Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute Fellows

Acceptance into the NIDA-funded RETI Institute is highly competitive. Applicants must have a doctoral, medical or equivalent degree in social, behavioral, medical, nursing, public health or related fields, as well as demonstrated scholarship in HIV prevention research. Fellows are involved in the RETI program over a period of 2-years, beginning with an intensive 10-day summer program. During these ten days, fellows have the opportunity to engage with leading professionals in the field of HIV prevention research ethics, gain knowledge on the ethical challenges surrounding HIV and drug abuse research, and acquire skills to empirically examine these issues. Fellows also have the opportunity to begin developing a funded mentored research project in empirical HIV and drug abuse research ethics.

Fellows accepted to the RETI program have extensive HIV and drug abuse prevention research experience, demonstrate leadership and scholarly potential for the field of HIV and drug abuse prevention research ethics, and exhibit commitment and sensitivity to the ethical issues integral to research involving vulnerable populations.

Cohort 1 RETI Fellows (2011-2013)
Cohort 2 RETI Fellows (2012-2014)
Cohort 3 RETI Fellows (2013-2015)
Cohort 4 RETI Fellows (2014-2016)

Cohort 1 RETI Fellows

Assistant Professor
Center for AIDS Intervention Research
Medical College of Wisconsin

Background: Michelle Broaddus's research has been guided by the study of gender roles, how individuals negotiate condom use within relationships, and contexts of sexual risk among high-risk young adults and adolescents. She obtained her Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder in Social Psychology in 2008, focusing on condom attitudes and gender and power in heterosexual relationships. She has published articles examining associations with consistent condom use and the effects of a HIV risk reduction randomized controlled trial among adolescents in detention, detailing gender specific models of condom use intentions and use among adolescents on probation, and perceptions of condom proposers among college students. She completed a NRSA postdoctoral fellowship at CAIR in 2010, and conducted a developmental project on the uses of social media technology, including Short Messaging Service (SMS, also known as “texting”) in sexual relationships among HIV and STD at-risk young adults. After being hired as an assistant professor at CAIR in 2010, Dr. Broaddus’s interests remain focused on the potential for mobile phone technologies in innovative HIV prevention interventions, both as a medium for intervention delivery, and as a tool for at-risk populations to increase safer sex communication.

MRP: Participant perspectives of risks and benefits of participating in a text message-delivered intervention for safer sex communication 

Postdoctoral Fellow
Division of Global Public Health
University of California, San Diego

Background: Peter Davidson received his Ph.D. in medical sociology from the University of California, San Francisco in 2009. Dr. Davidson has been conducting research and harm-reduction based intervention development around heroin-related overdose and the transmission of HIV, hepatitis C, and sexually transmitted infections among drug users in Australia and the United States since 1997. Dr. Davidson's dissertation project explored the influence ofpolicing practices on the movements and economic activities of a highly mobile group of homeless younginjecting drug uses in San Francisco, and how these in turn affect the willingness and ability of young injectors to utilize needle exchange services. His work also involves explorations of how injecting drug users and other economically marginalized populations ‘make sense’ of research participation, and the ethical implications of these understandings.
MRP: Disjuncts in understanding: An exploration of differences in the ways drug users, researchers, and federal code understand research participation

Michael BaurJennifer Hettema, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Division of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences
University of Virginia

Background: Jennifer Hettema completed her graduate training in clinical psychology at the University of New Mexico and conducted a clinical internship and two year National Institute on Drug Abuse funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California San Francisco. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with treatment and research interests in the overlap of addictions and health. Much of her research focuses on the intersection of HIV and substance use, including the development and evaluation of prevention and treatment interventions, the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices, and medical education around these issues. Dr. Hettema is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers and incorporates this and other -centered approaches into much of her clinical research and teaching. She is currently the co-investigator under Karen Ingersoll on two HIV intervention trials funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse focusing on increasing medication adherence and decreasing substance use among individual living with HIV. One of these studies is a randomized controlled trial of a 6 session motivational interviewing based intervention and the other involves the development and pilot testing of a two-way text messaging intervention. Dr. Hettema engages in a variety of teaching activities, primarily focusing on helping medical students, residents, and other medical professionals learn to communicate more effectively with patients about health and substance use issues. 

MRP: Physician attitudes and behavior towards HIV+ IDUs

Kristin Kostick, Ph.D.

