Marya Gwadz

Associate Dean for Research; Professor of Social Work

Areas of Expertise

Social/behavioral interventions; the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST); culturally appropriate interventions; intersectionally appropriate interventions; adaptive interventions; cost-effective interventions; the sequential, multiple assignment, randomized trial (SMART) design; factorial designs for intervention components testing; HIV; substance use; mental health; stigma; health equity, with an emphasis on racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, age/developmental, sexual and/or gender minority status, and intersectional influences; structural factors driving health inequity in HIV and other health and mental health conditions; HIV testing approaches; Seek, Test, Treat, and Retain models; adolescents and young adults living with HIV; adults living with HIV; persons living with HIV with barriers to HIV medication; grant writing; research sampling methods for hidden populations; PhotoVoice; mixed methods research approaches


Marya Gwadz is Associate Dean for Research and a Professor of Social Work. She also serves as an Associate Director in the Transdisciplinary Research Methods Core in the NIDA-funded Center for Drug Use and HIV Research at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing (CDUHR). A licensed clinical psychologist, she earned her PhD and MA in clinical psychology from NYU and her BA in psychology from the University of Rochester.

The main focus of Dr. Gwadz's research is the development and evaluation of potent, innovative, and culturally salient social/behavioral interventions to address racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender disparities in health. Her work with vulnerable adolescent and adult populations spans three decades and focuses on populations such as persons with substance use problems, men who have sex with men (MSM), high-risk heterosexuals, populations with high rates of criminal justice involvement, runaway/homeless youth, and low-income people of color living with HIV. She specializes in a range of sampling methods, including those to access hidden and vulnerable adolescent and adult populations. Further, she has expertise in mixed methods research approaches. Dr. Gwadz's program of research has been funded by the NIH since 2000.

Dr. Gwadz is an expert on the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST), a framework for developing efficient and cost-effective interventions with no inactive, poorly performing, or counter-productive elements. She is currently Co-Principal Investigator on a NIDA-funded study using MOST to optimize an intervention for vulnerable populations living with HIV (R01DA040480) with Dr. Linda Collins, the original developer of MOST. Their study is the first application of the MOST framework in the field of HIV treatment and prevention. She is also an expert on adaptive trial designs, including sequential multiple assignment randomized trials (SMART).

Prior to joining NYU Silver, Dr. Gwadz was a Senior Research Scientist at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, and Director of CUDHR's Transdisciplinary Research Methods Core. She has played a leadership role in CDUHR since 2005.