Yale University

Yale AIDS Prevention Training Program (Y-APT) and Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars (REIDS) - Mentors

Frederick Altice, M.D.

Dr. Altice's primary research focuses on the interface between infectious diseases, mental illness and substance use disorders. His projects are both domestic (Connecticut, Massachusetts  Washington, D.C.) and international (Malaysia, Peru, Ukraine and Russia) involving behavioral, biomedical and combination interventions to promote HIV prevention and treatment, with an emphasis on the interface of infectious diseases (HIV, TB, HCV), substance abuse. There are also numerous projects that involve interventions that focus on multi-level structures with the criminal justice systems in the U.S., Malaysia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia (six countries) and Peru. HIV prevention interventions include behavioral, biomedical and combination biomedical/behavioral interventions, including technology-based (mHealth) interventions and medication-assisted therapies.

Wei-Ti Chen, Ph.D.

Wei-Ti Chen is an Associate Professor in the Nurse-Midwifery Specialty in the Master's program. Her undergraduate degree is from Syracuse University, where she majored in nursing. She received generic Master's degrees from University of Texas at Austin and post-Master certification in nurse-midwifery from Columbia University, School of Nursing. She received her PhD also from the Columbia University at City of New York. Then, she went on two-year post-doctoral training at UCSF, School of Nursing with Dr. William L. Holzemer. Before she came to Yale, School of Nursing, she was one of the research faculty at University of Washington, School of Nursing, Department of Family and Child Nursing.

Dr. Chen's research interests include HIV-related issues in people living with HIV/AIDS in China. Other research interests are immigrant health issues focusing on Asian immigrants.

Forrest W. Crawford, Ph.D.

Dr. Crawford's work is focused on developing methods for learning about hidden and hard-to-reach populations in public health research. His related interests include biomedical ethics, survey design, sociology, infectious disease epidemiology, vaccine trails, causal inference, and program evaluation for interventions. Dr. Crawford is based in the Department of Biostatistics at the Yale School of Public Health and holds appointments in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and in Operations at the Yale School of Management. He is affiliated with the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, the Yale Institute for Network Science, and the Yale Computational Biology and Bioinformatics program. For more information, please see http://www.crawfordlab.io/.

Cindy Crusto, Ph.D.

Dr. Crusto's research focusses on understanding the impact of family violence exposure on young children's well-being and on identifying the factors that serve to place young children at risk. Her projects include an evaluation of the feasibility and acceptability of a pilot intervention using text messaging as a means for social networking and support among adolescents living with HIV in South Africa, and to provide early evidence of the potential efficacy of the intervention. The goal of this intervention is to increase adherence to programs and medical treatment by providing adolescents with ongoing social support during the most critical period of rapid development.

J. Lucian (Luke) Davis, M.D.

Dr. Davis a pulmonary/critical care physician and epidemiologist with an interest in pulmonary infections, especially tuberculosis (TB). His clinical and translational research program seeks to improve evaluation and diagnosis of TB in low-income countries and other settings with constrained health resources. He has a particular interest in translating evidence-based clinical and public health interventions into routine practice, through the application of novel information and communications technologies and other knowledge-translation techniques from the emerging field of implementation science. These include the application of community engagement strategies, mixed methods, and theories of behavior change to identify barriers to the delivery of high-quality TB care and to design targeted interventions to address them. His current projects include (1) mHealth for Home Contact Investigation in Kampala, Uganda – This community-based household RCT, funded through the NIH Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (DIRH) program, is examining the effectiveness, context, and potential impact of short-messaging services (SMS)-supported, home-based TB and HIV contact investigation, as compared to standard TB contact investigation. We are also evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, and impact of other mobile technologies including biometrics, multi-media enabled counseling, and mobile performance feedback in the delivery of community-based of HIV and TB evaluation services. (2) Pediatric TB Guideline Implementation in Uganda – In collaboration with colleagues from Makerere University in Uganda, and with support from USAID and NIH, we are using mixed methods to collect data on common barriers to and enablers of adherence to consensus guidelines on pediatric TB evaluation and management in Uganda. We will then apply evidence-based theories of behavior change to categorize these barriers and enablers and design targeted interventions to improve quality of care.