Research Associate
Institute for Community Research

Background: Kristin Kostick is a medical anthropologist with expertise in applied prevention/ intervention research, with specific experience in HIV/AIDS prevention and interdisciplinary research methods. She specializes in the design and implementation of culturally-specific and community-based health interventions, including thoseaimed at reducing sexual risk and promotingpsychosocial health and gender equity. She has engaged in training and capacity-building among local non-governmental and community-based organizations in developing countries, particularly among impoverished urban slum communities in India and Mauritius. She has also conducted evaluation research on evidence-based research programs, including Supported Employment rehabilitation services for individuals with severe mental illness in the US, and malaria control interventions in West Africa. Dr. Kostick has experience collaborating with both localand national entities, and coordinating research activities across academic and clinical settings. Her current research focuses on the role of MDMA (ecstasy) –use on sexual risk behaviors among urban young adults, as well as the use of ecstasy to improve intimacy, communication and sexual satisfaction in relationships characterized by significant intimate partner conflicts. In conjunction with her previous work in India, she continues to focus on culturally-based symptom markers that can help to identify women who are in relationships whose dynamics put them at greater risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Dr. Kostick has conducted research in India, Africa, Mauritius and the US.

MRP: Exploring participant experiences in a peer-delivered HIV intervention with IV drug users

Purnima Madhivanan, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work
Florida International University

Background: Purnima Madhivanan received her medical degree from Mysore Medical College in India. She served as an HIV physician at the Y.R. Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education in Chennai, India, before going on to earn an MPH and PhD in Epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Madhivanan is founder and Executive Director of Public Health Research Institute of India that is recognized by Government of India as a research organization carrying out basic and translational research on women’s health issues in India. She is also the guiding force behind Prerana Women’s Health Initiative which provides voluntary, comprehensive, and culturally sensitive services including HIV/STI management, family planning and cancer screening. Prerana operates a free reproductive health clinic in an urban Mysore slum and mobile antenatal clinics serving 144 rural villages in Mysore Taluk, an area with a large concentration of low-income and farming communities. Dr. Madhivanan has an active research program on prevention of HIV/STIs, primary and secondary prevention of cervical cancer, and domestic violence. She has more than 30 peer-review manuscripts in journals including AIDS, BMJ, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, AIDS & Behavior, Global Public Health, Vaccine, BMC Public Health, and Human Resources for Health. She was the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation’s International Leadership Award for her work on prevention of pediatric AIDS in India. Currently, Dr. Madhivanan Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work at FIU. She continues her research and advocacy for HIV infected women in India.

MRP: Ethical issues in the deliver of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV interventions in South India

Research Assistant Professor
Indigenous Wellness Research Institute
University of Washington

Background: Cynthia Pearson directs the Research Methods and Policy Core at the Interdisciplinary Indigenous Wellness Research Institute where she collaborates with indigenous scholars in the development of research policies and directs iterative data analysis on historical and cultural determinants of physical and mental health among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Dr. Pearson expertise is in designing community-based health studies from an ecological perspective that emphasize social, economic, political, environmental, and historical determinants of health. Specifically, Dr. Pearson’s research focuses on the intersecting risk of substance use, historical and lifetime trauma, and HIV risk and how culture, place, and community serve as protective factors. Dr. Pearson meets community members where they are and identifies community ways of knowing and resources to create innovative sustainable interventions. She is involved in several CBPRhealth and wellness projects across Pacific Northwest tribal communities identifying strengths and protective factors that support young women’s wellness, maternal health, cardiovascular disease, youth academic achievement, and suicide prevention.

MRP: Human subject research training for community researchers: A Pacific Northwest Native American cultural prospective

Elizabeth Reed, M.P.H., Sc.D.
Assistant Professor

Background: Elizabeth Reed is an Assistant Professor at George Washington University School of Public Health in the Department for Prevention and Community Health. Her research has focused on gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV prevention in multiple global settings, with particular attention tothe influence of social, environmental, and structural factors on risk (e.g. economic position, gender inequities and norms, other challenges across individuals’ ‘life contexts’). Given the increasing recognition that such contextual-level factors are contributing significantly to these health burdens and thereby, the need for interventions that aim to alter such structures within communities, Dr. Reed’s research agenda focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of structural-level interventions to address GBV and HIV –particularly those that consider both social and economic aspects of women’s lives. Given the contribution of GBV to HIV risk across populations and contexts, her work related to GBV prevention is also central to HIV prevention. Dr. Reed’s recent work in the US has involved investigation of social and environmental contexts in relation to GBV perpetration, as well as the mechanisms explaining the link between such perpetration and STI/HIV risk. Her most recent work abroad has involved the investigation of social and environmental factors (e.g. residential instability, economics, migration/mobility, forced migration) and relation to vulnerability for GBV and HIV risk among women working as sex workers in South India.

