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William Cunningham



DepartmentsType of Faculty
Health Policy and ManagementPart Time
Contact Information

911 Broxton Plaza Suite 101

Areas of Interest: 
  • Health Services Research
  • Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Care, Barriers to care, and Health Outcomes        

William E. Cunningham MD, MPH, is a Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Geffen School of Medicine and in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA.  He received his MD from UCSF School of Medicine in 1982, training in health services research through the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, and received his MPH degree in epidemiology both completed at UCLA in 1993 when he joined the UCLA faculty.  He is a national leader in studies designed to improve outcomes along the HIV care continuum, emphasizing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities, among vulnerable populations living with, or at-risk of, HIV. His current and recent research roles include being PI of several NIH projects, including: a NIDA-funded R-01 RCT study of a peer navigation intervention to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care and viral suppression (VS) for HIV+ men and transgender women released from Los Angeles County Jail (LACJ); a NIMH-funded R-01 for a 2×2 factorial RCT study of contingency management and peer navigation interventions designed to improve retention in HIV care, adherence to ART, and VS for HIV+ men and women out of care from safety-net providers; a NIMHD-funded R-01 RCT study of a youth services navigation and cell-phone incentive adherence intervention to improve linkage, retention in HIV care, ART adherence, and VS for HIV+ young MSM and transgender women released from Los Angeles County Jail (LACJ); and a recently completed, NIMH-funded R-34 pilot study of a culturally sensitive peer navigation intervention to improve retention in HIV care, adherence to ART, and VS among HIV+ Latino MSM out of care from safety-net providers.

Dr. Cunningham has authored more than 140 peer-reviewed papers, many of which address these topics and more.  He has extensive experience with leadership, teaching and mentoring as Professor jointly appointed in Medicine and Public Health, where he teaches graduate-level courses on racial disparities and health, health services organization, and outcomes and effectiveness research. He has served as Director of the UCLA CTSI TL1 Summer Fellowship Program (SFP) since 2011, and is an active member of the CTSI Workforce Development Program’s (WDP) Clinical Research Education and Specialized Training (CREST) Committee, leading efforts to recruit under-represented minority trainees to all of our educational programs. He is Co-Director of the Investigator Development Core for the NIA-funded Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR), and served as Director of the Training Core for the NIMHD-funded Project Export, and as Associate Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at UCLA.

MPH, Epidemiology, UCLA
MD, University of California-San Francisco
AB, Brown University
Selected Publications: 


  • Cunningham WE, Hays RD, Duan N, Andersen RM, Nakazono TT, Bozzette SA, Shapiro MF. “The Effect of Socioeconomic status on the Survival of Persons Receiving Care for HIV Infection in the United States.” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved November 2005: 16(4); 655-676.
  • Ponce NA, Ku L, Cunningham WE, Brown ER. “Language Barriers to Health Care Access Among Medicare Beneficiaries.” Inquiry Spring 2006;43(1):66-76.
  • Cunningham WE, Sohler NL, Tobias C, Drainoni M, Bradford J, Davis C, Cabral HJ, Cunningham CO, Eldred L, Wong MD. “Health Services Utilization for People with HIV Infection: Comparison of a Population Targeted for Outreach with U.S. Population in Care.” Medical Care November 2006; 44(11):1038-1047.
  • Vargas RB and Cunningham WE. “Evolving Trends in Medical Care-coordination for Patients with HIV and AIDS.” Current HIV/AIDS Reports November 2006; 3(4): 149-153.
  • Zingmond D, Ettner SL, Cunningham WE. “The Impact of Managed Care on Access to Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy and on Outcomes Among Medicaid Beneficiaries with AIDS.” Medical Care Research and Review February 2007; 64(1): 66-82.
  • Newman PA, Duan N, Lee S-J, Rudy ET, Seiden DS, Kakinami L, Cunningham WE. “Willingness to participate in HIV Vaccine Trials: The Impact of Trial Attributes.” Preventive Medicine June 2007; 44(6): 554-57.
  • Rumptz MH, Tobias C, Rajabiun S, Bradford JB, Cabral HJ, Young R, Cunningham WE. “Factors Associated with Engaging Socially Marginalized HIV Positive Persons in Primary Care.” AIDS Patient Care and STDs supplement June 2007;21(s1):S-30-S39.
  • Cabral HJ, Tobias C, Rajabiun S, Sohler NL, Cunningham CO, Wong MD, Cunningham WE. “Outreach Program Contacts: Do They Increase the Likelihood of Engagement and Retention in HIV Primary Care for hard-to-reach patients?” AIDS Patient Care and STDs supplement June 2007; 21(s1):S-40-S48.
  • Wong MD, Sarkisian CA, Davis C, Cunningham WE. “The Association Between Life Chaos, Health Care Use, and Health Status Among HIV-Infected Persons.” Journal of General Internal Medicine September 2007; (22)9: 1286-91.
  • Sayles J, Hays RD, Sarkisian CA, Martins D, Cunningham WE. “Development and Psychometric Assessment of a Multidimensional Measure of HIV Related Stigma in a Diverse Sample of HIV-Positive Adults.” AIDS and Behavior April 2008 e-pub.