadone or buprenorphine-naloxone are used to treat opioid addiction, both drug craving and HIV risk often remain. Tapping into an ongoing clinical trial testing craving reduction that measures real-time craving and drug use by ecologic momentary assessment along with urine toxicology at study visits it would be helpful to understand the impact of ongoing drug craving on HIV risk behavior apart from the risks with actual drug use. Understanding the importance of managing drug craving may help us view successful drug treatment differently. By doing so, new chronic infections such as HIV and hepatitis could be prevented in both those being treated, and their sexual contacts.