MRP: Perceptions of HIV prevention research participation among women working as sex workers in Andhra Pradesh, India

Postdoctoral Fellow
Division of Global Public Health
University of California, San Diego

Background: Lianne Urada is a postdoctoral scholar in the Division of Global Public Health, UCSD Department of Medicine, with a PhD in Social Welfare from UCLA (March, 2011), and a former doctoral training fellow in the Social and Behavioral Determinants of HIV/AIDS Prevention in the Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health. She also worked with persons living with HIV/AIDS for eight years in Los Angeles, California. She served as a Field Education faculty member in Social Welfare at UCLA and holds a California license in clinical social work. For her dissertation, she conducted surveys of 498 female entertainment workers and 48 managers from 54 establishment venues (night clubs/bars, spa/saunas, karaoke bars) in the Philippines. She received grants to assess the socio-structural influences of risk behavior among the entertainers and to develop and evaluate a new intervention. Specifically, she examined factors in the risk environment (at physical, social, economic, and policy levels) and their effects on behavioral outcomes. She used a mixed method, collaborative community-based research approach. She also interviewed 48 key informants (health officials, managers, NGOs) and held focus groups of entertainers prior to administering questionnaires. Dr. Urada wishes to examine the ethics surrounding research with sex workers in the Philippines who are concerned about their legal risks and human rights. The criminal contexts of substance use, sex work, and trafficking often pose perceived risks to participants. Interviews with policymakers, law enforcement, and establishment managers regarding police practices in relation to sex workers and substance users are necessary.

MRP: Social and structural constraints on disclosure and informed consent with female sex workers and their managers in the Philippines

Cohort 2 RETI Fellows


Associate Professor
Department of Social and Public Health
Ohio University

Background: Dr. Tania Basta received a B.S. in Kinesiology and a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Community Health Education from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia. Currently, she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Public Health in the College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University and is also affiliated faculty in the Center for International Studies and the College of Communications. She is also the Associate Director of the Appalachian Rural Health Institute, an interdisciplinary health services and research institute, collaboratively run by the Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University. Dr. Basta has over 13 years of combined public health research and professional experience. She started her public health career as a worksite health practitioner, but in the past 10 year has worked extensively with domestic community-based organizations focused on HIV/AIDS. She is currently the Chair of the HIV/AIDS Section of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Basta’s research interests focus on increasing the quality of life among individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The majority of her publications are focused on the mental health status of low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the United States. Now that she lives rural Appalachian Ohio, she has become interested in HIV prevention and treatment among individuals living in Appalachia. Recently, she was funded by the NIH Loan Repayment Plan to conduct rural Appalachian HIV research (2010-2012). Dr. Basta also has considerable experience with community-based participatory research (CBPR) and is a Co-Investigator on a Department of Energy Public Outreach Project that was funded to use CBPR methods to develop alternative uses for the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Appalachian, Ohio.

MRP: Consent Preparedness for Home-Based HIV Testing Research in Rural Appalachia

Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention
University of California, Irvine

Background: Dr. Brandon Brown is a lecturer in the UC Irvine Program in Public Health, where his efforts are spent in both education and research. He teaches several courses, including ethics and responsible conduct of research in public health, international epidemiology, and advances in global health. He also serves as the director of undergraduate education, chair of the curriculum committee, director of the global health infrastructure development program, and is a clinicalresearch ethicist. Brandon received his MPH from UCLA and his PhD in International Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Global Disease Epidemiology and Control program. His dissertation titled ‘HPV prevalence and risk factors among female sex workers (FSWs) in Peru’ has yielded four peer review publications, with another five articles in preparation. Dr. Brown completed Postdoctoral studies at UCLA in the Global HIV/AIDS Prevention Research program, and in the UCSD Global Public Health program. Brandon has worked on projects in Peru for over 7 years, and is currently Principal or Co-Investigator on 6 HIV focused or related studies in Peru and Mexico. These projects include vaccine acceptability, building clinic infrastructure, studies of comorbidity of HIV with HPV, examining behaviors related to HPV infection, estimating HPV prevalence in developing countries, conducting interventions for cervical cancer prevention, recruitment and retention of high risk groups in clinical trials, and studies of STIs affecting FSWs and MSM. Dr. Brown is very interested is the topic of international research ethics, and works closely with the University of Cayetano Heredia in Peru. He hopes to begin a program training international scholars in research ethics at UC Irvine. A topic of particular interest is undue inducement in clinical studies of HIV in developing countries with vulnerable populations. 

