Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health are involved in a number of innovative research projects and initiatives focused on reducing the incidence of new HIV infections worldwide.
Student Learning Opportunities
- Assistant Professor, Dr. Elizabeth Aparicio’s undergraduate health elective course “Community Health Engagement” enables undergraduate students throughout the university to explore and apply basic community health concepts through service learning. For the Fall 2018 semester, students in the class are engaging in a “scholarship in practice” project established through a partnership with One Tent Health, a D.C.based non-profit offering free pop-up HIV screening and PrEP navigation services.As part of the class, students receive training in rapid HIV testing, volunteer on-site with One Tent Health, and pilot several evaluation tools to help support One Tent Health’s work. Students have worked steadily throughout the semester to develop a tool to assess the client experience of One Tent Health’s services, the volunteer experience of conducting pop-up HIV testing in Washington D.C. and the student leadership experience of supervising volunteers across several local universities (UMD, Howard University, Georgetown University, George Washington University and American University). At the end of the semester, students will present on their experience conducting the projects and report on pilot evaluation findings.
Faculty HIV/AIDS Research
- Mona Mittal, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Science was recently awarded more than $100,000 in funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for a project that addresses the impact of the combined interaction between substance use, violence and HIV/AIDS (known as the SAVA syndemic) on health disparities. The project aims to adapt and pilot test a SAVA informed intervention for currently HIV-negative but high-risk heterosexual African American couples in the United States.
- Since 2014, Dr. Thurka Sangaramoorthy, associate professor of anthropology and affiliate professor in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health; Dr. Typhanye Dyer, assistant professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Dr. Amelia Jamison, faculty research assistant at the Maryland Center for Health Equity have examined the perceptions and experiences of HIV-related stigma in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Their findings suggest that intersectional stigma is a central feature in midlife and older Black women’s lives, at the interpersonal/familial, community and institutional/structural levels. The findings indicate that a more robust understanding of the impact of HIV-related stigma requires work to consider the complex manifestations of intersectional stigma among an increasingly aging population of Black women in the United States.
- A study published in August 2018, led by assistant professor Dr. Typhanye V. Dyer, explores the differences in psychosocial and HIV-related risk behaviors of bisexual men and gay men and underscores the need for tailored intervention strategies for bisexual men. Published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, the study found that Black bisexual men had increased odds of engaging in more substance use and were also more psychosocially vulnerable with elevated risk of engaging in HIV-related sexual risk behaviors when engaging in sex with men.
- In 2018, Dr. Thurka Sangaramoorthy began a small oral history project to gain a better understanding of the impacts of living and aging with HIV among older Black women using life history interviews and photography. The purpose of this project is to present holistic, complex and collective stories of women who have long been ignored in the history of HIV and often cast aside as drug addicts and prostitutes. The long-term objective of this research is to understand the lives and struggles of Black women aging with HIV and how they have contributed to the transformation of American history and cultural ideas about sexuality, health, civil rights, arts and media.
HIV/AIDS Research from the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center
The University of Maryland Prevention Research Center (UMD-PRC), under the direction of Professor Bradley Boekeloo, is involved in multiple HIV/AIDS prevention research projects including:
- IMPACT DMV
Principal Investigator: Bradley Boekeloo
Established in partnership with the District of Columbia Department of Health, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration, this project provides multi-level cultural competency training to address barriers to mental healthcare and referral to HIV medical services in persons who are both a race/ethnicity minority as well as a sexual and gender minority (including gay, bisexual, transgender persons).
- Sexual Health in Recovery
Principal Investigator: Bradley Boekeloo
Co-Investigator: Evelyn King-Marshall
Persons who repeatedly have sex under the influence of drugs (including alcohol) constitute a high risk group for HIV as well as drug addiction. The Maryland Department of Health has partnered with the UMD-PRC to evaluate its multi-session intervention program to reduce sex and drug co-occurrence among substance use rehabilitation clients.
- Fostering Healthy Relationships
Co-Principal Investigators: Elizabeth Aparicio and Bradley Boekeloo
During this community-based participatory research project, the UMD-PRC is partnering with foster care organizations, youth and staff as well as community and university experts to conduct a needs assessment and create an innovative multi-level sexual health intervention for youth in foster care. This study is funded by the UMD Department of Behavioral and Community Health.
- UMES Prevention Works
UMD Principal Investigator: Bradley Boekeloo
Created in partnership with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), this project seeks to understand and reduce alcohol and substance use problems, sexually transmitted infections including HIV and Hepatitis C Virus (STI/HIV/HCV) among UMES students. This study is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Pakistan Transgender and MSM Health Project
Principal Investigator: Bradley Boekeloo with student Muhammad Mussadiq
The aim of this project is to conduct a needs assessment and gain a better understanding of healthcare for sexual and gender minorities in Pakistan. The major goal of this project is to identify barrier, gaps and opportunities from key stakeholders to improve the healthcare services for transgender and MSM (men who have sex with men) populations in Pakistan.
Read more on the University of Maryland School of Public Health website.