Yale University

2022 HIV Implementation Science to Optimize Research Impact (HISTORI) Scientific Congress

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The HISTORI Scientific Congress was a multi-culturally affirming, self-determined forum for Black investigators involved in research that contributes to ending the HIV epidemic in Black communities in the United States. The event was convened by a group of thirteen leaders in the fight against HIV in black communities and took place in June 2022 in Dallas, Texas. It was graciously hosted by Dallas Southern Pride as part of the launch of their annual Juneteenth Unity Weekend celebration. The congress brought together over 50 Black investigators from across the country to collectively engage in priority setting, knowledge exchange, research methods capacity building, and science generation. It established a network of passionate researchers, community advocates and leaders in academia, community settings, health service organizations and industry motivated to bring an end to HIV in Black communities. To join the HISTORI network and listserv, please contact us here.

Congress Proceedings: Strategies and Urgent Research Priorities to End the HIV Epidemic in Black Communities

A synthesis of insights shared by members of the HISTORI network regarding research priorities and strategies to end the HIV epidemic in Black communities in the United States

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HISTORI Group Photo Day 1
Pre-Congress Workshop Attendees

The gathering began with a warm welcome from co-convener Dr. LaRon Nelson (Associate Professor of Nursing and Public Health at Yale University), which was followed by pre-congress workshops that introduced attendees to implementation science strategies and methods. Yale University's Dr. Donna Spiegelman, Director of the Center for Methods in Implementation and Prevention Science, shared principles, frameworks and design methodologies central to implementation science research. We built on this momentum with a workshop on qualitative research methodologies focused on integrating text-based chatting apps in data collection led by Dr. DeAnne Turner, Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida and Dr. Gloria Aidoo-Frimpong, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. Gilead Sciences provided guidance and resources on helping community organizations and clinics optimize the implementation of rapid ART and PrEP protocols. The first day concluded with a reception where attendees had the opportunity to network with one another and develop new partnerships.

On the second day, co-conveners Dr. Stephaun Wallace (Director & Staff Scientist at the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research) and Dr. Ijeoma Opara (Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Public Health) jointly welcomed attendees and officially launched the congress. Participants were eager to dive into facilitated discussions around urgent research priorities for ending the epidemic in Black communities. The remainder of the morning was spent in breakout groups where attendees applied their varying expertise and put identified priorities into action through rapid science generation. Teams of investigators developed innovative HIV implementation science project ideas ranging from increasing utilization of community liaisons to using digital platforms to provide culturally-appropriate care.

Next up was a panel discussion on HIV Prevention Trials Network Project 096: Building Equity Through Advocacy, a sixteen-site implementation science study designed to reduce HIV incidence among Black MSM in the U.S. South. Moderated by co-convener Dr. Donaldson Conserve (Associate Professor at George Washington University), the panel featured insights from co-convener Dr. Mandy Hill (Associate Professor at UTHealth Houston), Melissa Curry and Ian Haddock. The congress closed with small group presentations and a final facilitated discussion on research and accountability.

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HISTORI Workshop Series Recordings

WhatsApp and Text-Based Chatting in Qualitative Data Collection
Date: July 15, 2022
Presenters: DeAnne Turner, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, at the University of South Florida College of Nursing & Gloria Aidoo-Frimpong, PhD, MPH, MA, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Yale University Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA)

Introduction to Implementation Science and Methods
Date: July 28, 2022
Presenter: Dr. Donna Spiegelman, Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Biostatistics; Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health; Director, Center for Methods in Implementation and Prevention Science; Director, Interdisciplinary Research Methods Core, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS; Assistant Cancer Center Director, Global Oncology, Yale Cancer Center

Using Multiphase Optimization Strategy Design in Implementation Research
Date: August 1, 2022
Presenter: Dr. Raul U. Hernandez-Ramirez, Associate Research Scientist in Biostatistics (Center for Methods in Implementation and Prevention Science); Associate Director, Interdisciplinary Research Methods Core, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS; Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health

This event was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of:

Congress Convener Details:

  • Marlon M. Bailey, Washington University St. Louis
    Dr. Marlon M. Bailey is a Black queer theorist and critical/performance ethnographer who studies Black LGBTQ cultural formations, sexual health, and HIV/AIDS prevention. He has served as the Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor in Africana Studies at Carleton College; the Distinguished Weinberg Fellow in the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University, and a Visiting Professor at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Bailey is currently a Professor of African and African American Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St Louis.

    He was a member of the committee that co-authored the award-winning report, Understanding the Well-Being of LGBTQ+ Populations, published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). This report just won the 2021 Achievement Award from The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA).