John Dovidio, Ph.D.

Dr. Dovidio's teaching and research interests focus on how prejudice toward various stigmatized groups (based on race, ethnicity, disability, medical status) shape social and health-related interactions that critically affect the effectiveness of health-related interventions. His most recent research investigates how stigma influences the effectiveness of interventions for limiting the transmission of HIV and the how stigma affects the willingness of people to access services.

Robert Dubrow, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Dubrow's research focuses on two separate areas: glioma and HIV-related malignancies. His areas of interest include cancer risk in persons living with HIV/AIDS. Specifically, he is studying the association of patterns of immune suppression and HIV viral replication with the incidence of specific cancer types, using data from the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design, a collaboration of more than 20 HIV cohorts. He also studies cancer risk in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study, the largest clinical HIV cohort in North America.

Eva Jennifer Edelman, M.D., M.H.S.

Dr. Edelman is a general internist certified in HIV and Addiction Medicine. Her clinical and research focus relates to optimizing HIV prevention and treatment as it relates to substance use, especially opioid and alcohol use. Her work has focused on studies examining the impact of prescribed and illicit opioid use on health outcomes among people living with HIV, interventions to address substance use in HIV treatment settings, and implementation of evidence-based strategies to promote HIV prevention among individuals with substance use (e.g. HIV testing, partner notification, pre-exposure prophylaxis). She is PI on a NIDA-funded R01 to evaluate trajectories of non-medical use of prescription opioids in HIV and co-investigator on several NIDA and NIAAA-funded multi-site intervention studies.

David A. Fiellin, M.D.

Dr. Fiellin's scholarly work focusses on the interface between primary care, HIV and addiction. He conducts research on the transfer of substance abuse treatment strategies from specialized settings to office-based, primary care, Emergency Department and HIV specialty settings. He is the Director of the Community Research and Implementation Core and Associate Director of the Clinical and Health Services Research Core at CIRA. 

Lynn E. Fiellin, M.D.

As a practicing physician, Dr. Fiellin's research focusses on addiction medicine, drug abuse and HIV. Her current projects include: (1) An interactive video game for HIV prevention in at-risk adolescents, designed to provide at-risk young teens the opportunity to acquire and practice skills in order to avoid or reduce their risk behaviors; (2) Formative research for an HIV video game for young black women, developing a multiplayer videogame aimed at increasing risk-reduction behaviors such as condom use and partner HIV/STI testing; (3) Reducing heavy drinking to optimize HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, examining the use of Vivitrol vs. placebo in HIV-infected patients; (4) Development of a videogame prototype targeting cigarette smoking prevention among young adolescents, pilot testing a mobile phone-based videogame for smoking prevention in young teens.

Gregg Gonsalves, Ph.D.

Gregg Gonsalves is an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases as well as an Associate (Adjunct) Professor of Law and Research Scholar in Law at Yale Law School, co-director of the Yale Law School/Yale School of Public Health Global Health Justice Partnership and the Yale Law School/Yale School of Public Health/Yale Medical School Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency. His research focuses on the use of quantitative models for improving the response to epidemic diseases. For more than 20 years, he worked on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues with several organizations, including the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, the Treatment Action Group, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa. He was also a fellow at the Open Society Foundations and in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2011-2012. He is a 2011 graduate of Yale College and received his PhD from Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences/School of Public Health in 2017.

Barbara Guthrie, R.N, Ph.D., F.A.A.N.
Dr. Guthrie is the Director of the PhD program at Northeastern University School of Nursing.  For over 7 years, she was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Yale University School of Nursing (YSN) and the Independence Foundation Professor for Nursing. Dr. Guthrie received her B.A. in Nursing from Boston University, her M.S. in Nursing in Family Health from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and her Ph.D. from the New York University School of Nursing.

