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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

CUNY Faculty Receives NIDA Funding to Study Club Drug Use and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis in Vulnerable Men

City University of New York School of Public Health (CUNY SPH) researcher Dr. Christian Grov, was recently awarded a two-year R21 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are 44 times more likely to contract HIV than other men and they are among the only populations in which infections are on the rise. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in the form of once-daily Truvada (Emtricitabine/Tenofovir) is among the most promising biomedical prevention tool for MSM in the US. Dr. Grov will test whether HIV-negative MSM who use club drugs (ketamine, MDMA/ecstasy, GHB, cocaine, methamphetamine) benefit from the added protection of PrEP. His team’s previous research found strong associations between club drug use and condomless anal sex among MSM. Further, club drugs negatively impact HIV medication adherence for HIV-positive MSM. Currently, there are no published equivalent studies on the role of club drugs in PrEP adherence among MSM who are taking PrEP.

Dr. Grov’s study will follow two cohorts of MSM on PrEP: 50 men who use club drugs and  50 men who do not. Participants will be identified via partnerships with medical providers, community-based services,  and venue-based recruitment and Internet social networking. Measures will include psychosocial and demographic variables, biological samples, and objective and qualitative assessments. The results of this study will be used to inform subsequent intervention strategies to reduce club drug use among MSM who take PrEP, as well as improve PrEP adherence.


CUNY Faculty Receives NIMHD Funding to Study the Social Ecology of Sleep Environment among Non-Hispanic Black Infants

City University of New York School of Public Health (CUNY SPH) researcher Dr. Tracy Chu, was recently awarded a two-year R15 grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The purpose of this study is to use photo-elicitation interviewing in low-income urban communities to explore the lived experience of parenting and contextualize infant care practices among three non-Hispanic Black subgroups: African Americans, Afro-Caribbean immigrants, and African immigrants, and to quantitatively identify socio-cultural and environmental influences on sleep-related infant care practices in these communities to contribute to a social ecological model of infant sleep environments.

In the United States there are disparities in infant mortality, with low-income non-Hispanic Black infants evidencing some of the highest rates of mortality. Sleep-related infant injuries are one of the leading causes of infant mortality and are thought to be preventable by altering the infant sleep environment. Despite the wide variation in infant mortality rate among racial and ethnic groups encompassed by the non-Hispanic Black category, there is little research on whether influences on sleep-related infant care practices, as well as the prevalence of the practices themselves, differ by nativity and region of origin. This study conceptualizes the infant sleep environment as a complex intersection of multiple domains and employs a social ecological model of infant sleep in which multiple levels of factors, from individual-level beliefs and cultural attitudes, to structural factors related to living conditions, may influence the sleep environment. This study is foundational in that it will establish a base of knowledge upon which culturally appropriate intervention research can be built.