Helen-Maria Lekas, Ph.D.
Dr. Lekas joined NKI in 2016 as a Research Scientist in the Division of Social Solutions and Services Research. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Lekas earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University and served as faculty in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences for 13 years where she conducted NIH-funded research on infectious and chronic diseases among socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Symptom interpretation and illness management, stigma, sexual and substance-use related risk behavior, and patient-provider relationships in resource poor contexts are among the research topics she has explored. Her work is theoretically driven and over the years she has developed expertise as a theoretician with an appreciation for applied research. Most recently, Dr. Lekas has focused on addressing the structural- and individual-level barriers to engagement in medical care among marginalized patient populations, including HIV-infected inpatients with mental and behavioral health disorders, patients who leave the hospital against medical advice, and patients contending with multiple intersecting stigmas.