Vickie M. Mays


Vickie Mays

Primary Area: Clinical Psychology
Phone: (310) 206-5159


Vickie Mays is a Professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Letters and Sciences, as well as a Professor in the Department of Health Services. Professor Mays is also the Director of the BRITE Center for Science, Research, and Policy. She teaches courses on health status and health behaviors of racial and ethnic minority groups, research ethics in biomedical and behavioral research in racial/ethnic minority populations, research methods in minority research, as well as courses on social determinants of mental disorders and psychopathology. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and an M.S.P.H. in Health Services, with postdoctoral training in psychiatric epidemiology, survey research as it applies to ethnic minorities (University of Michigan) and health policy (RAND).

Professor Mays’ research primarily focuses on the mental and physical health disparities affecting racial and ethnic minority populations. She has a long history of research and policy development in the area of contextual factors that surrounding HIV/AIDS in racial and ethnic minorities. This work ranges from looking at barriers to education and services to understanding racial-based immunological differences that may contribute to health outcome disparities. Other areas of research include looking at the role of perceived and actual discrimination on mental and physical health outcomes, particularly as these factors impact downstream disease outcomes. Her mental health research examines availability, access and quality of mental health services for racial, ethnic and sexual minorities. She is the Co-PI of the California Quality of Life Survey, a population based study of over 2,200 Californians on the prevalence of mental health disorders and the contextual factors associated with those disorders.

Dr. Mays has provided testimony to a number of Congressional committees on her HIV, mental health and health disparities research findings. She recently completed a term as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Populations of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. There she helped develop a report on the role of data collection in the reducing health disparities associated with race, ethnicity, and primary language. She has received a number of awards including one for her lifetime research on women and HIV from AMFAR, a Women and Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association and several Distinguished Contributions for Research awards.

Representative Publications:

  • Keppel, K., Pamuk, E., Lynch, J., Carter-Pokras, O., Kim, I., Mays, V.M., Pearcy, J., Schoenbach, V., Weissman, J.S. (2005). Methodological issues in measuring health disparities. Vital and Health Statistics 2, 141, 1-16.
  • Walker, B, Mays, V.M. & Warren, R. (2004). The changing landscape for the elimination of racial/ethnic health status disparities. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.
  • Mays, V.M., Cochran, S.D., & Ponce, N.A. (2004). Thinking about race and ethnicity in population-based studies of health. In B.M. Beech & M. Goodman (Eds.) Race and Research: Perspectives on Minority Participation in Health Studies (pp. 79-100). Washington, D.C.: American Public Health Association.
  • Mays, V.M., Cochran, S.D., & Zamudio, A. (2004). HIV prevention research: Are we meeting the needs of African American men who have sex with men? Journal of Black Psychology, 30(1), 78-105.
  • Mays, V.M., Ponce, N., Washington, D.L. & Cochran, S.D. (2003). Classification of race and ethnicity: Implications for Public Health. Annual Review of Public Health, 24, 3-110.
  • Mays, V.M., Yancey, A.K., Cochran, S.D., Weber, M. & Fielding, J.A. (2002) Heterogeneity of health disparities in African American, Hispanic and Asian American women: The Unrecognized influence of sexual orientation. American Journal of Pubic Health, 92(4), 632-639.
  • Mays, V.M. (2001). Methods for increasing recruitment and retention of ethnic minorities in health research through addressing ethical concerns. Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Health Survey Research Methodology. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Health Statistics, USDHHS.
  • Mays, V.M., Cochran, S.D. & Sullivan, G.. (2000). A Profile of Ethnic Women’s Health Care Services in the United States. In C. Hogue, M.A. Hargraves & Karen S. Collins (Eds.) Minority Health in America Findings and Policy Implications from the Commonwealth Fund Minority Health Survey (pp. 97-123). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Mays, V.M. & Cochran, S.D. (1998). Racial discrimination and health outcomes in African Americans. Proceedings of the 27th Public Health Conference on Records and Statistics and the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics 47th Annual Symposium. Washington, D.C. USDHHS.
  • Mays, V.M., Coleman, L.M. & Jackson, J.S. (1996). Race-based perceived discrimination, employment status, and job stress in a national sample of Black women: Implications for health outcomes. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 1(3), 319-329.
  • Mays, V.M., Howard-Caldwell, C.S. & Jackson, J.S. (1996). Mental health symptoms and service utilization patterns of African-American women. In H.W. Neighbors & J.S. Jackson (Eds.) Black Mental Health (pp. 161-176). Newbury Park: Sage Publications.
  • Cochran, S.D. & Mays, V.M. (1990). Sex, lies and HIV. New England Journal of Medicine, 322(11), 774-775.
  • Mays, V.M. & Albee, G.W. (1989). Theories, models and research on health, risk and decision-making. In V.M. Mays, G.W. Albee & S. F. Schneider (Eds.) Primary Prevention of AIDS: Psychological Approaches (pp. 91-92). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Representative Publications

BRITE Center for Science, Research, and Policy