In This Issue
  1. Welcome Jesus Ramirez-Valles, Ph.D., MPH as the New Chief of the Division of Prevention Science
  2. Announcing Sheri Lippman as CAPS Co-Director
  3. First Year Visiting Professors
  4. Second Year Visting Professors
  5. Announcements
Jesus Ramirez-Valles, Ph.D., MPH, the New Chief of the Division of Prevention Science
Jesus Ramirez
Dear Colleagues,

I am thrilled to announce that Jesus Ramirez-Valles, Ph.D., MPH, an accomplished researcher, academic, scholar, filmmaker, and public health leader, has accepted my offer to become the chief of the UCSF Division of Prevention Science. As division chief, he will also hold the Walter Gray Endowed Chair in HIV/AIDS Science of the AIDS Research Institute. Jesus will start at UCSF on August 12.

Jesus was born in Juarez, Mexico, where he was raised by a single mother as one of six children. He received his bachelor’s degree from Mexico’s Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. He came to the U.S. in 1989 to continue his studies, ultimately earning master's and doctoral degrees in Health Behavior and Education from the University of Michigan. 
Jesus’s work is deeply rooted in the social and behavioral sciences and strongly focused on health equity and community engagement. His research and advocacy have centered on the challenges of health and health care for at-risk communities, including children, LGBTQI populations, people of color, and women. He has published more than 50 articles and book chapters, as well as two books: Compañeros: Latino Activists in the Face of AIDS (University of Illinois Press, 2011), and Queer Aging: The Gayby Boomers and a New Frontier for Gerontology (Oxford University Press, 2018). His work has been well funded by both the National Institutes of Health and several foundations. He is currently editor-in-chief of Health Education and Behavior, a major public health journal. His 2007 documentary, Tal Como Somos/Just As We Are, chronicles the lives of Latino gay men, transgender persons, and people living with HIV/AIDS. It has been featured on PBS and as part of several international film festivals.
Jesus currently serves as director of the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University, a position he has held since 2018. Prior to that, he chaired the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health. His connection to UCSF dates to 1998-2001 when he was a visiting professor at UCSF's Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), a major center in the division he will now be leading. 

The Division of Prevention Science is internationally known for its work in prevention, health education, and behavioral health. The division includes 19 full-time faculty, three academic specialists, seven fellows, eight visiting professors, and 43 staff members. It is home to several federally funded research centers, including the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, the UCSF Prevention Research Center, the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, and a newly funded coordinating center focused on reducing disparities in multiple chronic diseases. The division’s active research portfolio includes over 50 sponsored projects totaling more than $60 million in direct costs. Funders include NIH, California HIV/AIDS Research Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources & Services Administration, the City and State Departments of Public Health, and private foundations.
I am indebted to Mallory Johnson, who has served as interim chief of the division for the last year. Mallory has been a superb and selfless leader, both this year and throughout his career at UCSF. I also thank Marguerita Lightfoot, the division’s past chief, who left UCSF last year to become associate dean for research at the Oregon Health Sciences University/Portland State University School of Public Health.
I am also grateful to the search committee, chaired by Monica Gandhi, associate chief of the Division of HIV, ID, and Global Health at ZSFG and director of the UCSF-Gladstone Center for AIDS Research. This was a vigorous and competitive search and I appreciate the hard work of the committee in helping us achieve this successful outcome.
“UCSF is the place where my research career began,” says Jesus. “It seems only fitting that I bring my decades of public health experience, as well as my life experience as a person of color and a gay man, to the important work of the division. I believe there is an elegant symmetry to my coming back to UCSF.”
I agree and am confident that Jesus will be a wonderful and inspiring leader for the Division of Prevention Science and our campus more generally.
Bob Wachter
Robert M. Wachter, MD
Professor and Chair, Dept. of Medicine
Holly Smith Distinguished Professor in Science and Medicine
Marc and Lynne Benioff Endowed Chair in Hospital Medicine
University of California, San Francisco | @bob_wachter

Department of Medicine, UCSF
505 Parnassus, Room M994
San Francisco, CA 94143-0120
Sheri Lippman CAPS Co-Director
Sheri Lippman
Dear DPS family,

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Sheri Lippman has generously agreed to serve as Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) Co-Director, joining me and Dr. Mallory Johnson, along with our Core Directors, in the leadership of CAPS.  

