Funding Opportunity: UCSF Population Health and Health Equity Scholars

UCSF Population Health and Health Equity Scholars

These pilot awards go to support innovative research or programming already underway and led by the scholars. Distributed via various centers and departments, this funding opportunity was established for assistant professors conducting scholarship with potential population health impact, and offers opportunities for them be participate in innovative training and other events to showcase their work.

Each scholar will receive $20,000 in research support. The award is designed to:

  • Supplement resources for existing initiatives and/or
  • Support efforts to collect preliminary data that could lead to future funding proposals

ARI provides funding for two awards each year in the field of HIV research. The current Request for Applications for the 2024 cohort of PHHE scholars is currently live. Please click on this link to view the application. Applications are due by 11:59 pm PST on December 4, 2023, and all applicants and selected Scholars will be notified of the results by mid-December.

Proposal Content:

Proposals must address and will be evaluated on:

  1. How the proposed work relates to and advances population health and/or health equity
  2. How the proposed work impacts communities or populations, both in the short- and long-term
  3. How the award relates to existing sources of funding for the work described
  4. How the funding will impact existing research or program work, including a description of the unique or additional contributions made possible from the award
  5. How the funding advances the research portfolio and career trajectory of the awardee
  6. How the funds will be used (1-3 sentences, no formal budget required)

Proposal Format and Requirements:

  1. Narrative that does not exceed 3 pages (PDF format, 11-point font and minimum margins of .5”)
  2. Abstract of no more than 150 words
  3. Applicant’s CV
  4. A brief statement from the applicant's mentor attesting to his or her support of the project and engagement in mentoring the applicant

Submission instructions:

  • Proposals are due by December 4th, 2023. Late submissions will not be accepted.
  • Proposals must be submitted HERE. Please combine all documents into one PDF file.
  • Scholars will be announced in late December and funds will be awarded in January 2024.

If you have questions, please send an email to [email protected]

To learn more about the program and see all past scholars (ARI-funded scholars are listed below), please click here:

2024 Awardees

Sarah Gutin, PhD, MPH: Examining the impacts of HIV stigma on couples’ uptake of sexual and reproductive health services and implications for intervention adaptation in Kisumu, Kenya

Abstract: The desire for children is strong among HIV-affected couples. While safer conception (SC) strategies to reduce HIV transmission to partners during conception are available, SC services are underused in many high HIV prevalence countries. Data suggests that this may be due to HIV-related stigma, yet it is unclear whether stigma affects the couple as a unit. Understanding how stigma operates, if it impacts whether couples seek SC services, and how to address it in couple interventions is unknown. To understand what influences SC service uptake in western Kenya, we propose to qualitatively and quantitatively examine HIV stigma and whether sero-different couples seek SC services. Results will be used to develop content for an adapted couples’ intervention that seeks to improve relationship dynamics and build social support and resilience to HIV stigma among HIV-affected couples. Ensuring the reproductive rights of HIV-affected couples is an issue of health equity and reproductive justice.

About Dr. Gutin: Sarah A. Gutin, PhD, MPH, is a social behavioral scientist who is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Community Health Systems at the UCSF School of Nursing and holds a joint appointment in the Division of Prevention Science in the School of Medicine. Her research focuses on addressing the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs and rights of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and her research interests include the intersection of reproductive health and HIV care in global contexts, working with couples to improve uptake of SRH services, safer conception, family planning, fertility desires, and HIV stigma. Dr. Gutin has 20 years of experience leading and overseeing research as well as HIV prevention and reproductive health projects in both the US and various sub-Saharan African countries, including South Africa, Uganda, Mozambique, Botswana, and Kenya.

Natalie Wilson, PhD, DNP, MPH, APRN-BC: Mapping Culturally Tailored Practices for Healthy Outcomes for People Everywhere (HOPE) Mobile Services

Abstract: Mobile Health Clinics (MHC) improve access to care by removing traditional barriers (e.g. transportation, safety, stigma), and providing direct tailored services that have flexibility to adapt based on the target population. African American people experiencing homelessness (AA-PEH) face multiple intersectional vulnerabilities and are amongst the most heavily impacted by HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STI), and hepatitis C (HCV). Ending the HIV Epidemic goals will be unattainable if we do not tailor intervention strategies to reach marginalized populations. There is a gap in developing and tailoring culturally relevant clinical operating protocols to deliver a structural “test and treat” intervention of outreach, and HIV testing, prevention, and treatment. The overall objective of this Population Health and Health Equity is to collaborate with other US and global mobile clinics focused on providing population-based culturally relevant care to identify and adapt sustainable strategies for care delivery tailored to marginalized populations for HIV testing and care continuum.

About Dr. Wilson: Dr. Wilson’s research is informed by almost 30 years of clinical expertise in primary care, HIV, and sexual health. As part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic National Strategy, Dr. Wilson research is focused on developing innovative solutions to address the constraints marginalized populations and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic environments have in accessing the HIV Status Neutral Care Continuum. She uses community engagement and mixed-methods implementation science methods to transform healthcare by building in health equity at the individual, system, and community levels.

2023 Awardees

Alison Comfort, PhD: How social networks may differentially affect contraceptive decision-making depending on sero-status: evidence from women in rural Uganda  

Abstract: Social networks represent the social relationships individuals have within their communities. Social networks can affect contraceptive decision-making by providing social support, and they can impact these behaviors through social influence including making salient social norms. However, there is very little knowledge about how the role of social networks and contraception differs for women living with HIV compared to those who are HIV-negative. I will conduct a cross-sectional, quantitative social network study among reproductive-aged women in rural Uganda to understand the relationship between social network structure and composition and contraceptive decision-making, including variation by sero-status. I will also explore whether social support versus social influence affects contraceptive decision-making and if this varies by sero-status. This study will provide the foundations for developing, pilot-testing and evaluating a social network-based intervention focused specifically on ensuring access to contraceptive care, including adaptations based on different needs and roles of social networks by individuals’ sero-status.  

