Yzette Lanier

Assistant Professor

1 212 998 5803

433 First Avenue
Room 406
New York, NY 10010
United States

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Professional overview

Dr. Lanier is a developmental psychologist whose research broadly centers on health promotion and disease prevention in communities of color, with a special focus on preventing HIV/STIs and unintended pregnancy among African American adolescents. Using health equity and strengths-based lenses, her research seeks to understand how individual, social, and cultural factors influence adolescents’ sexual decision-making. Dr. Lanier’s current research examines how adolescent romantic relationships influence sexual behaviors. Her long-term goal is to develop effective developmentally-appropriate, culturally tailored interventions that promote healthy romantic relationships and protective sexual behaviors among adolescents.  In June 2016, Dr. Lanier was awarded $1.2 million from the CDC for HIV behavior intervention based on young black heterosexual couples' dynamics.  

BS, Psychology, Howard University
MS, Developmental Psychology, Howard University
PhD, Developmental Psychology, Howard University
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for HIV Prevention in Communities of Color, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Health Equity Research, University of Pennsylvania
Honors and awards
Visiting Scholar, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale University
Infectious disease
Community/population health
Vulnerable & marginalized populations
Professional membership
American Psychological Association
Society for Research on Adolescence
Association of Black Psychologists
American Public Health Association

Development of a Barbershop-Based HIV/STI Risk Reduction Intervention for Young Heterosexual African American Men.

Jemmott, L. S., Jemmott, J. B., Lanier, Y., Thompson, C., & Baker, J. L. (2016). Health promotion practice 10.1177/1524839916662601

Young, heterosexual African American men ages 18 to 24 years continue to be at high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. However, few interventions have been designed to meet the needs of this "forgotten" population. The article describes the systematic development of a theory-based, culturally-tailored, gender-specific, barbershop-based HIV risk reduction intervention for heterosexual African American men ages 18 to 24. The process included developing a community advisory board, selecting a guiding theoretical framework, incorporating community-based participatory research principles, and conducting formative research with African American males, barbers, and barbershop owners. The result was Shape Up: Barbers Building Better Brothers, a 2-day, HIV risk reduction intervention focused on increasing HIV knowledge and condom use and reducing the number of sexual partners. Intervention sessions were facilitated by barbers who used iPads to deliver the content. As a high-risk population, this intervention has great public health significance for the health of African American men and their sexual partners.

Examining Racial Discrimination Frequency, Racial Discrimination Stress, and Psychological Well-Being Among Black Early Adolescents

Lanier, Y., Sommers, M.S., Fletcher, J., Sutton, M.Y., & Roberts, D.D. (2016). Journal of Black Psychology 43, (219-229). 10.1177/0095798416638189 SAGE Publications.

Brief sexual histories and routine HIV/STD testing by medical providers.

Lanier, Y., Castellanos, T., Barrow, R. Y., Jordan, W. C., Caine, V., & Sutton, M. Y. (2014). AIDS patient care and STDs 28, (113-20). 10.1089/apc.2013.0328

Clinicians who routinely take patient sexual histories have the opportunity to assess patient risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and make appropriate recommendations for routine HIV/STD screenings. However, less than 40% of providers conduct sexual histories with patients, and many do not receive formal sexual history training in school. After partnering with a national professional organization of physicians, we trained 26 (US and US territory-based) practicing physicians (58% female; median age=48 years) regarding sexual history taking using both in-person and webinar methods. Trainings occurred during either a 6-h onsite or 2-h webinar session. We evaluated their post-training experiences integrating sexual histories during routine medical visits. We assessed use of sexual histories and routine HIV/STD screenings. All participating physicians reported improved sexual history taking and increases in documented sexual histories and routine HIV/STD screenings. Four themes emerged from the qualitative evaluations: (1) the need for more sexual history training; (2) the importance of providing a gender-neutral sexual history tool; (3) the existence of barriers to routine sexual histories/testing; and (4) unintended benefits for providers who were conducting routine sexual histories. These findings were used to develop a brief, gender-neutral sexual history tool for clinical use. This pilot evaluation demonstrates that providers were willing to utilize a sexual history tool in clinical practice in support of HIV/STD prevention efforts.

Impact of parent-child communication interventions on sex behaviors and cognitive outcomes for black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino youth: a systematic review, 1988-2012.

Sutton, M. Y., Lasswell, S. M., Lanier, Y., & Miller, K. S. (2014). The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine 54, (369-84). 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.11.004

We reviewed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infection (STI)- behavioral interventions implemented with disproportionately affected black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino youth and designed to improve parent-child communications about sex. We compared their effectiveness in improving sex-related behavior or cognitive outcomes.

Reframing the context of preventive health care services and prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for young men: new opportunities to reduce racial/ethnic sexual health disparities.

Lanier, Y., & Sutton, M. Y. (2013). American journal of public health 103, (262-9). 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300921

Young Black males, aged 13 to 29 years, have the highest annual rates of HIV infections in the United States. Young Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are the only subgroup with significant increases in HIV incident infections in recent years. Black men, particularly MSM, are also disproportionately affected by other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Therefore, we must strengthen HIV and STI prevention opportunities during routine, preventive health care visits and at other, nontraditional venues accessed by young men of color, with inclusive, nonjudgmental approaches. The Affordable Care Act and National HIV/AIDS Strategy present new opportunities to reframe and strengthen sexual health promotion and HIV and STI prevention efforts with young men of color.

Sociostructural Correlates of AIDS Progression for African American Women Living with Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the District of Columbia

Jenevieve Opoku, Y.L. (2013). Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research 04, 10.4172/2155-6113.1000254 OMICS Publishing Group.

Strengthening the network of mentored, underrepresented minority scientists and leaders to reduce HIV-related health disparities.

Sutton, M. Y., Lanier, Y. A., Willis, L. A., Castellanos, T., Dominguez, K., Fitzpatrick, L., & Miller, K. S. (2013). American journal of public health 103, (2207-14). 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301345

We reviewed data for the Minority HIV/AIDS Research Initiative (MARI), which was established in 2003 to support underrepresented minority scientists performing HIV prevention research in highly affected communities.

Expanded HIV testing and trends in diagnoses of HIV infection—District of Columbia, 2004 – 2007

West-Ojo, T., Samala, R., Griffin, A., Rocha, N., Hader, S., Castel, A.D., … Kilmarx, P.H. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 59(24), (737-741).