Melva Thompson-Robinson

Professor, UNLV School of Nursing
Advisor to the Dean on Equity, Inclusion and Justice
Expertise: Health disparities, Sexual health, Health of African Americans, HIV prevention, Social behavioral health, Teen pregnancy prevention, Public health


UNLV School of Nursing professor Melva Thompson-Robinson teaches courses and mentors students in the area of social behavioral health and health disparities that exist in Southern Nevada as well as statewide, regionally, and nationally.  She is also co-editor of the Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, a nationally known peer-reviewed publication. 

Thompson-Robinson has done extensive work in the area of sexual health and health disparities, particularly HIV prevention with African-Americans and communities of color. She is currently the project director for the Southern Nevada Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project, which is funded by the Office of Adolescent Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of this project is to improve the sexual and reproductive health of African-American youth ages 14-19 through the implementation of an evidence-based intervention through African-American faith-based organizations in Clark County. 

Thompson-Robinson is the co-chair and member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region IX Health Equity Council and chaired a subcommittee responsible for preparing an environmental scan documenting the diversity of the entire region. She is one of three representatives from Nevada on the council. She was a speaker on health disparities and reproductive health at the Urban Initiative on Reproductive Health—Western Regional. The results of her work in sexual health and experiences in capacity building will be very applicable in working with faith-based organizations to implement evidence-based interventions. 

In addition, Thompson-Robinson has experience in leading and working with various organizations as well as conducting evaluations for projects. For over 10 years, Thompson-Robinson has served as the associate executive director and a co-director for the CDC/ASPH Institute for HIV Prevention Leadership, a national capacity-building program for HIV prevention program managers. In this role, she has worked with the lead agency, other project partners and the funder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also worked with a variety of other organizations and individuals to recruit and secure faculty to conduct the trainings for the program as well as worked with staff from all of the project partners in order to ensure that program participants were mentored in a consistent and fair manner that has fidelity to the core elements, beliefs, and values of the Institute. 


  • Ph.D., Health Promotion and Education, University of South Carolina
  • M.S.P.E., Sports Physiology and Adult Fitness, Ohio University
  • B.S., Kinesiology, University of Michigan

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Melva Thompson-Robinson In The News

Vital Views Podcast
What is considered a health disparity? UNLV Nursing professor Melva Thompson-Robinson explains how far-reaching disparities go in our society (pandemic and non-pandemic included) and how her role as a journal editor is vital to public health research.
Las Vegas Sun
A declining trend in booster vaccinations suggests that people in Clark County may be holding off on taking those extra shots.
Las Vegas Sun
Considering Las Vegas’ population is 61.88% white and 12.23% Black, the data shows proportionally Black women are more likely to die in pregnancy-related deaths. Nationally about 700 women die each year from pregnancy-related causes, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control, and Black women are 2 to 3 times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.
Verywell Health
Vaccine hesitancy has been prominent in the United States in response to COVID-19, but resistance to vaccination has been presenting public health challenges long before the start of the pandemic.

Articles Featuring Melva Thompson-Robinson

nurse administers shot to woman
Campus News | December 29, 2021

A collection of news stories from 2021 highlighting UNLV’s continuing response to COVID-19 and faculty experts who have helped make sense of the pandemic and its impact to daily life. 

U.N.L.V. signage with Fall leaves in the background
Business and Community | December 28, 2021

A yearlong collection of headlines featuring innovative ideas, discoveries, and partnerships to move Southern Nevada forward.

person with school face paint
Campus News | November 4, 2021

A collection of news stories featuring stargazing and change at UNLV.

U.N.L.V. nursing student in red shirt reviewing slide sample with peer
Campus News | August 4, 2021

A collection of news stories highlighting research, health, and community at UNLV.