MRP: Voluntary study participation in a clinical trial of HPV vaccine with Peruvian FSWs


Michael BaurBrenda Curtis, Ph.D.

Health Communication Research Scientist
Treatment Research Institute

Background: Dr. Brenda Curtis is currently a Health Communication Research Scientist at the Treatment Research Institute. She received her Masters of Science in Public Health from the University of Illinois and her Doctoral degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Her principal research interests have been in the fields of Health Communication and Public Health. She is very interested in providing scientifically tailored health information that is evidence based. She attempts to translate research into programs that allow for the building of individual and community capacity. In her recent research, she developed a web-based smoking cessation intervention program and conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the relative effectiveness of tailoring the intervention content to particular demographic (age, gender, ethnicity), and also functional behavioral attributes of the individuals in the target population. That is, the computer used particular presentations of the same message that were individually designed to attributes known to be important in gaining attention and shaping behavior. She found that this relatively simple and inexpensive procedure was able to improve intention to quit by over 19%. Dr. Curtis is continuing to explore this line of research and recently deployed a substance use screening and brief intervention web-based interactive program she developed into a New York school district. Dr. Curtis is also working on innovative ways to increase enrollment and retention of hard to reach populations into HIV clinical trials. Her research has led her to examine the ethical implications raised by the use of the Internet and social media to recruit and retain subjects into HIV related studies. She is particularly interested in assessing how Institutional Review Boards are implementing new policies and procedures to deal with online recruitment.

MRP: Online Recruiting for HIV Research: Ethical Issues and Concerns for Investigators and IRBs


Shira Goldenberg, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
Division of Global Public Health
University of California, San Diego

Background: Dr. Shira Goldenberg is a Spanish speaking global health investigator with seven years of experience conducting research on social and structural factors shaping HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk among vulnerable populations. After completing her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of British Columbia, she received a Canada-U.S. Fulbright award to pursue her PhD through the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health (2008-2011). Dr. Goldenberg is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the UCSD Division of Global Public Health, where her work focuses on structural factors shaping HIV/STI risk, gender-based violence and sex trafficking among female sex workers along the Mexico-U.S. and Mexico-Guatemala borders. She has also worked with the Pan American Health Organization on issues related to mobility and HIV in Central America and Mexico. As data on social and structural factors, such as gender inequities, poverty, and laws/policies are necessary to better understand and prevent HIV/STI infection, Dr. Goldenberg’s short-term goal is to develop the methodological and ethical skills to investigate social and structural influences shaping HIV/STI infection among formerly trafficked women. Her long-term research plans are to develop and evaluate structural interventions to reduce the impacts of sex work among women at high risk of HIV infection in border settings, which is a pressing public health concern in the U.S., Latin America, and globally.

MRP: Barriers and Facilitators to Participation in HIV Research: Female Sex Workers’ Perspectives


Thomas Guadamuz, Ph.D., M.H.S. 

Assistant Professor
Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh

Background: Dr. Thomas Guadamuz completed graduate training in infectious disease epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and later completed postdoctoral training in behavioral and social sciences and health at the University of Pittsburgh and Mahidol University in Thailand. He is currently a recipient of a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from NIMH to develop a community-level behavioral change intervention for high-risk young men who have sex with men in Thailand. He is also working with transgender populations in Thailand and the Philippines to understand HIV risk contexts that will inform intervention development. Dr. Guadamuz has worked in partnership with numerous community-based organizations in the US and Asia and has collaborated with the U.S. CDC, the Thailand Ministry of Public Health, World Health Organization, International Labor Organization, and Family Health International. Dr. Guadamuz currently holds a joint appointment at the Center for Health Policy Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at Mahidol University where he has close research collaborations and teaches on gender, sexuality and health. His current research interests are the social determinants of health among marginalized populations, recruitment of hard-to-reach populations and HIV risk contexts in online and offline spaces, including gender- and sexuality-based violence and cyber bullying.

