Watkins-Hayes’ expertise lies in the areas of urban poverty; public policies and governmental agencies targeting low-income families; and the social and economic consequences of HIV/AIDS for women of diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. She explores questions such as: How do government and non-profit institutions address (or fail to address) the needs of those facing economic hardship? How do women financially and socially cope with living with HIV/AIDS, and how does this affect their ability to take care of themselves and their families? What will rising income inequality mean for the ability of individuals to move up the economic ladder? Watkins-Hayes serves on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College and the Advisory Board of the Spelman College Women’s Research and Resource Center.