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Bridgette M. Rice, PhD, MDiv, APRN, FAAN - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Bridgette M. Rice, PhD, MDiv, APRN, FAAN

The Richard and Marianne Kreider Endowed Professor in Nursing for Vulnerable Populations | M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing | Villanova University


Dr. Rice is an expert in community-based practice with a focus on gun violence, youth mental health, and health equity.


Areas of Expertise (9)

Community & Public Health Nursing

Behavioral Health

youth mental health

Health Equity

Substance Absue

Gun Violence

Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention

HIV & AIDS and Mental Health

Social Justice and Equity


Dr. (Brawner) Rice began her nursing career in neonatal intensive care at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She has since expanded her work to community-based practice. A recognized behavioral health and intervention development expert, she has worked on a myriad of HIV/STI risk reduction programs both locally and internationally for youth with mental illnesses and difficulties with emotion regulation.

More recently, her methodological advances have been applied to address multiple health inequities (e.g., youth mental health service utilization, cardiovascular disease risk among young Black men, gun violence) where she uses novel approaches including mixed methods research and GIS mapping. Cognizant of the role of geography in health, her spatially-based research explicates and intervenes in factors such as neighborhood disadvantage to prevent disease and promote health equity. Dr. Rice does this community-engaged work in close collaboration with key community members (e.g., youth, faith-based institutions, and policymakers). She is a staunch justice advocate who believes that research can be leveraged as an advocacy tool to ensure all individuals have an opportunity to achieve their full health potential. She is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Dr. Bridgette Executive Consulting, LLC where she works with individuals and organizations to promote the engagement and retention of racial and ethnic minoritized groups in health-related fields.

Education (5)

Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University: MDiv 2017

University of Pennsylvania: PhD, Nursing Science 2009

University of Pennsylvania: MSN, Psychiatric Mental Health Advance Practice Nursing; Speciality: Child and Family Therapy 2005

Villanova University: BSN, Nursing, Psychology, and Spanish 2003

Cum Laude

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra: Community Health Language Immersion Practicuum 2022

Select Accomplishments (5)

Fellow, American Academy of Nursing


International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (ISPN) Diversity and Equity Award


Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing


Visiting Research Fellow (professional)

Yale University Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars (REIDS), New Haven, CT, 2011-2013

Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow (professional)

Offices of the Provost and School of Nursing Dean University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA , 2009-2012

Select Academic Articles (3)

The Association Between Racial Attitudes, Alcohol Use and Mood Disorders Among Black Adolescents

Journal of Prevention

Ijeoma Opara, David T. Lardier, Donte Boyd, Augustine Cassis Obeng Boateng & Bridgette M. Brawner


Alcohol is the most widely used substance among adolescents. Although Black adolescents use alcohol at lower rates than White adolescents, Black adolescents tend to have worse outcomes. This includes higher rates of mood disorders and criminal justice involvement associated with alcohol use and misuse compared to any other racial group. Black adolescents are also more likely to experience racial discrimination and be exposed to traumatic events within their communities, which may increase their chances of using substances. Understanding the relationship between racial attitudes (towards one’s own group and others) and substance use and mental health can provide unique and meaningful insight into prevention programming for Black adolescents. Yet, these concepts have been understudied. To fill this gap, we examined the association between racial attitudes and alcohol use and mood disorders in Black adolescents in Philadelphia, PA (N = 154).

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A Systematic Review of Neighborhood-Level Influences on HIV Vulnerability

AIDS and Behavior

Bridgette M. Brawner, Jelani Kerr, Billie F. Castle, Jaqueline A. Bannon, Stephen Bonett, Robin Stevens, Richard James & Lisa Bowleg


A better understanding of the social-structural factors that influence HIV vulnerability is crucial to achieve the goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030. Given the role of neighborhoods in HIV outcomes, synthesis of findings from such research is key to inform efforts toward HIV eradication. We conducted a systematic review to examine the relationship between neighborhood-level factors (e.g., poverty) and HIV vulnerability (via sexual behaviors and substance use).

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Mental health burden among Black adolescents: the need for better assessment, diagnosis and treatment engagement

Social Work in Mental Health

Ijeoma Opara, Guy M. Weissinger, David T. Lardier Jr., Yzette Lanier, Sierra Carter & Bridgette M. Brawner


This study examines mental health symptoms among Black adolescents who were currently in mental health treatment and those who were not in treatment. The study uses a sample of Black adolescents (N= 154) and logistic regression was performed to determine which psychological factors were associated with exhibiting mental health symptoms. Both groups experienced high amounts of trauma exposure history, recent suicidality, substance use, and depressive symptoms. Nearly one in four adolescents in the out of treatment group met diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorders. Implications include better screening for mental health symptoms to ensure Black adolescent have access to mental health treatment.

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