Kyaien O. Conner

  • Donald M. Henderson Endowed Chair, Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems, Associate Dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and Professor

Dr. Kyaien Conner, Ph.D., LSW, MPH Professor and Donald M. Henderson Endowed Chair, Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP) and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Conner received her BS in Psychology, MSW, MPH with a specialization in Minority Health and Health Disparities, and a PhD in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Dr. Conner’s research investigates the factors that influence disparities in health and mental health service utilization and treatment outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities. She focuses on the development and evaluation of culturally meaningful approaches to improving behavioral health for communities of color. She is currently the PI of a research award (PCORI) to evaluate the impact of a transitions in care intervention to reduce health disparities among African American and Latino/Hispanic patients being discharged from the hospital with chronic illness and co-occurring mental illness. She is a co-investigator on a multi-site RO1 (NIMH) to evaluate the efficacy of training volunteers in low-income communities to deliver a brief intervention for depression to their acutely depressed peers in an effort to build community capacity. Dr. Conner is the DEI lead for the NIH funded Advanced Research Institute for Geriatric Psychiatry. Dr. Conner also is focused on the development of policy and legislation which supports health equity. Dr. Conner wrote a bill that signed into law on 6/17/2021 to restructure the Florida State Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (Senate Bill 404 sponsored by State Senator Darryl Rouson Senate Bill 404 (2021) - The Florida Senate ( )

Dr. Conner has received several awards for her work including the Distinguished Alumni Award (University of Pittsburgh, 2023), Chancellors Award for Excellence in Civic and Community Engagement, (University of South Florida, 2022), and Black Faculty Member of the year (University of South Florida, 2021). 

Research Interests

  • Health Disparities 
  • Comparative Effectiveness Trials 
  • Mental Health Services Research 
  • The impact of Racism on Health 
  • Cultural Adaptations to Empirically Supported Interventions to Reduce Health Disparities 
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Community Engaged Research