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Current Projects

Contextual risk factors for hepatitis C among young persons who inject drugs

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Drug Abuse (R01 DA043484)
PI: Basmattee Boodram, Co-Is: Mary-Ellen Mackesy-Amiti, Anna Hotton, Lawrence Ouellet

This longitudinal study of young persons who inject drugs examines their injection, sexual, and social support network characteristics to assess the role of risk networks, geography, social norms, and drug use stigma on hepatitis C risk. The research aims to (i) improve our understanding of key contextual and structural factors driving new hepatitis C infections and (ii) inform the development of innovative strategies (e.g., network interventions) to reduce hepatitis C in this population.

Computational Discovery of Effective Hepatitis C Intervention Strategies

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of General Medical Sciences (R01GM121600)
PI: Basmattee Boodram, Co-Is: Mary-Ellen Mackesy-Amiti, Lawrence Ouellet; Biostatistician: Anna Hotton

This study aims to develop the first comprehensive, empirical data-driven agent-based computational model for a U.S.-based population of persons who inject drugs (PWID). The model—termed Hepatitis C Elimination among PWID (HepCEP)—will use the Chicago PWID population to create a template that will be adaptable to any U.S. regional PWID population and, in turn, enable policy makers to identify the most effective intervention strategies for eliminating hepatitis C in the U.S., a goal that was deemed feasible by 2030 by the World Health Organization.

Feasibility of Recruiting Suburban Opioid Users for Studies on HCV Prevention

Sponsor: UIC School of Public Health (Seed Grant)
PI: Mary Ellen Mackesy-Amiti, Co-I: Timothy Johnson (SRL), Basmattee Boodram

This project will develop and pilot test multiple recruitment strategies in order to identify the optimal, most cost-effective approaches or combination of approaches for recruiting suburban opioid users for research studies on HCV prevention. We will pilot and formally evaluate a variety of potentially useful methods for directing potential respondents to a web-based survey for initial screening, followed by secondary screening by telephone to verify eligibility. At the same time we will collect preliminary data on past and current opioid use, including overdose risk, overdose experience, overdose reversal knowledge, transitions from non-injection routes to injection, syringe sources, HCV knowledge, and HCV testing among Chicago-area suburban opioid users.

The IMARA Program: Healthy Living for African American Women and their Daughters

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01MD006198)
PI: Geri Donenberg, Co-I: Erin Emerson, Project Director: Kelly McCabe

IMARA (Informed, Motivated, Aware, and Responsible about AIDS) is a culturally relevant, multi-level, integrated, family-based, HIV and mental health prevention program that simultaneously targets African American women and their daughters.


Sponsor: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01MD010433)
PI: Geri Donenberg, Co-I: Erin Emerson, Project Director: Erin McCarville

PHAT Life: Preventing HIV/AIDS Among Teens is an intervention designed to help youth on juvenile probation make healthy choices regarding sexual health and substance use. The intervention content provides youth with health knowledge and emotional management skills which help them make healthy decisions. The program is comprised of 8 sessions that are delivered over a 2 week period to small groups of youth.

We deliver the program in partnership with the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department at probation programming throughout the Chicagoland area.

Ecological Momentary Assessment

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse (R21DA039010)
PI: Mary Ellen Mackesy-Amiti, CO-I: Basmattee Boodram

This study tests the acceptability and feasibility of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to study mood and behavior in young people who inject drugs (PWID), and will gather preliminary data on emotion regulation, mood, and injection behavior among young PWID in the context of everyday activities. The results of this study will inform the development of a larger study to examine the associations among negative affect, emotion dysregulation, and injection risk behavior in PWID. This research will have implications for intervention practices for PWID with emotion regulation difficulties, to reduce risky injection behavior and to promote entry into treatment for substance use and mental health.

National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS)

Sponsor: Centers of Disease Control, City of Chicago (U1BPS003260)
UIC PI: Antonio D. Jimenez; Lawrence Ouellet

COIP serves as part of a national network of research sites that assess and monitor HIV, HCV, and HBV and their related risk behaviors among people who inject drugs, adult heterosexuals at increased risk of HIV infection, adult men who have sex with men, and high-risk women.

Step Up Test Up

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA041071)
Principal Investigators: Rob Garofalo, MD and Niranjin Karnik, MD UIC PI: Geri Donenberg

In partnership with Lurie Children’s Hospital and principle investigator Rob Garafalo, the Step Up Test Up study is a randomized controlled trial that seeks to test whether an electronic brief intervention will reduce alcohol and other substance use among youth aged 16-25. Participants are recruited from HIV testing locations throughout the city of Chicago and include men who have sex with men as well as transgender women and men.

Kigali Imbereheza Project (KIP)

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver Human Development (R01HD074977)
Principal Investigators: Geri Donenberg, PhD, Mardge Cohen, MD and Sabin Nsanzimana, MD

The Kigali Imbereheza Project is a randomized controlled trial based in Kigali, Rwanda that seeks to test an adherence-enhanced, developmentally appropriate, culturally adapted trauma informed cognitive behavioral intervention (TI-CBTe) on antiretroviral therapy adherence among HIV+ Rwandan youth. KIP is a collaboration with Mardge Cohen, MD, Medical Director of the WE-ACTx clinic in Kigali, Rwanda and a faculty member at Hektoen Institute for Medical Research, LLC /Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS); and Sabin Nsanzimana, MD, Head of HIV AIDS, STI, Blood Borne Infections at the Rwanda Biomedical Center.

The Hepatitis C Community Alliance to Test and Treat (HepCCATT) in Chicago Program

Sponsor: Centers for Disease Control, National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STDs, and TB Prevention
UIC PI: Basmattee Boodram, Project Director: Maggie Kaufmann; Lead PI, University of Chicago: Daniel Johnson, MD

This intervention project represents the largest CDC-funded initiative to address hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in any U.S. city. Through a strong coalition approach, HePCCATT is intended to strengthen health-care capacity to diagnose and cure HCV infection through implementation of a package of HCV-related services in Chicago populations with HCV-related health disparities, including individuals born between 1945 and 1965 (baby boomers), African-Americans, risk taking adolescents and adults, and current and former injection drug users.

COIP’s primary role in the HepCCATT coalition is to provide a novel HCV-focused case management program that focuses on addressing personal and structural barriers to linkage to care for those chronically infected with HCV.

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