Vivian L. Towe

Photo of Vivian Towe
Senior Policy Researcher
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; M.Sc. in epidemiology, University of California Berkeley School of Public Health; M.A. in molecular and cellular biology and biochemistry, Boston University


Vivian Towe is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Also trained as a social epidemiologist, she conducts research and evaluation focusing on improving the health and well-being of vulnerable populations with complex care needs. This includes homeless or unstably housed populations, people with HIV, people with mental illness, incarcerated individuals, and frequent users of acute care. Throughout her career, she has led multiple contracts and grants that involve cross-sector partnerships across federal agencies and at state and local levels. Many of her projects are multi-site evaluations and include providing implementation and evaluation technical assistance (TA) to departments of health, health care facilities, and community-based organizations. One of Towe's goals in all project work is to build the capacity of community partners to use data to inform decisionmaking and/or establish formal quality improvement mechanisms. For example, she has been the principal investigator for two Evaluation and Technical Assistance Centers funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau to support and evaluate metropolitan area-wide and statewide initiatives to improve medical outcomes for people with HIV. In this work, her teams support local evaluation at performance sites and share with them data and analytic techniques whenever possible. She is also a member of RAND’s senior team supporting the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's effort to promote and achieve their vision of having a culture of health in the U.S. Towe earned her Ph.D. in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Recent Projects

  • Addressing HIV Care and Housing Coordination Through Data Integration to Improve Health Outcomes Along the HIV Care Continuum
  • Connections to Care
  • Culture of Health
  • Jurisdictional Approach to Curing Hepatitis C among HIV/HCV Coinfected People of Color – Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center

Selected Publications

Towe VL, Wiewel EW, Zhong Y, Beattie C, Johnson R, and Rojas J, "A randomized controlled trial of a rapid re-housing intervention for homeless persons living with HIV/AIDS: Impact on housing and HIV medical outcomes," AIDS and behavior (forthcoming)

Vivian L. Towe, Laura Leviton, Anita Chandra, Jennifer C. Sloan, Margaret Tait, and Tracy Orleans, "Cross-Sector Collaborations And Partnerships: Essential Ingredients To Help Shape Health And Well-Being," Health Affairs, 35(11), 2016

Towe VL, "Collaboration is the best strategy to combat population health concerns," The Hill, 2017

Towe VL, Acosta JD, Chandra A, "Towards More Nuanced Classification of NGOs and Their Services to Improve Integrated Planning across Disaster Phases," Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 14(11), 2017

Towe VL, Sifakis F, Gindi RM, Sherman SG, Flynn C, Hauck H, Celentano DD, "Prevalence of HIV Infection and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Individuals Having Heterosexual Sex in Low Income Neighborhoods in Baltimore, MD: The BESURE Study," JAIDS, 53(4), 2009

Towe VL, ul Hasan S, Zafar S, Sherman SG, "Street Life and Drug Risk Behaviors Associated with Exchanging Sex Among Male Street Children in Lahore, Pakistan," Journal of Adolescent Health, 44(3), 2009

Matson PA, Towe V, Ellen JM, Chung SE, Sherman SG, "The Interaction of Sexual Validation, Criminal Justice Involvement and STI Risk among Adolescent and Young Adult Males," Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 45(3), 2018

Honors & Awards

  • RAND Bronze Medal Award for Furthering RAND’s Mission and Impact (2017)


  • Data sharing and privacy concept

    Collaboration Is the Best Strategy to Combat Population Health Concerns

    The greatest opportunities to improve health happen pretty much everywhere but the doctor's office. Collaborative programming that merges strategies from housing, education, or labor could make a big difference.

    Dec 14, 2017 The Hill

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, September 30, 2014

    Gulf States Among Top in New HIV, AIDS Cases

    Improving HIV prevention and medical care delivery to persons living with HIV/AIDS should be a collaborative effort, particularly in the Gulf States region, where resources are limited but the epidemic is expanding, writes Vivian Towe.

    Jun 27, 2012 The RAND Blog