As a member of the CAPS family since 2009, Sheri brings a wealth of scientific expertise, successful leadership, and a unique perspective to the role. Sheri is a leading researcher in health disparities and her work focuses on ensuring our prevention and care tools are scaled through implementation science efforts across health systems, foci which reflect our two central themes for CAPS 8. Her most recent project, in collaboration with Dr. Marguerita Lightfoot, expands CAPS’ research portfolio in groundbreaking ways by investigating methods for increasing financial and health equity among low-income Black youth and young adults in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

Sheri’s commitment to health equity is a consistent throughline in her domestic and international research and she is an active member of our Division’s Antiracism Working Group. Sheri also has a deep commitment to mentoring early-career investigators, particularly those from under-represented groups in medicine.  

Further, women are vastly underrepresented in director-level positions across NIH-funded AIDS Research Centers – less than 20% of AIDS Research Center leadership teams are women. Sheri’s scientific leadership and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging will help us transform the landscape for women and under-represented faculty in NIH-funded HIV research as well as in academic medicine more broadly.  

Please join me in appreciation for Sheri’s contribution to the leadership of CAPS!  

Jae Sevelius, Ph.D. (pronouns: they/them)
Professor, Department of Medicine 
Division of Prevention Science | University of California, San Francisco
CAPS Visiting Professors
For the last 25 years, CAPS has been a leader in providing intensive training and mentoring to support the development of early-career researchers across the United States who are conducting HIV-prevention research with minority communities and desire to enhance their programs of research and obtain additional funding for their work.

This newsletter features our current Visiting Professors. We are excited to introduce each of them and share their collective research portfolio, which, no doubt, will be impactful in helping to end the HIV epidemic among populations disproportionally affected by HIV who could benefit from research that supports prevention and treatment innovations.

We hope that you enjoy this issue of the newsletter and click on the links to learn more about each of our Visiting Professors.
First Year Visiting Professors
Aimalohi Ahonkhai MD MPH
Aimalohi Ahonkhai, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Vanderbilt University Medical Center – Division Infectious Diseases; Institute for Global Health
Diversity Liaison

Research Focus: Dr. Ahonkhai’s research focuses on optimizing clinical outcomes for marginalized patients living with HIV, especially among adolescents and young adults. She focuses her efforts on mHealth-supported and community-based interventions in sub-Saharan Africa, and in the Southern US. As a CAPS Visiting Professor, her pilot study will focus on leveraging the role and relationships of barbers and barbershops to reduce community stigma and to improve HIV care outcomes for Black men in the Southern US.
Donte Boyd PhD MSW
Donte Boyd, Ph.D., MSW

Assistant Professor
The Ohio State University College of Social Work

Research Focus: Dr. Boyd’s research addresses how socio-contextual factors impact young Black MSM’s decision-making behaviors. He is particularly interested in examining Black MSM as individuals in the family context to understand members’ (e.g., parents, caregivers, siblings) roles in HIV prevention and interventions, specifically, how parents and other figures serve as a protective mechanism for Black MSM against HIV acquisition and other health-related outcomes. 
Lorraine T Dean ScD
Lorraine T. Dean, ScD

Associate Professor
Johns Hopkins University – Department of Epidemiology; School of Medicine; Department of Health Policy and Management

Research Focus: Dr. Dean’s research interests include examining privilege and health, including social (racism, discrimination, social capital) and economic (consumer credit, socioeconomic position) determinants of disparities in HIV and cancer. As a CAPS Visiting Professor, she will focus her research on reducing racial and economic disparities in HIV PrEP primary non-adherence based on an adherence measure that her team novelly developed – the PrEP reversal, or when patients do not pick up their initial PrEP prescription from the pharmacy.
Lunthita M Duthel  EdD
Lunthita M. Duthely, EdD, MS.CTI

Research Assistant Professor
University of Miami – Miller School of Medicine; Department Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences; Department of Public Health Sciences

Research Focus: Dr. Duthely’s area of expertise is in leveraging information technology (eHealth / mHealth) to improve health outcomes for racial/ethnic/linguistic minority women with HIV, living in the U.S. Her CAPS applied research is guided by brief motivational interviewing techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy. She will field-test a patients’ navigator-assisted mHealth system to support engagement into care for racial/ethnic minority women, using novel biomarkers for stress and treatment adherence.
Typhanye Vielka Dyer PhD MPH
Typhanye Vielka Dyer, Ph.D., MPH

Associate Professor, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics
University of Maryland School of Public Health

