James A. Peterson

James A. Peterson
James A. Peterson
Affiliated Research Scientist

Ed.D., Urban Education Leadership, Morgan State University
M.H.S., Human Services, Lincoln University
Phone: 202-994-2852
Fax: 202-994-0082
Research Interests

James Peterson, EdD, MHS is a research scientist with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at George Washington University, where he teaches a course “Ethnographic Methods as Applied in Public Health” and has participated with and managed ethnographic and qualitative research activities on multiple projects including:

Qualitative Component of the Monitoring and Evaluation of the Washington, DC routine testing campaign.
Ethnographic study of the House/Ball scene and accessing HIV/AIDS care among young men of color who have sex with men.
Lead Investigator for the District of Columbia Department of Health Community Services Assessment (CSA).
Ethnographic Interviews conducted as a component of the HIV Prevention Trial Network (HPTN) studies (061 & 064) in the District of Columbia.
His interests are conducting ethnographic research among substance abusers, HIV AIDS fieldwork and using social research strategies to gain access to hard-to-reach populations, applying a variety of ethnographic and qualitative research methods including types of street and institutional interviewing, observations, and focus group research. He has continued to focus his professional experience in the areas of public health and the human services; encompassing various types of health research, community-based research, teaching and training, consultation, and direct work with research among incarcerated populations and reentrants, HIV+ individuals and substance users. He has significant ethnographic experience conducting fieldwork, using social research strategies to gain access to hard-to-reach populations, applying a variety of qualitative research methods. Dr. Peterson holds a Doctorate of Urban Education Leadership from Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD and a Master of Human Services Degree from Lincoln University, Lincoln, PA.

Currently, Dr. Peterson conducts ethnographic research with high-risk populations in Washington, D.C. on a CDC-funded National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) study. The NHBS is conducted in 25 cities in the United States, including Washington, D.C. The purpose of this serial cross-sectional study is to yield information about what people do that puts them at risk for HIV. The NHBS has three cycles focusing on different risk groups: men who have sex with men (NHBS-MSM), injecting drug users (NHBS-IDU), and heterosexuals at risk of HIV infection (NHBS-HET). Information gained from the NHBS will guide prevention and HIV counseling and testing services in Washington, D.C. It will also help guide and improve overall HIV/AIDS surveillance, and provide a better understanding of trends in HIV infection in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States. His current work involves:

  • Lead Ethnographer for formative research on the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS)
  • Community Research Coordinator for the District of Columbia
  • Developmental Center for AIDS Research (D-CFAR)
  • Community Activities Coordinator for the DC Cohort Study
  • Co-investigator on Needs Assessment among HIV AIDS patients in care who have co-morbidity issues of substance abuse and or mental health diagnoses
Selected Publications
Hong YA, Mitchell SG, Peterson JA, Latkin C, Tobin K (2016). Ethnographic process evaluation. Monitoring and Evaluation in Health and Social Development: Interpretive and Ethnographic Perspectives 159.
Mitchell SG, Morioka R, Reisinger HS, Peterson JA, Kelly SM, Agar MH, Schwartz RP, et al (2011). Redefining retention: recovery from the patient’s perspective Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 43 (2), 99-107. [PMCID: PMC3160714].
Kelly SM, O’Grady KE, Schwartz RP, Peterson JA, Wilson ME, Brown BS (2010). The relationship of social support to treatment entry and engagement: The community assessment inventory Substance Abuse 31 (1), 43-52. [PMCID: PMC2856126].
Peterson JA, Schwartz RP, Mitchell SG, Reisinger HS, Kelly SM, O’Grady KE, Brown BS, Agar MH (2010). Why don’t out-of-treatment individuals enter methadone treatment programs? International Journal of Drug Policy 21 36-42. [PMCID: PMC2790538].
Kelly SM, Schwartz RP, O’Grady KE, Mitchell SG, Reisinger HS, Peterson JA, Agar MH, Brown BS (2009). Gender differences among in- and out-of-treatment opioid-addicted individuals.  American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 35, 38-42.
Mitchell SG, Kelly SM, Brown BS, Reisinger HS, Peterson JA, Ruhf A, Agar MH, O’Grady KE Schwartz RP (2009). Uses of diverted methadone and buprenorphine by opioid-addicted individuals in Baltimore, Maryland.  The American Journal on Addictions
Mitchell SG, Kelly SM, Brown BS, Reisinger HS, Peterson JA, Ruhf A, Agar MH, Schwartz RP (2009). Incarceration and opioid withdrawal: The experiences of methadone patients and out-of-treatment heroin users.  Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
Reisinger HS, Schwartz RP, Mitchell SG, Peterson JA, Kelly SM, O’Grady KE, Marrari EA, Brown BS, Agar MH (2008). Premature discharge from methadone treatment: Patient perspectives Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
Schwartz RP, Kelly SM, O’Grady KE, Mitchell SG, Peterson JA, Reisinger HS, Agar MH, Brown BS (2008). Attitudes toward buprenorphine and methadone among opioid-dependent individuals. American Journal on Addictions 17(5), 396-401.
Schwartz RP, Kelly SM, O’Grady KE, Peterson JA, Reisinger HS, Mitchell SG, Wilson ME, Agar MH, Brown BS (2008). In-treatment v. out-of-treatment opioid dependent adults: Drug use and criminal history. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 34(1), 17-28.
Mitchell SG, Peterson JA and Latkin CA (2006). The impact of drug use on perceptions of credibility in indigenous outreach workers Qualitative Health Research 16, 1108-1119, PMID: 16954528.
Peterson JA, Mitchell SG, Hong Y, Agar MH and Latkin CA (2006). Getting clean and harm reduction: Adversarial or complimentary issues for injection drug users Cadernos de Saude Publica, 22(4), 733-740, ISSN 0102-311X, Epub 2006 Apr 5, PMID: 16612427
Hong Y, Mitchell SG, Peterson JA, Latkin CA, Tobin K and Gann D (2005). Ethnographic process evaluation: Piloting an HIV prevention intervention program among injection drug users International Journal of Qualitative Methods 4(1), Article.
Peterson JA, Mitchell SG, and Latkin CA (2005). The shooting gallery: Opportunities and implications for the introduction of an ethnographic HIV prevention intervention AIDS Anthropology Bulletin 17 (2), 26-28.