Michael Relf

Professor of Nursing and Global Health

Michael Relf, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, AACRN, CNE, FAAN, is the Associate Dean for Global and Community Affairs in the School of Nursing. From 2008 to 2014, he served as the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education and Director of the Accelerated BSN Program.

Initially, his clinical practice was in adult critical care, where he functioned as a staff nurse, critical care clinical nurse specialist and nurse manager. It was through these experiences early in the HIV epidemic that his practice shifted to infectious diseases. His research focuses on the psychosocial aspects of HIV using mixed-methods particularly focusing on intimate partner violence, HIV-related stigma and interventions to promote engagement in HIV-oriented primary medical care. Additionally, through his research, he has documented the role of the professional and advanced practice nurse in the prevention, care and treatment of persons at risk for or living with HIV.

Dr. Relf’s work examining the intersection of intimate partner violence and HIV risk behaviors among men who have sex with men received international press attention. As a co-investigator on a President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funded project to build nursing capacity in the context of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, Dr. Relf, in collaboration with colleagues from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, published the Essential Nursing Competencies related to HIV and AIDS endorsed by the International Council of Nurses, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. In collaboration with Dr. Julie Barroso from the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Relf has tested the efficacy of an internalized stigma reduction intervention among women living with HIV in the United States. He is now collaborating with partners in Rwanda (University of Rwanda) and Tanzania (Muhimbili University of Health and Applied Sciences) to adapt the intervention to the culture and context in these two countries.

Dr. Relf is an Advanced HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (AACRN), a certified adult clinical nurse specialist (ACNS-BC) and certified nurse educator (CNE). Prior to joining the School of Nursing in 2008, Dr. Relf was the Chair of the Department of Nursing at Georgetown University (2001 to 2008) and the Associate Medical Administrator/Director of Nursing and Clinical Support Services at Whitman-Walker Clinic (1999 to 2001). He earned his BS with a major in nursing from South Dakota University, his MS in nursing administration in healthcare services from Georgetown University and his PhD in nursing from Johns Hopkins University.  He has been a visiting professor at Queen University Belfast (Northern Ireland), the University of Zululand (South Africa) and Fudan University (China).