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 junior investigators carrying out cutting-edge population health research, and offers opportunities for them be participate in innovative training and other events to showcase their work.
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.
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
More information for interested applicants can be found on the Population Health and Equity website.