Stephen Bonett, PhD, MA, RN

Stephen Bonett, PhD, MA, RN

Assistant Professor Of Nursing

Bonett’s research addresses systems level factors in public health service delivery through community-partnered research that employs implementation science methods within a health equity framework. His background as a public health nurse drives a research agenda that is collaborative and connected to community priorities. Through his work, he aims to improve the environment of care, reduce structural impediments to accessing HIV prevention, and promote health equity.

Highly effective HIV prevention and treatment modalities exist, but access to these tools is not universal. In other words, our healthcare systems play a hand in creating and maintaining health disparities. Nurses will play a key role in building systems, institutions, and cultures of health that provide for the needs of all people and creating conditions where achieving health equity is possible.


  • PhD/MA, University of Pennsylvania, 2021
  • BSN, University of Pennsylvania, 2017
  • BS/BA, University of Iowa, 2012

Social Justice

When studying HIV and the significant disparities that exist across race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, it is critical to acknowledge that individual-level factors do not drive these disparities. Rather, these disparities can be traced to fundamental causes: racism, classism, and other systems of oppression which operate to systematically disadvantage certain groups of people to the benefit of others. Dr. Bonett’s research aims to highlight the root causes of disparities and partner with those in our community to build power and advocate for health and justice.


Bonett currently teaches N230 Statistics for Research and Measurement and leads a seminar section for N103 Psychological and Social Diversity in Health and Wellness.


Bonett’s research program is centered on identifying multilevel barriers to sexual health services and leveraging the power of institutions, community groups, and social networks to promote community health and reduce social and structural barriers to accessing HIV treatment and prevention.He partners with the health department and community based HIV service organizations to evaluate innovative models for providing sexual health services. Together, their work aims to address structural barriers to care and support system-level adaptations which center the needs of our communities.

Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing

Bonett is a member of the study team for the Philadelphia Community Engagement Alliance (Philly CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities. Philly CEAL is an NIH-funded coalition aiming to evaluate, support and bolster local efforts to decrease COVID-19 disparities in testing, vaccination, and treatment. As part of the Community Outreach Core, he facilitates efforts to establish a city-wide network of organizations working to address COVID disparities. He also work with researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to study factors impacting young people’s access to sexual health services in Philadelphia.

Selected Career Highlights

  • 2022 CROI New Investigator Scholarship
  • 2021 Associate Fellow, Leonard David Institute for Health Economics
  • 2019 APHA David Rosenstein Award for Best Student Abstract
  • 2018-2019, Leadership and Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Fellow
  • 2016-2018, Hillman Scholars in Nursing Innovation Fellow

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