MRP: Barriers and facilitators to YMSM participating in HIV-related research studies in Thailand: Perspectives of parents and teens
Charmaine Thokoane
Project Coordinator
Centre for the Study of AIDS
University of Pretoria

Background: Charmaine Thokoane is a project coordinator at the Centre for the Study of AIDS (CSA), University of Pretoria.Her current position entails coordinating the HIV/AIDS and Human Rights project of the AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit (AHRRU). This unit is a joint initiative between the Centre for the Study of AIDS and the Centre for Human Rights. Her duties include training, research, material development, fundraising, organising seminars and events. She has been involved in several research projects at the CSA in collaboration with national and international institutions and organisations, both on the University of Pretoria campus as well as in various communities within South Africa. In addition to this, she has worked with governmental and non-governmental institutions in South Africa, as well as, non-governmental organisations and academic institutions in the Eastern and Southern African region on Human Rights and, Sexual and Reproductive Health. She has represented the CSA in various forums in South African and other African countries. Her areas of interest in Public Health and Human Rights developed after joining the CSA as a volunteer in 2005, while studying towards a degree in natural and agricultural sciences. In 2010, she was selected by the US Embassy, to be part of the US State Departments’ International Visitor Leadership Programme on Skills and Youth Development (February 2011). The knowledge and skills she gained through this experience, has helped shape the community work she does in her current project with the AHRRU.

MRP: Knowledge of rights to sexual reproductive health services among 12-18 year olds in Hammanskraal
Charmaine Thokoane is participating in the RETI summer training program through funding by the Fordham Center for Ethics Education / Santander Universities International Scholarship
Associate Research Scientist
Yale Law School / Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS
Yale University

Background: Dr. Kristen Underhill holds a D.Phil. in Evidence-Based Social Intervention from Oxford University, where she focused on behavioral HIV prevention, systematic reviewing, and research with vulnerable populations. She completed her postdoctoral training under an NIH T32 grant in the Department of Community Health at Brown University, where she focused on the behavioral implications of biomedical HIV prevention strategies. Dr. Underhill's published articles have included studies of abstinence-based HIV prevention approaches, HIV risk among transgender women and their male partners, and the implementation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). She also holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, and her legal research focuses on law and public health, the use of behavioral science concepts in the law, and healthcare financing. She is jointly affiliated with the Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS and Yale Law School. Dr. Underhill is currently PI of a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development grant focusing on behavioral issues involved in the use of oral antiretroviral PrEP by men who have sex with men (MSM). This research grant uses mixed methods to investigate willingness to use PrEP, attitudes towards risk compensation behavior, and perceptions of drug efficacy. Dr. Underhill's legal research aligns with her public health research interests; one of her recent legal projects examined legal doctrines and regulations applying to health insurance coverage of biomedical HIV prevention technologies.

MRP: Exploring IRB Responses to Participant Complaints: Processes, Values, and Resources

Cohort 3 RETI Fellows

Stella Njuguna, B.Pharm., M.P.H. 

Research Officer
Kenya Medical Research Institute

Background: Dr. Stella Njuguna is a Research Officer at Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). She earned her pharmacy degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya and a MPH in Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her main research interests include: HIV prevention care and treatment as well as socio-behavioral research especially within HIV discordant couples. 

Stella has participated in several studies in various capacities. Currently, she is a Co-Investigator for the HIV- Neurology in Kenya Study 2 (THINK-2) and a pharmacist and epidemiologist for Sustainable East Africa in Community Health (SEARCH) study. THINK-2 is a longitudinal study that aims to assess the impact of cognitive impairment on adherence to anti-retroviral therapy (ART). SEARCH project is a cluster-randomized multi-site clinical trial which aims to quantify the health, economic and education impact of early diagnosis and immediate ART treatment using a streamlined care delivery system in rural communities in East Africa. Furthermore, she has keen interest in research ethics and currently provides technical support to KEMRI’s Ethics Review Committee. Dr. Njuguna is also a member of the ADILI Taskforce Secretariat which has been mandated by the Director of KEMRI to restructure the Institute’s research and regulatory review system. She is also a production editor for the quarterly bioethics newsletter in KEMRI.

MRP: Post-trial access of Truvada® amongst HIV-1 discordant couples enrolled in the PrEP study in Kisumu, Kenya

Stella Njuguna is participating in the RETI summer training program through funding by the Fordham Center for Ethics Education / Santander Universities International Scholarship. 