About Dr. Comfort: Dr. Comfort is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and an affiliate of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. Trained as a health economist, she focuses on understanding how individual- and social network factors affect care-seeking with the goal of developing interventions that harness the role of social networks. Her research is focusing on antenatal care use, infant HIV testing, COVID-19 vaccine uptake, and contraceptive decision-making. She leads studies in the Uganda, Madagascar, and the US.

Pam Murnane, PhD: Closing the gaps in perinatal HIV transmission 

Abstract: For pregnant and postpartum women living with HIV, antiretroviral treatment (ART) optimizes health and prevents perinatal transmission. Despite near universal access to ART globally, critical gaps in prevention of perinatal transmission remain. Person centered care is increasingly recognized as an essential strategy to closing the gaps in HIV service delivery and ongoing perinatal HIV transmission. Leveraging programmatic data from an HIV treatment program in Kisumu County, Kenya, which implemented novel person-centered interventions for pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV, we will quantify maternal and infant HIV outcomes before and after implementation. In this observational pre-post analysis, we will assess potential biases via external data sources within Kenya across the same time period. We anticipate that this work will provide important information regarding the potential impact of person-centered interventions on maternal care engagement and HIV transmission in resource limited settings. 

About Dr. Murnane: Dr. Murnane completed her doctoral training in epidemiology at the University of Washington, followed by 2 years in South Africa engaged in a novel study examining implementation and clinical impacts of infant HIV diagnosis at birth and early treatment initiation. She joined the faculty at UCSF in 2019, and her research focusses on biological, behavioral, and structural factors that influence maternal and child health outcomes in the context of HIV in resource limited settings. She has expertise in medication adherence measurement, risk prediction, and epidemiologic methods, and is currently the PI of a K01 Award aiming to identify implementation strategies to deliver targeted adherence support for pregnant and postpartum women living with HIV in western Kenya. 

2022 Awardees

Paul Wesson, PhD: Investigating psychiatric and neighborhood-level inequities in the HIV continuum of care in San Francisco

Abstract: As San Francisco (and similar “Fast Track Cities”) continues to make overall gains in preventing new HIV infections and improving treatment outcomes for people living with HIV, population health researchers must be vigilant against emerging and widening disparities among disadvantaged populations. People with severe mental illness (SMI) face up to a 10-fold higher probability of HIV acquisition compared to people without SMI, although evidence is mixed regarding worse outcomes in the HIV continuum of care for this population. This study seeks to fill this gap in the literature through leveraging a recently constructed retrospective cohort of people living with HIV (PLWH) in San Francisco to statistically model and test for differences in HIV care engagement outcomes for PLWH with SMI compared to PLWH without SMI. Results from this analysis and others using this cohort will inform targeted interventions to reduce emerging inequities in HIV care.

About Dr. Wesson: Dr. Wesson is an epidemiologist focused on quantifying the health burdens of (and disparities related to) hard-to-reach and socially marginalized populations, particularly as they relate to infectious diseases. His research expertise includes developing and using data driven methods for sampling hard-to-reach and “hidden” populations, population size estimation methods, and using advanced epidemiologic and statistical techniques to study the social determinants of health. As an HIV researcher, Dr. Wesson’s research agenda relates to the unique challenges of sampling hard-to-reach populations for HIV surveillance, and leverages information from the sampling process (and survey data) to generate estimates of the population size.

Sofia Zamudio-Haas, DrPH: Culturally tailored, HIV health communication materials for trans women

Abstract: Transgender populations, in particular transgender women, have largely been left out of advancements in HIV care and treatment. Transgender women continue to shoulder the heaviest burden of HIV incidence and prevalence, despite available medications. A lack of culturally tailored, population-specific health communication is a key structural barrier that contributes to HIV disparities. This PHHE project supplements an Ending the HIV Epidemic (ETE) implementation science study to develop, test, and refine Spanish and English health information messages for trans women. Drawing on interviews conducted as part of the ETE study, we will analyze gaps in information, barriers, and facilitators to care and develop HIV testing, PrEP and ART messages. We will test these messages in focus groups with transgender women, refining and piloting materials as part of the EHE study. Findings will be published and used to develop an R34 proposal to scale-up and test effective multimedia HIV health information messages for this marginalized group.

About Dr. Zamudio-Haas: Dr. Zamudio-Haas’ research interests lie in increasing access and uptake of HIV prevention and treatment services for most affected populations in the US and globally, including gender and sexual minorities, people who inject drugs, and young women and girls. Engaging participatory and community-led methods, as well as quality improvement strategies, her work focuses on generating innovations and adapting care programs to meet the needs of marginalized populations, with the goal of reducing HIV health disparities. Her current work focuses on increasing access to culturally tailored and population specific HIV prevention and care services for transgender women.

2021 Awardees

Carrie Chan, MSN, CPNP: PrEP Facilitators, Barriers, and Preferences: Perspectives from San Francisco Bay Area Youth

Orlando Harris, PhD, RN, FNP, MPH: “Our Lives Matter”: Exploring Barriers and Facilitators to COVID-19 vaccination and the Impact of the Pandemic on Black/African American Sexual Minority Men

2020 Awardees

Catherine Koss, MD

Judy Tan, PhD

More information for interested applicants can be found on the Population Health and Equity website.