Safiya George, PhD, APRN-BC
Associate Professor, and Assistant Dean for Research
Dr. George is an Associate Professor and the Assistant Dean for Research at the Capstone College of Nursing. She is also a board-certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and has a specialty in HIV/AIDS. She obtained her PhD in Nursing and a certificate in Women’s Studies from Emory University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Research on Religion and Health from Duke University in Durham, NC. She obtained her undergraduate nursing degrees from University of the Virgin Islands. Her primary areas of research focus include identification of sociocultural and psychosocial correlates and predictors of: (1) decision-making and risk behaviors among African American adolescent females and (2) health behaviors, immunological outcomes and health-related quality of life among people living with HIV/AIDS. She currently has two funded research studies. One study, Affordable Housing and Community Advocacy for People Living with HIV: Assessing Best Practices and Health Impact”, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is designed to assess the health impact of housing and case management and evaluate a statewide HIV advocacy program. A current pilot study, Multi-level Strategies to Improve HIV Care in West Alabama, aims to develop and test a group counseling intervention designed to address substance use and mental health issues among people living with HIV/AIDS in Alabama. Her most recent book chapter in the Encyclopedia of AIDS focuses on prevention counseling and other strategies in HIV care and was published by Springer Science in 2015. Another current project uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine neural substrates of sexual decision making and sexual risk behavior among Black teenage girls. A recent project (completed in 2015) examined the sociocultural factors that contribute to high rates of HIV in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Another recent project (completed in 2014) focused on examination of the role of religion and cognitive function in the sexual decision-making and HIV/STI-associated sexual risk behavior of Black adolescent and young adult females. Her expertise includes health disparities research, mixed methods studies, religion and health research, advanced statistical modeling, qualitative research, intervention studies, community-based participatory research and neuroscience research.
Dr. George is also recognized as a leading scholar in the field of spirituality/religion and health. In 2015, she received the Daniel J. Pesut Spirit of Renewal Award—a prestigious international achievement award from Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society for Nursing. Her chapter published in 2014 by Oxford University Press, focuses on the role of Religion in the HIV epidemic in a recently published book, Religion as a Social Determinant of Health (Edited by E. Idler). Her dissertation used a mixed methods approach to explore the role of spirituality in mental health, HIV treatment adherence, CD4 cell count and health-related quality of life among 129 African American women living with HIV/AIDS. Her post-doctoral research examined the role of religious coping in mental health, immune function and quality of life of 292 men and women living with HIV/AIDS. She also completed a project that examined the role of spirituality and “social capital” and various psychosocial factors on the maternal-infant outcomes of Latina mothers.
She has previously served as Chair of several research committees, international service taskforce, and interdisciplinary religion and public health research initiatives. She is currently the Vice President of Epsilon Omega chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society for Nursing. She is also Vice Chair of Healthy Nation, a non-profit organization in Monrovia, Liberia that provides screening and healthcare to children of K-12 age and their families.
She teaches in the undergraduate and graduate program and her teaching focuses on preparing students to address the needs of vulnerable populations. It also focuses on the use of technology, interactive teaching and always seeks ways to improve teaching to meet the needs of various student learners and learning styles. She is an advocate of service learning and during the past decade, she has helped to lead service trips to the Dominican Republic, Moultrie, Georgia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands with undergraduate and graduate nursing students. She is currently A Faculty in Residence with the Honors College and currently helps to expand the Honors Program at the Capstone College of Nursing.