    Marlon’s book, Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2013. In 2014, Butch Queens Up in Pumps was awarded the Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize by the GL/Q Caucus of the Modern Language Association and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Book Award in LGBT Studies. Dr. Bailey has published in the Architecture Review, American Quarterly, GLQ, Signs, Feminist Studies, Souls, Gender, Place, and Culture, The Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, QED, and several book collections.

  • Oni Blackstock, Health Justice
    Dr. Oni Blackstock is recognized as a thought leader and influencer in the areas of HIV and health equity. She is a primary care and HIV physician and the founder and Executive Director of Health Justice, a racial and health equity consulting firm, that helps healthcare and public health organizations to center anti-racism in the workplace and to reduce health inequities in the communities they service.

    She previously served as Assistant Commissioner at the New York City Health Department where she led the City’s response to the HIV epidemic. Prior to that, she was Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center where she led and conducted research to develop and test interventions to promote HIV prevention and treatment. She holds degrees from Harvard College, Harvard Medical School, and Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Blackstock is passionate about ensuring that all individuals and communities have the resources and support they need to thrive and achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

  • Donaldson Conserve, George Washington University
    Dr. Donaldson F. Conserve is an Associate Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. His research focuses on implementing and disseminating evidence-based HIV prevention, care, and treatment interventions for scale-up and population impact. As part of his K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institutes of Mental Health, he developed the Self-Testing Education and Promotion (STEP) Project and contributed to implementation science efforts to promote community-based HIV self-testing (HIVST) distribution in Tanzania. Building on his experience in Tanzania, he has expanded his research on HIVST to his native country of Haiti, and other Sub-Saharan African countries with collaborators from the HIV Self-Testing AfRica (STAR) Initiative, the world’s largest HIVST implementation science project to date. In the US, he is contributing to the upcoming HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 096 protocol, a community-randomized implementation science trial designed to test an integrated, HIV status-neutral, population-level health equity approach to reducing intersectional stigma and increasing rates of HIV testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake, and HIV viral suppression among Black men who have sex with men (MSM).

  • Redd Driver, Columbia University
    Dr. Redd Driver is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University.

    Broadly, his research interests focus on men's health equity at the intersections of gender, race, sexuality and behavioral health. His research aims to understand how contextual and psychosocial factors impact access and uptake of HIV prevention and treatment services among sexual minority men of color. He is particularly interested in novel ways to engage Black sexual minority men vulnerable to or living with HIV to increase uptake and adherence to bio-behavioral interventions to prevent and treat HIV.

  • Typhanye Dyer, University of Maryland, College Park
    Dr. Typhanye Vielka Dyer is an epidemiologist and health disparities scholar whose research examines the influence of social, psychological and behavioral factors on STI and HIV-risk in Black populations. She has over 15 years of experience conducting research exploring HIV infection and health-related outcomes among Black underserved populations, including sexual minorities and women.

    The majority of Dyer's work involves examining syndemics (intersecting psychosocial and structural barriers to care) among Black sexual and gender minority men and transwomen, including the impact of trauma, poor mental health and criminal justice involvement and STI/HIV for Black gay and bisexual men.

    Her educational training is in infectious disease and social epidemiology, as well as community health, particularly focused on community-engaged research. Her work examines compound stigma and engagement in the HIV care continuum for older Black women living with HIV in Prince George’s County.

    As the public health field moves toward biomedical interventions for prevention (PrEP and TaP), an understanding of the mechanisms that influence stigma and how those may impact engagement in the HIV care continuum is critical for developing and implementing interventions and effectively reducing HIV-related disparities, which Dyer seeks to do in the DC Metro area.

  • Mandy J. Hill, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston
    Dr. Hill serves as the Director of Population Health in Emergency Medicine and Associate Professor at UTHealth Houston, McGovern Medical School. Dr. Hill earned her DrPH in Disease Control, with minor concentrations in Health Promotion and Health Management and Policy, at the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health in 2007. She made history in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UTHealth Houston as the first and only full-time research faculty member. She is established as a dedicated and resilient public health practitioner whose core mission is to improve health by empowering the decision-making capacity of Black and African American people. Through this central theme, she became the brainchild of an intervention (Increasing PrEP, i.e. iPrEP) that motivates cisgender Black women to prevent an HIV diagnoses through pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake. Dr. Hill, a leader in this field for the past decade, is working to move the needle on this critical initiative within her community. By establishing relationships and sharing knowledge while developing and implementing programs, Mandy touches an often vulnerable cross-section of the population to restore their power and sense of self.