Dr. Guthrie’s long history of collaborative research efforts with ethnically diverse adolescent females within and outside of the juvenile justice system has led to her receiving funding from The National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the National Institute for Nursing Research. She has been the CoPI for a T32 grant, titled “NIH Women’s Health Disparities: Interdisciplinary Training.” She has completed a three-year summer program funded by the Josiah Macy foundation for the Josiah Macy Yale-Howard undergraduate interdisciplinary research-intensive summer program. These students participated in academic enrichment seminars, shadowed primary care nurse practitioners, psychologists, and MDs, and actively engaged in health equity related research with Yale investigators. During the tenure as the PI of this grant, 25 undergraduates from Howard University successfully completed this program, and 21 of those students continued their education and achieved MSN, MPH, and or MD. Dr. Guthrie was a Pi on a NIMH funded grant to implement an R25 interdisciplinary  educational research summer institute on HIV/AIDS for underrepresented postdoctoral and junior faculty. This grant provided her the ability to become the primary mentor for over 15 mentees and secondary mentor for 9 mentees from underrepresented populations. The REIDS program has been refunded for another five years. In addition, she  is currently the PI for a National Institute of Nursing funded  P20 grant, which focuses on increasing the number of nurse scientists who area of research is a community based participatory approach to understanding self-management among urban populations of elders. Dr. Guthrie has served as a member of the NINR council and just completed her 5 year term as a member of the NIH Council of Council. The interweaving theme across Dr. Guthrie’s research, teaching, and scholarship is her efforts to increase diversity and to promote health equity within underserved and disparate populations. 

Robert Heimer, Ph.D.

Dr. Heimer's major research efforts include scientific investigation of the mortality and morbidity associated with injection drug use. His current work focuses on the contexts and consequences of drug abuse in the U.S. and overseas in Russia, Estonia, Lebanon, and Vietnam. The research focuses on attempts to provide health providers and prevention practitioners with information needed to assist their educational and advocacy efforts. Dr. Heimer's current projects include (1) laboratory-based assessment of the epidemiological risks for transmission of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) through unsafe drug injection and evaluate methods to reduce transmission; (2) the influences on HIV prevalence and service access among IDUs in Russia and Estonia, and; (3) drug policy, incarceration, community re-entry, and race disparities in HIV/AIDS in the U.S., with particular focus on the interconnections among drug policies, (4) HIV risk, incidence, and prevention in Lebanon among at-risk populations including people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men, (5) access to medical treatment for HIV and hepatitis C infections in small southern New England cities, (6) assessment of and responses to the large increases in opioid related overdose mortality in Connecticut, especially in non-urban locales.

Amy C. Justice, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D.

Dr. Justice's research is directed at the interplay of HIV/AIDS, alcohol/substance abuse, and aging. Her research program addresses the newfound challenge of treating an aging population infected with HIV/AIDS. More specifically, her research has focused on: a) the benefits of advanced HAART treatments and how this has expanded life expectancy of HIV and AIDS patients; b) how alcohol and substance abuse affect treatment adherence and life expectancy; and c) how both traditional and non-traditional co-morbidities associated with aging are now complicating treatment for those infected with HIV and AIDS. She is the overall PI of the Consortium to improve OutcoMes in hiv/Aids, Alcohol, Aging, & multi-Substance use (COMpAAAS) and VACS. This study includes over 7,000 HIV/AIDS infected and uninfected veterans with varying levels of illness and Virtual VA Cohort of approximately 120,000 veterans, which provides trainees a rich array of research opportunities for secondary data analysis.

Danya Keene, Ph.D.

Dr. Keene's mixed-methods research explores how social policies contribute to health inequality, with a particular focus on issues related to housing, neighborhoods and place. Ongoing projects include a pilot study to describe the HIV risk environment surrounding MSM living in three high-risk small urban environments in Connecticut. Determining the unique features of small urban areas that contribute to MSM's increasing HIV risk represents a critical next step in the local production of effective prevention interventions for this increasingly vulnerable segment of the population.

Trace Kershaw, Ph.D.