Research Focus: Dr. Dyer’s research aim is to understand the broader social and structural processes that impact community health by examining the influence of social, psychological, behavioral, and structural factors on HIV/STI risk in Black populations. Her CAPS applied research experience will be guided by syndemic theory to longitudinally assess the syndemic impact of social capital, social position, social support, and intersectional stigma on continuum of care outcomes among the cohort of aging Black women in the WIHS study and on HIV continuum of care outcomes among aging Black women living with HIV in the WIHS study.
Second Year Visiting Professors
Henna Budhwani PhD MPH
Henna Budhwani, Ph.D., MPH

Associate Professor
The University of Alabama at Birmingham – School of Public Health; Department of Health Care Organization and Policy

Research Focus: Dr. Budhwani’s research interests include examining and addressing the causes and consequences of health disparities among stigmatized populations that experience adverse health outcomes in resource-constrained settings. Her research is informed by sociological constructs, guided by human rights frameworks, and adopts a multidimensional view of how to address public health and clinical care inequities. While at CAPS, she will collaborate with the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) to conduct secondary analyses of the Prepared, Protected, empowered (P3, PI: Hightow-Weidman) randomized controlled trial data focusing on the delivery of PrEP and stigma reduction among sexual and gender minority adolescents and young adults in the United States.
Elena Cyrus PhD
Elena Cyrus, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
University of Central Florida – College of Medicine, Department of Population Health Sciences

Research Focus: Dr. Cyrus focuses her research on social determinants of health that contribute toward health inequities among vulnerable populations globally. She is currently the principal investigator of a National Institute of Drug Abuse-funded K99/R00 grant on substance use and PrEP among trans women. Her CAPS applied research experience focus is an extension of this project with the proposed development of a tailored computerized brief intervention addressing substance use, mental health, and HIV risk among trans women.
Shawnika Hull PhD MA
Shawnika Hull, Ph.D., MA

Assistant Professor
Rutgers University – School of Communication and Information

Research Focus: Dr. Hull's aim is to reduce racial inequities in HIV incidence through community-engaged, applied communication science. She specializes in strategic public health communication research and practice and focuses her current work on increasing the awareness and uptake of PrEP among Black women (BW) who are at risk for HIV exposure. She will focus her CAPS applied research experience on understanding the ways that drug use facilitates and constrains BW’s PrEP use and identifying the ways drug use shapes women’s risk perceptions, their attitudes toward PrEP, willingness and efficacy to use it, and how it relates to critical social-structural barriers to PrEP uptake.
Yzette Lanier PhD
Yzette A.I. Lanier, PhD

Assistant Professor
New York University – Rory Meyers College of Nursing

Research Focus: Dr. Lanier examines the social-ecology of sexual decision-making using a developmental lens, focusing on Black and Latino adolescents and young adults’ romantic relationships, specifically examining the role of relationship dynamics on sexual behaviors and practices. Her CAPS applied research will focus on identifying salient individual and relationship factors that influence young heterosexual couples’ use of HIV prevention methods (i.e., condoms, HIV/STI testing, PrEP) to inform the development of a couple-based behavioral intervention to increase the uptake of combination HIV prevention methods.
Allysha Maragh Bass PhD MPH
Allysha C. Maragh-Bass, Ph.D., MPH

Scientist 1
FHI 360 – Behavioral, Epidemiological, and Clinical Sciences 

Research Focus: Dr. Maragh-Bass’ research is centered on lifespan approaches to HIV/AIDS, working in prevention with sexual/gender minority youth of color and in treatment with older adults of color living with chronic co-morbidities. While participating in the CAPS Visiting Professor Program, she will focus her research on implementation science approaches to routine HIV testing and PrEP uptake for youth of color in the South.
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Are you working to prevent HIV in your community?

We are home to 101 prevention scientists, researchers, and staff who conduct high-impact HIV prevention science. We also provide Technical Assistance in the use of HIV science.
  • Consult with one of our researchers
  • Review program materials
  • Targeted review of grant proposals and surveys
  • Assistance in facilitating research and community partnerships
  • Consultations on intervention curricula
  • Review assessments and measurement tools
  • Share stories of those living with HIV through the Positive Project
The mission of Center for AIDS Prevention Studies is to end the HIV epidemic and associated health and social disparities by conducting high impact HIV prevention science and building capacity among researchers and communities to effectively address HIV. Project #: 2P30MH062246
The mission of the UCSF Prevention Research Center is to maintain an interdependent network of community, academic, and public health partners to design and implement prevention research aimed at answering significant and innovative HIV research questions and promoting the wide use of practices proven to promote health for those infected and affected by HIV. Project #: 5U48DP004998