Postdoctoral Fellow
Yale University

Background: Dr. Nicole Overstreet received her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Connecticut, where she was a NIMH-funded T32 pre-doctoral fellow in the Social Processes of HIV/AIDS Training Program. Currently, she is a NIMH-funded T32 post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale University. Her program of research examines the intersection of intimate partner violence (IPV) and HIV risk in marginalized groups, with a particular focus on social factors that influence risk (e.g., stigma, prejudice, discrimination). Dr. Overstreet’s recent work considers how stigmatizing experiences with IPV victimization influence HIV risk factors, negative self-appraisals, and negative affect. Her work also examines mechanisms linking IPV and HIV risk, including substance use and psychological distress (e.g., PTSD, depression). Dr. Overstreet’s short-term goal is to establish a strong methodological and ethical foundation to investigate the effect of IPV and stigma on HIV risk behavior, mental health, and utilization of support networks. Her long-term research plans include developing interventions to address IPV, stigma, and HIV risk among groups disproportionately affected by HIV and other STIs.

MRP: Assessing the role of stigma on women’s participation in and perceptions of intimate partner violence research


Alexis Roth, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Postdoctoral Fellow
University of California San Diego

Dr. Alexis Roth pursued a Ph.D. to address how individual and neighborhood-level factors contributing to disproportional rates of STI/HIV in urban settings.  Over time, she became increasing interested in “mHealth research” as a mechanism for measuring event-level behavioral phenomenon and capturing information about high- and low-risk activity spaces. She completed a Predoctoral Research Fellowship sponsored by the Indiana University Purdue University Center for Urban Health to use smartphone-delivered digital diaries to measure how situational factors (e.g. drug craving; mood; relationship to sexual partner; day, time or location of sex) impact HIV risk among female sex workers. In 2012, Dr. Roth began a NIDA-funded postdoctoral fellowship (T32 DA 023356) in the Division of Global Public Health (GPH) at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). At UCSD, her interest in mHealth research intensified as she began to consider how polydrug use impacts adherence to antiretroviral treatment (ART) among persons who inject drugs (PWID). In September 2014, she will join the Department of Community Health and Prevention at Drexel University as an Assistant Professor. There her research will use daily diaries to unpack how drug use impacts HIV risk behaviors and antiretroviral medication adherence over time. Findings will contribute to subsequent text messaging interventions that respond in real-time to identified antecedents of risk and nonadherence that may be amenable to intervention.

Ethical considerations for mHealth research with persons who inject drugs

 Darpun Sachdev, M.D.

HIV Vaccine Fellow
San Francisco Department of Public Health

Background: Darpun Sachdev, MD is the HIV Vaccine Fellow at Bridge HIV and a post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). After receiving her MD at Brown University, she was a resident and Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and completed her Infectious Disease Fellowship at Columbia University.  She is a board certified internist and completed her specialty training in Infectious Disease. She sees patients at Ward 86 at San Francisco General Hospital.

Darpun’s research focuses on the epidemiologic and biologic risk factors for acquisition of HIV, and clinical trials of biomedical interventions to prevent HIV transmission. She is currently leading a quantitative study to evaluate preferences toward antiretroviral-based prevention strategies in Bronx, NY and a qualitative study to evaluate community and stakeholder perspectives toward standards of prevention care in HIV prevention trials.  She recently  completed a national survey to evaluate physicians’ willingness to prescribe oral and topical pre-exposure prophylaxis.   At Bridge HIV, she provides scientific expertise and leadership to conduct Phase 1-3 HIV vaccine trials in San Francisco.

She plans to continue to focus on improving the design and delivery of HIV prevention modalities.  Ultimately, she hopes to design combination HIV prevention trials that evaluate community-level impact and effectively utilize surrogate endpoints.  Darpun will pursue a certificate in Advanced Training in Clinical Research at UCSF in her first year of training.

MRP: The ethical provision of PrEP in a multi-national HIV vaccine efficacy study

Andrew Spieldenner, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Speech Communications
Hofstra University 

Background: Dr. Andrew Spieldenner (PhD, Howard University, 2009) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Rhetoric at Hofstra University.  He earned his Ph.D. in Communication & Culture with an emphasis on health. Dr. Spieldenner examines issues of culture and the body in three primary areas: HIV/AIDS; gay men; and health. His research focuses on community engagement practices with socially marginalized groups, social stigma, intercultural communication, HIV disclosure, health ethics and comic books. Prior to academia, he has held positions at the New York City Department of Health andMental Hygiene, Black AIDS Institute, National Associationof People with AIDS, and the Latino Commission on AIDS. Dr. Spieldenner is a long-time HIV advocate with twenty years servingHIV high-risk populations including racial/ethnic minorities, gay men and people living with HIV/AIDS. He maintains membership in the Eastern Communication Association, National Communication Association, and the US People Living with HIV/AIDS Caucus. His academic work has appeared in Communication Education, Health Education Research, Californian Journal of Health Promotion, Culture and Sexuality, and Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics.