Dr. Kershaw’s research examines how social (e.g., social networks, intimate partners) and structural (place, norms) factors ) influence sexual risk (HIV, STI, pregnancy), substance use, and mental health of adolescents and emerging adults. (1) a longitudinal dyadic study that examines relationship changes among young couples transitioning to parenthood and how relationship changes influenced their HIV/STI risk, maternal-child health, and mental health; (2) a multi-level intervention (individual and community components) to reduce sexual risk and community stigma and to increase utilization of care for HIV-positive MSM in India; (3) a longitudinal social network study that assesses how young men interact within social networks and how those interactions influence their HIV and drug use risk behaviors by examining data from their cell phones (e.g., phone calls, text messages, GPS coordinates), and social network sites (e.g., Twitter, Instagram, Facebook); and (4) a new R01 exploring how social and geographic context influence sexual risk and substance use of MSM by tracking GPS coordinates and use of dating apps (e.g., Grindr) and asking questions related to those risk environments when they go to risky locations. For more, see http://publichealth.yale.edu/people/trace_kershaw-4.profile.

Kaveh Khoshnood, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Kaveh Khoshnood, PhD is an Associate Professor at Yale School of Public Health with over two decades of experience conducting epidemiological research on HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis among key at risk populations in the United States and in resource-poor countries. Dr. Khoshnood's research interests are threefold: 1) epidemiology, prevention and control of HIV/AIDS; 2) ethical issues in HIV/AIDS, conflict-focused and student-led research; 3) humanitarian response to violent conflicts and the health of refugees and displaced populations.  Dr. Khoshnood has ongoing research projects focused on these topics in Lebanon and China.

Ann Kurth, PhD, CNM, MPH, FAAN
Dr. Kurth focuses on HIV/sexual and reproductive health prevention, screening and care, as well as on global health system strengthening, using information and communication technologies among other approaches for health intervention implementation and workforce training. Current projects include:
1) Testing and Linkage to Care for Injecting Drug Users, Kenya: A cluster-randomized stepped wedge trial of Kenya’s planned needle exchange program, with HIV and rapid CD4 testing and peer case managers. The study will estimate community viral load impact and cost-effectiveness using mathematical modeling.
2) High-Yield HIV Testing, Facilitated Linkage to Care, and Prevention for Female Youth in Kenya: We propose an implementation science framework to address the HIV prevention and treatment continuum that will inform best practices in identifying high-need young women, providing testing options, and primary HIV prevention as well as linkage to HIV care in Kenya. We propose to identify female youth ages 15-24 years at risk for HIV in Nyanza, Kenya who have not had a HIV test within the past six months, utilizing community-based and home-based ‘seek' strategies and compare HIV test uptake and prevalence (yield). Next, we will pilot and evaluate an adaptive intervention ('SMART' trial) to link HIV-positive female youth to HIV treatment. We will randomize participants to receive text-messages/SMS or standard referral. We will also use the SMS platform to deliver targeted messages around recommended 6-month HIV re-testing, and risk reduction behaviors, to high-risk HIV negatives to support high-impact prevention. We will conduct an economic evaluation, using both cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses, to determine the relative utility of each of the Aims 1-2 seek, test, link, and prevention interventions.

JiangHong Li, M.D., M.Sc.

Dr. Li's primary research interests include social, cultural and network influence of health risk behavior, Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) and community based multi-level or peer interventions. Current projects include IDU peer recruitment dynamics and network structure in Respondent Driven Sampling, a mixed method intensive social network study in Hartford, CT that will recruit 500 injection drug users IDUs. Comprehensive social network surveys before and after actual peer recruitment, comprehensive geospatial information, as well as 60 in-depth interviews have been collected regarding IDUs' peer recruitment intentions, actual experiences, and real world contextual factors associated with coupon distribution and return success.

