Back to People Listing

Melissa Watt

Associate Professor of the Practice, Global Health
Director of Graduate Studies, Duke Global Health Institute
Director of Master of Science in Global Health
Duke Global Health Institute
Trent 329
(919) 613-6126
Melissa Watt


Dr. Watt's research focuses on understanding and addressing gender-specific health issues in sub-Saharan Africa, with specific attention to HIV, substance use, and mental health, and the application of mixed methods to understand health behavior and develop culturally salient interventions. In Tanzania, she currently leads an NIH-funded research program aimed at improving long-term HIV care engagement for pregnant and postpartum women. Her team is currently developing and testing an intervention to reduce HIV stigma and improve linkage to prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services. In Ghana, she leads a Bass Connections team to examine the multi-sectoral impacts of small-scale gold mining. Completed research includes the development and evaluation of mental health treatment for women with obstetric fistula in Tanzania, a pilot test of a coping intervention to support HIV care engagement in the context of sexual trauma in South Africa with Dr. Kathleen Sikkema, prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies in South Africa, and understanding HIV risk behaviors among individuals who use methamphetamine in South Africa.

Dr. Watt is the Director of Graduate Studies at DGHI, where she oversees the Master of Science in Global Health. She serves as the Associate Director for the Social and Behavioral Sciences Core of the Duke Center for AIDS Research. She has a Ph.D. in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina, and an M.A. in Gender and Development from the University of Sussex in the U.K.



Title Number Level
Fundamentals of Global Health

Introduction to global health issues and challenges. Develop an understanding of key concepts, tools, and frameworks essential for continued study in global health. Focus on global disease burden, health determinants and disparities, health policy and actors, and challenges of global health interventions. Explore the importance of understanding and addressing global health through multidisciplinary frameworks of the natural sciences, social-behavioral sciences, humanities, and policy. Consists of lecture and learning labs, intensive small group discussion, and global health case analyses. Intended for undergraduates.

Course Notes:
UG Only
Graduation with Distinction in Global Health Thesis Preparation

Accompanies the writing of a research-focused thesis in Global Health. Covers advanced research design, manuscript writing, interpretation of results, and oral presentation. Provides information on the thesis writing process and provides feedback on student projects. Students are expected to work closely with their faculty mentor on their project. Restricted to students enrolled concurrently in a research independent study and seeking Graduate with Distinction. May be open to Program II students whose thesis topic is directly related to global health and with permission of the instructor

Course Notes:
UG Only
Global Health Field Research

Provides preparation for global health fieldwork for MSc Global Health students. Students will develop critical skills, knowledge, and reflective insights to manage the multiple aspects of fieldwork. Open only to first year students in MSc-GH program. Consent of Director of Graduate Studies required.

Course Notes:
Ungraded Research in Global Health

Individual research in a field of special interest, the central goal of which is a substantive paper containing significant analysis and interpretation of a previously approved topic. Consent required. Individual research in a field of special interest, the central goal of which is a substantive paper containing significant analysis and interpretation of a previously approved topic. Consent required

Course Notes:
Was: GLHLTH 381
Qualitative Data Analysis for GH

Equips students with knowledge and skills to effectively analyze qualitative data in the field of global health. With a foundation in thematic analysis, teaches tools of memo writing, coding, diagramming and matrices to support the synthesis, interpretation and presentation of data in a systematic and rigorous way. NVivo software will be used to organize and manage the analytic process. Students should have previous qualitative coursework and/or qualitative experience. Best suited for students who have a qualitative data set that they are working to analyze toward a specific output (e.g., a publication, Masters thesis or doctoral dissertation).

Course Notes:
Gender and Global Health
Crosslisted as SOCIOL 212

Examines interconnections among gender, poverty, and health. Adopts global perspective with focus on resource poor countries. Discusses frameworks for understanding health as well as in depth case studies of particular health areas

Course Notes:
Was: GLHLTH 112
UG Only


Recent Publications

View All Publications