  • Christiopher Hucks-Ortiz, HIV Prevention Trials Network Black Caucus
    Christopher Hucks-Ortiz, MPH, is the Director of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STIs and Health Equity for HealthHIV. He serves as the Director for the ALIVE! Maryland program which addresses the professional development needs of the healthcare workforce for the State of Maryland. The ALIVE! MD program includes the curriculum development and capacity building assistance, informed by a rigorous needs assessment (qualitative and quantitative). This program is designed to strengthen the healthcare and public health workforce to address syndemics of HIV, viral hepatitis (HAV, HBV, HCV), sexually transmitted infections, harm reduction, and health equity in the provision of healthcare.

    Mr Hucks-Ortiz also leads efforts of HealthHIV in the area of Health Equity in healthcare (clinical trials, prevention, treatment, health services) through engagement in leadership with NIH-funded HIV clinical research (HPTN, HVTN, HANC/Legacy Project), and as project director for PhRMA Collective Actions to Reach Equity (CAREs) program, “Community Pharmacists and Medication Therapy Management; A Roadmap for Equitable Access to Medicines”. Having worked in the field for 20+ years, Mr. Hucks-Ortiz continues to focus his professional work in the development, implementation, and Management of clinical trials and health promotion targeting communities at highest risk for HIV acquisition. This work is aligned with the goals and objectives found in the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and other Federal/State policy guidelines. A lifelong resident of California, he received a B.S. in Community Health Science from California State University, Los Angeles, and an MPH from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health.

  • Craig Hutchinson, HIV Prevention Trials Network Black Caucus
    Craig Hutchinson is currently a Research Manager at Gilead Sciences, Inc. within the Strategy, Innovation, and Portfolio Group. In this role, Craig supports five clinical-stage drug products being developed to treat viral diseases and oncology. The first drug product is an immunomodulatory biologic originally designed to be a component of a curative regimen for Hepatitis B (HBV); it is currently in first-in-human studies for oncology indications. The other four products are small molecules for weekly oral drug for treatment and prevention of HIV.

    Previously, Mr. Hutchinson was a Research Manager for Stanford University School of Medicine Center for Biomedical Informatics Research. In 2012, Mr. Hutchinson joined Westside Mental Health Community Services as the Director of HIV Prevention Programs. In addition to his leadership role at Westside, he managed a NIMH-funded research project in collaboration with the Alameda County Public Health Department and the University of California, Los Angeles, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. The EBAN study focused on heterosexual African American HIV-serodiscordant couples in Oakland, CA and Los Angeles, CA that have a high prevalence of HIV and risk conditions among African Americans.

    As a volunteer, Mr. Hutchinson serves as the Vice-Chair of the National CFAR CAB Coalition (N3C). The N3C represents the Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR) Community Action/Advisory Boards (CABs) as a national group of key stakeholders in HIV research and provides a resource for community engagement and involvement in national CFAR initiatives. Formerly, Mr. Hutchinson served as the Chair of the Black Gay Research Group, an international think-tank of Black gay researchers who work together to address the paucity of research regarding the lives of Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.

    Mr. Hutchinson's international work includes consulting with the Barbados Ministry of Health for a formative assessment. This assessment occurred prior to the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Survey conducted by the CDC to better understand the MSM community in Barbados and provided operational information for a planned MSM behavioral study using respondent-driven sampling.

    Mr. Hutchinson received a BA with honors from the University of California, Berkeley. While pursuing an MPH at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, he was a research counselor with the New York Blood Center on the HPTN 061 (BROTHERS) study. This study determined the feasibility and acceptability of a multifaceted intervention among Black MSM. He is also a member of the HPTN Black Caucus where he currently serves as the Vice-Chair.

  • LaRon E. Nelson, Yale University
    LaRon E. Nelson is the Independence Foundation Associate Professor of Nursing and Public Health at Yale University. He is Co-Director of the Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars at the Yale School of Public Health and is the Director of the Justice, Community Capacity and Equity Core in the Yale Center for Interdisciplinary Research in AIDS.

    Prof. Nelson is an elected Fellow in the New York Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Nursing. He has been honored by professional nursing organizations, including the Excellence in HIV Prevention Award by the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and the President's Trailblazer Award by the National Black Nurses Association. In 2013 he received the Dr. Mark Colomb Award from National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities, Inc and in 2014 he received the Ball House & Pageant Service & Advocacy from Abounding Prosperity Inc. in Dallas, Texas.

    Prof. Nelson's research has been funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institute of Mental Health, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Canadian Institute for Health Research, Grand Challenges Canada, the HIV Prevention Trials Network and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. He is an on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of Urban Health and Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.