Jaimie Paul Meyer, MD, MS, FACP
I am an Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases at Yale School of Medicine. I completed my clinical training and maintain board certification in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, along with DEA certification to prescribe buprenorphine and probuphine. My clinical work has included an HIV/Hepatitis C continuity clinic at York Correctional Institute for Women, the only criminal justice facility for women in the state of Connecticut, and a community-based women’s health-focused HIV clinic, which inform my investigative work. My research career to date has focused on issues related to HIV prevention and treatment among women with and at-risk of HIV in criminal justice settings, especially as it is intertwined with and complicated by substance use disorders and intimate partner violence. I have published original research on these topics in a broad array of peer-reviewed journals, collaborating with interdisciplinary teams of scientists. As a junior investigator, I was awarded a Bristol Myers-Squibb Virology Fellow Award and a Patterson Trust Award in Clinical Research for my retrospective work on HIV treatment outcomes among incarcerated and re-incarcerated men and women in Connecticut. I am a current recipient of a NIDA Patient-Oriented Career Development K23 Award for my research on gender differences in HIV treatment outcomes among people leaving jail and adaptation of an HIV risk reduction intervention for women on probation. I am also the recent recipient of a Gilead Investigator Sponsored Research Award to evaluate feasibility of PrEP dissemination among justice-involved women and their risk networks.

LaRon Nelson, PhD, RN, FNP, FNAP, FAAN
LaRon E. Nelson, PhD, RN, FNP, FNAP, FAAN is the inaugural Associate Dean for Global Health & Equity at Yale School of Nursing (YSN) and also joins YSN as an Independence Foundation Associate Professor of Nursing. He is a leading expert in implementation science and HIV prevention within African and African diaspora communities, including communities in the United States, Canada, and Ghana. His current research investigates the implementation and effectiveness of the Client Centered Care Coordination (C4) intervention for supporting the scale-up of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as a strategy to reduce the number of new HIV infections among black men who have sex with men in New York and Toronto, Canada.

Linda Niccolai, Ph.D.

Dr. Niccolai's current research focuses on vaccines for human papillomavirus (HPV). Specifically, her research is focused on uptake of vaccines among adolescents, and vaccine impact on reducing HPV-associated diseases among young women. All of this work includes a strong component focused on understanding and addressing related health disparities. She is trained in behavioral epidemiology, and her work incorporates multiple methodological approaches including qualitative methods, advanced statistical modeling, geospatial analyses, and public health surveillance. Her current and future interests are in intervention development. Current projects include: (1) statewide surveillance for high-grade precancerous cervical lesions caused by HPV, (2) environmental scan of opportunities and challenges to increase HPV vaccine uptake in CT, (3) a mixed-methods study to identify and quantify barriers to HPV vaccine uptake among low-income families, and (4) a feasibility project of an HPV vaccination intervention in school-based health centers.

John Pachankis, Ph.D.

Dr. Pachankis' studies seek to identify the psychological processes and social contextual factors explaining LGBT individuals’ disproportionate experiences with various adverse mental and physical health outcomes. Ongoing projects include the development of an intervention to facilitate stigma coping among gay and bisexual men to improve mental health and reduce HIV risk; analyzing data on minority stress, mental health, and sexual compulsivity for intervention development; collecting and analyzing 6-year longitudinal data on young gay and bisexual men's mental health; examining social ecological influences (e.g., stigma, place, social networks) on gay and bisexual men's health.

A. David Paltiel, Ph.D.

Dr. Paltiel is an expert in the field of operations research and disease simulation modeling. He conducts cost-effectiveness analyses on a variety of medical technologies and public health activities. His current research focuses on model-based evaluation of HIV/AIDS testing, prevention, treatment, and care in vulnerable and underserved populations in the United States and abroad.

Dr. Rafael Perez-Escamilla

Dr. Perez-Escamilla's HIV research focusses on maternal HIV and child development, and health disparities. Projects include a unique NIH-funded longitudinal study examining the impact of maternal HIV on household food insecurity, child growth and development outcomes in Ghana, and persistent household food insecurity, HIV, and maternal stress in peri-urban Ghana.

