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Rainier Masa

Associate Professor

Rainier Masa, Ph.D.


Tate-Turner-Kuralt Building


325 Pittsboro Street

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

O: 919-962-6531

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Dr. Rainier (Rain) Masa is an associate professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work. He is a lead researcher with the Global Social Development Innovations Center and a research fellow at the Centre for Social Development in Africa at the University of Johannesburg. He is also a faculty affiliate of the UNC African Studies Center and a member of the UNC Center for AIDS Research.

Dr. Masa’s research focuses on the economic and social aspects of health in low-resource communities. He conducts research on the intersection of economic security and HIV among adolescents and young adults. He examines how food access, economic vulnerability, and stigma affect risk for HIV transmission and progression along the HIV care continuum, particularly among key populations.

Degrees and Licenses

Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
MSW, Washington University in St. Louis
BA, University of Santo Tomas (Manila, Philippines)


Safe Zone

Research and Professional Interests

HIV Prevention and Treatment
Food Security
Adolescents and Young Adults
Positive Youth Development

Principal Investigator

A Feasibility Study of Umwini, an Asset-Based Intervention for Young People Living with HIV in Zambia
Intersectional Stigma and Resilience among Young Latino Sexual Minority Men to Improve HIV Testing and PrEP Use


Siyakha Youth Assets and Employability Project (South Africa)

Recent Publications

Masa, R. & Chowa, G. (2020). Household food insecurity and educational outcomes in school-going adolescents in Ghana. Public Health Nutrition.

Masa, R., Bates, C., & Chowa, G. (2020). Direct and indirect associations of food insecurity, adolescent-parent relationship, and adolescent future orientation. Journal of Family Issues.

Masa, R., Khan, Z., & Chowa, G. (2020). Youth food insecurity in Ghana and South Africa: Prevalence, socioeconomic correlates, and moderation effect of gender. Children and Youth Services Review, 116.

Masa, R., Baca-Atlas, S., & Hangoma, P. (2021). Walking and perceived lack of safety: Correlates and association with health outcomes for people living with HIV in rural Zambia. Journal of Transport and Health, 22, 101140.

Masa, R. & Sharma, A. (2021). Invariance of the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale across different groups of adolescents and young adults. Food and Nutrition Bulletin.

Masa, R., Shangani, S., & Operario, D. (2021). Socioeconomic status and psychosocial resources mediate racial/ethnic differences in psychological health among gay and bisexual men: A longitudinal analysis using structural equation modeling. American Journal of Men’s Health.


SOWO 510

Foundations for Evidence-Based Practice and Program Evaluation

Spring 2017-2018, 2020


SOWO 530

Foundations of Social Welfare and Social Work

Fall 2015-2016, 2018-2019


SOWO 793

Asset Development Practice and Policy

Spring 2016, 2019


SOWO 834

Advanced Policy Practice

Spring 2018, Fall 2018-2020


SOWO 835

Poverty Policy

Spring 2014-2020


SOWO 910

Research Methods in Social Intervention

Doctoral Program