  • Onyema Ogbuagu, Yale University
    Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the HIV Clinical Trials program of the Yale AIDS Program, Section of Infectious Diseases of the Yale School of Medicine. His research program focuses of novel therapeutics for treatment and prevention of HIV and he has served as Yale's Principal investigator on multiple studies including for COVID vaccines (Pfizer amd Sanofi) and therapeutics (Remdesivir). His clinical responsibilities include educating and training medical students, residents and infectious diseases fellows in various capacities in inpatient and outpatient settings; and through structured course work and other teaching sessions. He has extensive experience with curriculum development, structuring of residency training programs, and mentoring residents as a faculty member in the Yale Internal Medicine Primary Care program. Dr. Ogbuagu also served as faculty for the Human Resources for Health program in Rwanda where he mentors medical residents and junior faculty in quality improvement and clinical research projects that are locally relevant and addressing important infectious diseases-related problems (particularly HIV/AIDS and antimicrobial resistance). Furthermore, he has facilitated meaningful educational and research collaborations between faculty and trainees across institutions. As the program director of World Bank and HRSA-funded efforts supporting the Liberia College of Physicians and surgeons (LCPS)–run Internal medicine residency training program, he has overseen the selection and deployment of faculty to Liberia, and is responsible for educational programs and activities aimed at strengthening the residency training program.

  • Ijeoma Opara, Yale University
    Dr. Ijeoma Opara is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences at the Yale School of Public Health. She is also the founder and director of the Substances & Sexual Health Lab (formerly known as The Substance Abuse and Sexual Health lab. Her research interests focus on HIV/AIDS, STI, and substance use prevention for urban youth, racial and gender specific prevention interventions for Black girls, and community-based participatory research with urban youth and their families. Dr. Opara has received many awards for her work in prevention research from the American Public Health Association, National Council on Family Relations, and AcademyHealth. She was also named Top 100 Women to end the HIV Epidemic by POZ Magazine. Most recently, Dr. Opara was named the 2020 recipient of the NIH Director's Early Independence Award, which funds her 5-year community-based study on youth substance use, mental health outcomes, and neighborhoods in Paterson, New Jersey. The Early Independence Award is given to junior scientists (through the High Risk-High Reward program) who have demonstrated exceptional ability to engage in independent research.

    Dr. Opara's teaching experiences include her former appointment as an Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare from 2019-2021, where she taught graduate-level child and family social work practice courses. She also worked as an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Social Work teaching a graduate level adolescent development course and at Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning & Social Policy where she taught an undergraduate social justice in public health course. At Yale, Dr. Opara developed and teaches the Community-Based Participatory Research in Public Health course offered through the US Health Justice Concentration at the Yale School of Public Health.

  • Darren L. Whitfield, University of Maryland Baltimore
    Dr. Darren L Whitfield is an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Dr. Whitfield’s research interests include health and mental health disparities among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities, biomedical HIV prevention among Black gay and bisexual men in the United States, and intersectionality. His research is grounded in an intersectional framework, where he specifically examines the impact of intersectional identity on psychosocial, sociocultural, and structural factors associated with health and mental health outcomes of LGBTQ communities of color and biomedical HIV prevention among Black gay and bisexual men. Dr. Whitfield currently holds research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, and Gilead Sciences Inc.

    Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland, Dr. Whitfield was an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry. He also served as the Direct Practice Chair for the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Dr. Whitfield has more than 10 years of practice experience working in the HIV/AIDS field working at the AIDS Project of Central Iowa, The Virginia Department of Health, and The Kansas City Free Health Clinic. He is a previous commissioner for the Pittsburgh City Commission on AIDS. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Persad Center Inc, an advisory board member for AIDS Free Pittsburgh, and the Maryland Department of Health Interprofessional Advisory Board.

  • Stephaun Wallace, HIV Vaccine Trials Network
    Dr. Stephaun Wallace is a research epidemiologist and an expert in developing, implementing and evaluating major public health and human service programs in the areas of prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. He is the Director of External Relations of both the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and the COVID-19 Prevention Network. Dr. Wallace leads the networks’ external relations efforts globally, with a focus on building and maintaining long-term relationships with key stakeholders, community education and mobilization, science translation, and communications. He is also a Staff Scientist in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at Fred Hutch, a Clinical Assistant Professor in Global Health at the University of Washington, and Director of the Office of Community Engagement in the UW/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research.

    An internationally recognized leader and speaker in public health and social justice, Dr. Wallace has more than two decades of experience in public health and human services (HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases), community mobilization, and social justice efforts, and more than a decade of experience conducting public health research globally. His research expertise includes community-based participatory research, epidemiology, health inequities, qualitative and quantitative research and methods, intersectionality, and social determinants of health. Dr. Wallace holds membership in, and serves on the board of, numerous regional, national, and international organizations.