Dr. Carmen Portillo

Clinically trained as a community/public health nurse, Dr. Portillo has focused her professional academic work on developing community partnerships to create a bilateral engagement that helps support the clinical/research training of advanced practice nurses and to provide nursing care services to underserved populations/communities. Capacity development in HIV care training and research of advanced practice nurses and nurse researchers is one example of her expertise. Funding for training has been funded by National Institutes of Health (NINR), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resource Services Administration, and U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). She has consulted with WHO, Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Medicine), NIH, and schools of nursing domestically and internationally.

Yusuf Ransome, MPH., DrPH.

Dr. Ransome research focuses on two broad areas. The first is social determinants of sexual health, and HIV-related outcomes, specifically late HIV diagnosis. That interdisciplinary research draws upon constructs from sociology, political science, and utilizes methodological tools from health economics and epidemiology to model clinical HIV-related outcomes. For example, in a recently published study in AIDS, Dr. Ransome documented that expanded HIV testing coverage was significantly associated with lower rates of late HIV diagnosis. In one of the first US-based studies on the topic, Dr. Ransome's work showed that several social capital indicators were significantly associated with lower late HIV diagnosis rates.

Tami P. Sullivan, Ph.D.

Dr. Sullivan's program of research centers on individual- and system-level factors that affect the mental and physical health of women victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). At the individual level, she conducts risk and protective factor research and is particularly interested in applying micro-longitudinal designs such as experience sampling methods and conducting research that informs the development of interventions to be implemented in community settings. Specifically, Dr. Sullivan focuses on advancing knowledge of IPV, posttraumatic stress, substance use, and HIV/sexual risk – as well as other co-occurring problems. At the system-level, she focuses on understanding the capacity of systems (e.g., criminal justice system) to meet the unique needs of IPV-exposed women.

Sten H. Vermund, MD, PhD

Dr. Sten Vermund is a pediatrician and infectious disease epidemiologist focused on diseases of low and middle income countries. His work on HIV-HPV interactions among women in methadone programs motivated a change in the 1993 CDC AIDS case surveillance definition and inspired cervical cancer screening programs launched within HIV/AIDS programs around the world. The thrust of his research has focused on health care access, adolescent medicine, prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission and reproductive health.

David Vlahov, Ph.D., R.N.

Dr. Vlahov is Associate Dean for Research and Professor at the Yale School of Nursing with a joint appointment in Epidemiology and Public Health. He is also the Co-Director of the National Program Office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health: Evidence for Action Program. Dr. Vlahov's research and practice have been focused on advancing health in urban settings which has been funded by NIDA, NIMHD, CDC, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Gates Foundation. He was the founding President of the International Society for Urban Health. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Medical School in Belo Horizonte, Brazil to develop their programs in urban health, and served as expert consultant to the WHO's Urban Health Center in Kobe, Japan; the Istituto Superiore d' Sanita in Rome and the Municipal Health Service in Amsterdam. Dr. Vlahov is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Urban Health, has edited three books on urban health and published over 650 scholarly papers.

Margaret R. Weeks, Ph.D.

As an applied social science researcher, over the past 15 years Dr. Weeks has conducted studies on prevention of HIV/AIDS among drug users and their sex partners, and evaluated AIDS prevention programs in collaboration with other community research and service organizations. She is principal Investigator on projects including: (1) Translation of the Risk Avoidance Partnership (RAP) for drug treatment clinic implementation; (2) High-risk establishments and women’s HIV prevention in Southern China; and (3) Enhancing HIV prevention through multi-level community intervention to promote women-initiated prevention options.

Jeffrey Wickersham, Ph.D.

Dr. Wickersham is the Principal Investigator on a 5-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Grant# K01DA038529) examining combination biomedical and behavioral approaches to HIV prevention transgender women in Malaysia. Specifically, his work is focused on the development and evaluation of biomedical and behavioral interventions to address HIV prevention and substance abuse treatment among sex workers. His work targets both cisgender female and transgender women in the sex work industry in Southeast Asia. Broadly, his work seeks to understand the effect of gender differences in substance use etiology, drug and sex risk taking behavior, and to develop interventions sensitive to gender-specific needs to improve HIV and substance dependence outcomes.