Ethical dimensions in the increased involvement of Black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) in HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) clinical research
Sean Young, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Family Medicine and Center for Behavior and Addiction Medicine 
University of California Los Angeles

Background: Dr. Sean D. Young is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Center for Behavior and Addiction Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Young studies HIV prevention decision-making and testing behavior in the U.S., Peru, and South Africa. He also has conducted extensive user experience research and development, designing and evaluating social media and health behavior change methods and social media “apps” for HIV prevention, addiction medicine, and general health. He has spent the past 7 years studying the relationship between social media and HIV prevention/sexual risk behaviors among Los Angeles homeless youth, African American and Latino MSM, Peruvian MSM, and American and Iranian college undergraduates. He is the Primary Investigator of the HOPE UCLA study, the first intervention trial to assess whether social networking technologies can be used to deliver peer-led HIV prevention information to increase HIV testing among African American and Latino MSM. He is currently replicating this study among Peruvian MSM, in Lima, Peru. Dr. Young’s clinical work is focused on designing and evaluating engaging electronic platforms and medical decision-making tools.

MRP: Ethics and Social Networking for HIV Research

Cohort 4 RETI Fellows

Erin Bonar

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Addiction Research Center
University of Michigan

Background: Dr. Erin E. Bonar received her PhD in Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University and completed an NIAAA T32 research fellowship at the University of Michigan Addiction Research Center.  She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. As a licensed clinical psychologist, she provides clinical care in the University of Michigan Addiction Treatment Service and teaches Motivational Interviewing to fellows in Addiction Psychiatry. Her research focuses on understanding and reducing substance use and concomitant risk behaviors (e.g., HIV risk behaviors) and related negative consequences for both individuals and communities.  She received a NIDA K23 Career Development Award in 2013.  Using mobile technologies, Dr. Bonar is studying the daily relationships between substance use and HIV-related sexual risk behaviors among at-risk emerging adults in a low resource community. The findings from this study will inform the development of an intervention for substance use and HIV risk behaviors in this population.  Dr. Bonar also collaborates on a number of studies of adolescents and adults focused on improving care in substance abuse treatment centers as well as on identifying and screening for substance use among patients in a variety of healthcare settings.
 Faith Fletcher

Assistant Professor
Division of Community and Health Services
University of Illinois at Chicago

Background: Dr. Faith Fletcher is Assistant Professor in the Division of Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and an Affiliate Member of the Chicago Developmental Center for AIDS Research (D-CFAR). Dr. Fletcher’s research program broadly addresses reproductive and cancer-related disparities among disadvantaged women living with HIV/AIDS. Her undergraduate exposure to health inequities through Tuskegee University’s National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care influenced her decision to pursue a career in health disparities research and promote social justice among underserved populations. She obtained a MA through Michigan State University’s interdisciplinary program in Bioethics, Humanities, and Society (2006) and PhD in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health (2011). Dr. Fletcher completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Behavioral Science at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her National Cancer Institute R25T-funded study used combined qualitative and quantitative methods to explore barriers associated with cervical cancer screening utilization among HIV-positive women at an urban, comprehensive HIV clinic in Houston, Texas. Dr. Fletcher is a recent recipient of the Kaiser Permanente BURCH Minority Leadership Award Program which aims to enhance the voices and leadership development of minority researchers committed to improving service to the underserved and reducing health and healthcare inequalities. She is also a Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Associate and an Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) Faculty Fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Relevant training opportunities further position her to address health inequities among HIV-positive women through an enhanced interdisciplinary, translational research framework. Dr. Fletcher ultimately seeks to build a programmatic line of research that would engage innovative approaches to expand the provision of cancer preventive services in HIV clinic-based settings.
Julia Lechuga

