The Traineeships in AIDS Prevention Studies (TAPS) program prepares scientists for academic and public health careers by offering two- and three-year postdoctoral fellowships in studies relating to the prevention of AIDS. The ARI provides fiscal support to the fellowship program in keeping with its mission to nurture the next generation of leaders. Offered through the UCSF Department of Medicine, TAPS is located at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS). CAPS, with its unique combination of institutional resources and access to groundbreaking, state-of-the-art HIV research and researchers, provides an excellent environment for postdoctoral training.
Current TAPS Postdoctoral Fellows
Dan Kelly, MD
Dan Kelly graduated from Princeton University with an AB degree in chemistry. During his medical training at Albert Einstein in the Bronx, he started a health and human rights non-profit that provides high-quality health care to the rural poor of Sierra Leone (wellbodyalliance.org). Since, he has worked in that country running HIV research cohorts, building public health programs and caring for HIV patients. While an internal medicine resident at Baylor College of Medicine, he started conducting sociobehavioral research. After, he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to run a prospective cohort of newly diagnosed persons with HIV through the cascade of care in Sierra Leone. During his TAPS training, Dan worked with Dr. Sheri Weiser to investigate how a microfinance and agricultural intervention affects HIV stigma, women’s empowerment and health outcomes of HIV-positive and at-risk individuals in Kenya. Dr. Kelly took a leave of absence from TAPS to provide leadership and expertise to his Sierra Leone clinic and coordinate with the Ministry of Health in response to the 2014 ebola outbreak.
Lillian Brown, MD, PhD
Lillian Brown completed her MD and PhD in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She completed residency training in internal medicine and is currently completing a fellowship in infectious disease at UCSF. During her graduate work she spent time in Malawi evaluating antenatal surveillance systems for HIV, examining response to ART and the prevalence of resistance mutations at the time of failure, and helping implement a study to identify acute HIV infections in Malawi's HIV counseling and testing centers. She received a predoctoral fellowship funded by the NIMH to study partner notification among patients with newly diagnosed HIV infection in reproductive health clinics in Malawi. This motivated her to continue research to improve diagnosis rates among high-risk populations and linkages to care. As a TAPS fellow she hopes to expand on her interest in partners and examine the impact of social networks on each step of the HIV care cascade (HIV testing, disclosure, linkage to care, retention in care, re-engagement in care).
Orlando O. Harris, PhD, RN, FNP
Orlando Harris earned his Master's in nursing and his doctorate in health practice research from the University of Rochester. He received Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing and in human development, and a Bachelor of Arts in African studies from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He was a US Fulbright fellow to Jamaica, where he conducted in-depth qualitative research with high-risk sexual minorities. His primary interest is to address the intersections of race, culture, class and gender and their impact on the sexual health practices of young men of color, with emphasis on the health and well-being of young Afro-Caribbean men in the US and throughout the diaspora. During his TAPS fellowship, Orlando plans to collaborate with CAPS faculty on research with marginalized populations, primarily in the Caribbean. His ultimate goal is to examine the migratory patterns of Caribbean MSM and how they navigate the clinical, social and cultural environments to reduce HIV risk post-migration. He is pursuing a Master’s in Public Health degree at UC Berkeley.
Kimberly Hartson, PhD
Kimberly Hartson completed her doctorate in social psychology at UC Santa Barbara with a focus on health psychology. Her interest in HIV began with an internship to develop and implement an HIV/AIDS educational curriculum focused on reducing HIV stigma in Lesotho. In grad school, her research focused on how individuals respond to threats and using psychological interventions to reduce stress and improve responses to potential threats. She received a Fulbright fellowship to return to Lesotho, where she conducted studies of ways to reduce HIV stigma among rural high school students, the correlates and consequences of stress associated with local political instability, and how to reduce stress and improve well-being among HIV-positive individuals. Her interests include psychological interventions to reduce stress among HIV-positive individuals and the physiological implications of this. Further, Kimberly is interested in how HIV stigma interacts with other stigma and high–HIV risk identities to influence HIV testing, adherence, disclosure and overall health and well-being.
Michael Reid, MBChB
Michael Reid graduated with a Master's in political sciences from Cambridge University and earned his medical degree from Imperial College, London. He completed postgraduate training in internal medicine in the UK before relocating to the US and completing social and internal medicine residency in New York. He is most interested in research focusing on strategies to leverage HIV programming in resource-limited settings to enhance prevention and treatment for non-communicable diseases (NCD). He was lead physician in the University of Pennsylvania’s global health program in Gaborone, Botswana, where he also pursued research evaluating strategies to strengthen NCD/HIV integration and HIV service delivery. During TAPS training, Mike intends to work with Dr. Phyllis Tien exploring metabolic determinants of immune reconstitution in US veterans initiating ART. Ultimately he hopes to pursue an academic career and build research capacity back in Africa. He is pursuing a Master's in Public Health degree at UC Berkeley.
Akua O. Gyamerah, DrPH, MPH
Akua Gyamerah completed her Master's and Doctor of Public Health degrees in sociomedical sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. She has worked on research in sexual health and HIV/AIDS among general and LGBTQI populations. Akua’s research examines social determinants of health and structural interventions and advocacy efforts to address them. Her dissertation was based on a study examining Ghana's emerging role as a model country in sub-Saharan Africa for HIV prevention efforts focused on men who have sex men (MSM). Specifically, she examined the development, implementation, and reception of HIV prevention policies and programs for MSM and sociocultural factors shaping these efforts given that sex between men is criminalized and stigmatized in Ghana. As a TAPS Fellow, she plans to build on this research by examining the HIV risk and treatment needs of Ghanaian men who have sex with men, especially the most hard-to-reach members of this population. Akua's research has been supported in part by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and the NIH’s Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship.
Pamela Murnane, PhD, MPH
Pamela Murnane completed her MPH at Columbia University and her PhD in epidemiology at the University of Washington. For her doctoral dissertation, she studied factors that influence efficacy of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention. Working with data from the Partners PrEP Study of over 4000 HIV serodiscordant couples in Kenya and Uganda, she applied novel statistical methods to estimate causal effects in randomized trials with imperfect adherence. Also while at UW, she contributed to combination prevention studies aiming to improve linkage to HIV care and treatment for HIV-infected individuals while tailoring prevention messaging to HIV-uninfected individuals. Since completing her PhD, Pamela has spent nearly 2 years living in Johannesburg, South Africa, supporting a clinical trial of early infant HIV diagnosis and treatment. As a TAPS fellow, she plans to assess the role of HIV infection, antiretroviral treatment regimen and timing of treatment initiation on preterm birth and other pregnancy outcomes and to develop skills in implementation science.
Paul Wesson, PhD
Paul Wesson completed his PhD in epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation research focused on sampling and estimating the size of hidden, hard-to-reach populations. To this end, he applied standard statistical methods and novel Bayesian models to estimate the size of the African-American men who have sex with men population in San Francisco and to evaluate the completeness of the HIV surveillance system in Alameda County. During his time as a graduate student, Dr. Wesson also provided population size estimation consultation to the CDC in Namibia and Central America. As a TAPS fellow, Dr. Wesson is interested in continuing his research on the health of hidden and marginalized populations as well as exploring the social determinants of health disparities in the context of infectious diseases. Additionally, he is interested in the application of Bayesian models and causal inference methods to observational study designs.