Assistant Professor of Psychology
University of Texas at El Paso

Background: Dr. Julia Lechuga received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at El Paso in Health Psychology in 2008. In 2010, Dr. Lechuga was a finalist for the Harry and Pola Triandis Outstanding Dissertation Award from the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) and received an Honorable Mention. Dr. Lechuga completed a National Institutes of Health NRSA Ruth L. Kirschstein postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2010. In 2010 she started a faculty position at MCW and in 2013 moved to The University of Texas at El Paso, where she currently is assistant professor. Dr. Lechuga's research focuses on the development, cultural adaptation, and dissemination and implementation of behavioral interventions to reduce the risk of infectious disease in ethnic minorities and vulnerable populations such as injection and non-injection drug users. In 2012, Dr. Lechuga receivedan NIH R21 to design a sexual and reproductive health behavioral intervention for mother-daughter dyads.
Abby Rudolph

Research Scientist
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

Background: Dr. Abby E. Rudolph is an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). She received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and her M.P.H from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Her research focuses on understanding how individual, environmental, and network factors act together to shape disease transmission dynamics, risk behaviors, and health service utilization among populations disproportionately burdened with HIV. Dr. Rudolph's publications cover a variety of topics including HIV and drug use-related stigmas, recruitment strategies for hidden populations, network, neighborhood, and spatial correlates of HIV and risk behaviors, pharmacy syringe access for people who inject drugs (PWID), and community-based participatory interventions to connect marginalized populations with health services. She is currently the recipient of a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K01 DA033879A) that aims to better understand the independent and combined influence of sociometric network, spatial, and neighborhood factors on health-seeking and risk behaviors among PWID in Baltimore, MD. She is also Co-investigator on 1) R01HD077891 (PI: Stockman, J), which aims to evaluate the impact of the built and social environment on forced sex and, in turn, elucidate how forced sex and physiological factors influence behavioral mechanisms that increase risk for HIV acquisition among at-risk, HIV-negative AfricanAmerican women in Baltimore, MD and 2) R01DA035098 (PI: Pollini, RA), which aims to assess the implementation of Senate Bill 41 (passed on January 1, 2012 and designed to expand sterile syringe access by allowing California pharmacies to sell up to 30 syringes without a prescription) in two inland counties of California’s Central Valley.
 Arunansu Talukdar

Associate Professor of Medicine
Medical College Kolkata, India

Arunansu Talukdar started his professional career as physician and got involved in caring AIDS patients. Later he obtained his Ph.D. in Epidemiology from School of Public Health at University of California Los Angeles in 2007, focussing on sexual risk behaviour and STD/HIV scenario among homeless people in Kolkata, India. He has published several articles on association of circumcision and reduced HIV acquisition, inconsistent condom use and high prevalence of STDs among homeless people. He completed WHO Fellowship in 2011 and later published articles on coping strategy, quality of life among HIV infected people. After joining Medical College Kolkata, India, he conducted a course on research methodology in STD/HIV in collaboration with Washington University. He is now guiding five MD students who are conducting research on HIV prevention and care. He hopes to develop a training centre for health research for all categories of staff.

Arunasu Talukdar is participating in the RETI summer training program through funding by the Fordham Center for Ethics Education / Santander Universities International Scholarship.
Thespina Yamanis

Assistant Professor
School of International Service
American University

Thespina "Nina" Yamanis' research interests lie in two primary areas: 1) understanding social and structural determinants of HIV risk for most at-risk populations; and 2) reaching these populations through place-based and social network approaches to sampling and intervention.  She received her Ph.D. in Health Behavior in 2009 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.  For her dissertation she lead qualitative and quantitative formative research studies on the social and sexual networks of high risk young men who socialize in "camps" in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  Her published articles from this work demonstrate how characteristics of the social spaces and networks both protected and promoted HIV risk among the young men in Dar es Salaam, including engagement in concurrent sexual partnerships.  This research was the basis for a current R01 trial in Tanzania on which she is a Co-Investigator.  The NIMH-funded trial is a multi-level intervention combining microfinance and health leadership with young men in camps to reduce their sexual risk behavior and perpetration of intimate partner violence.  Dr. Yamanis' RETI project will add a study on the ethical dimensions of participation in this trial.  Dr. Yamanis was a post-doctoral fellow at Duke University's Global Health Institute from 2009-2011 and published research empirically examining the recruitment bias inRespondent-Driven Sampling using data from female sex workers in China.  She is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of International Service at American University (AU).  Her new research work at AU involves exploring the dimensions of HIV risk for two highly vulnerable groups in Washington, DC: young Latino and adolescent Black men who have sex with men (MSM). She is broadly interested in how public health interventions for vulnerable populations can better address and harness social and structural factors to reduce risk.

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