Spring 2018 Seminar Schedule

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February 14th at 11am
CTRB, 2161

UF Student Seminar Featuring:

Kathleen Egan, PhD, MS
Prevention of Adolescent Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use & Medicine Disposal Programs.

Verlin Joseph, MPH
Patterns of Cannabis Use Disorders Among PLWH: Results from a Community Sample.

Zachary Mannes, M.S
Recreational versus alternative and complimentary therapeutic marijuana use among adults living with HIV: Reason for use is associated with medication adherence.

February 28th at 11am
CTRB, 3161

Ajeet Kaushik, PhD
Assistant Professor
Florida International University
College of Medicine

“Smart Biosensor for Personalized Health Care”

March 7th at 10am
CTRB, 2161

Collaborative Perspectives on Addiction Presentation Practice  

Dr Yan Wang
HIV & substance use among women

 Dr. Christa Cook, Dr. Rob Leeman, and Ben Beray
Technology in substance assessment/intervention

Dr. Rob Leeman, Dr. Ali Yurasek, and Tessa Frohe
Cannabis in relation to other substance use

March 21st at 11am
CTRB, 2161

Tyler Wray, PhD
Assistant Professor
Brown University 
School of Public Health

“User-centered design strategies for building usable and engaging internet-facilitated alcohol and HIV behavior change interventions.”

April 4th at 11am
CTRB, 2161

Sheldon D. Fields, PhD
Dean and Professor
New York Institute of Technology 
School of Health Professions

“The HOPE of Getting to ZERO: HIV / AIDS among Black MSM”

April 19th at 10am
CTRB, 3162

Robert J. Lucero, PhD
Associate Professor 
University of Florida
College of Nursing

“Evaluating the use of a Medication Event Monitoring System as an Objective Measure of HIV ART Adherence”

The SHARC Team Writing Blitz

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The SHARC Writing Blitz

On December 1st, the SHARC team gathered at Dr. Cook’s home to collaborate on projects and promote the synergy of new ideas surrounding research. Students and Research Assistants brought their laptops and documents to the event. Two of our data team analysts, Zhi and Helen, attended the Blitz as well. Dr. Cook provided snacks for those who attended. Many students were thankful for Dr. Cook’s dogs Sachi and Monty, who provided a mental break when needed.


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Anal cancer is thought to share similarities with cervical cancer. American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates about 8200 new cases of anal cancer in the United States. Anal cancer risk is greater among those who are infected with Human Papillomavirus (HPV), those who have a compromised immune system (HIV/AIDS), smokers, those who have multiple sexual partners and have receptive anal intercourse, and women who have had cervical cancer/vulvar cancer. There is a slightly higher risk of anal cancer in women compared to men. Individuals living with HIV are 28 times more likely than the general population to be diagnosed with anal cancer and have poorer survival rates. Among all individuals, men who have sex with men (MSM) are at increased risk, and the risk doubles with having HIV infection.

Like many other cancers, stage or severity of the cancer at diagnosis is important in treatment and survival. For instance, five-year survival is 78% when diagnosis is made at an early stage (local disease). Screening for anal cancer may help early detection and improve outcomes related to anal cancer. Although some practitioners are using routine anal cancer screening using pap smear screening method, there are no randomized control trials (RCT) to evaluate improved survival with anal pap smear screening. The “Anchors study” is an ongoing RCT to evaluate best ways of anal cancer prevention among individuals living with HIV. Information about the study and recruitment details can be found in the following link: https://anchorstudy.org/.

ASC website states that some experts recommend anal cancer screening to be conducted by anyone with a history of anal warts, and that the test be conducted every year for HIV positive MSM and every 2-3 years for MSM without HIV infection. More information about the recommendations can be found here: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/anal-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html. US Department of Veterans affairs (VA) recommend all at-risk men and women to be screened for anal cancer at baseline and annually thereafter using the digital rectal examination (DRE) or anal pap-smear. Detailed recommendations and statistics about anal cancer screening can be found in the VA primary care manual in the following link: https://www.hiv.va.gov/provider/manual-primary-care/anal-dysplasia.asp , articles: http://nccc.ucsf.edu/2017/01/06/case-of-the-month-review-of-anal-cancer-screening-for-hiv-positive-patients/ and http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/apc.2013.0358.

Webcast: Dr. Ennis Presents “Mental Health in HIV: Coping Strategies for Managing Distress and Stigma”

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Webcast Wednesday: Mental Health in HIV: Coping Strategies for Managing Distress & Stigma

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT / 1:00 – 2:00 pm EDT

Nicole Ennis Whitehead, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology
College of Public Health and Health Professions
University of Florida at Gainesville

This presentation was coordinated in partnership with the Florida North AETC

Register Now!

Congratulations to Dr. Gladys Ibañez!

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Dr. Gladys Ibañez, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Florida International University’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, is one of four researchers in the country to receive funding from University of California at Davis’ Latino Aging Research Resource Center (LARRC) for its 2017-2018 pilot program. Dr. Ibañez’s community-focused work addresses this research gap, and with the help of LARRC’s National Institutes of Health-funded program, she’s equipped to study 100 HIV-positive patients from Borinquen Health Clinic and the Southern HIV and Alcohol Consortium. By administering NIH’s cognitive toolbox measures and linking the results to HIV care engagement and disease progression data, this project will serve as the basis for future explorations into cognitive interventions for older Latinos.



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On Sunday, June 11, 2017, the SHARC team participated in the Gainesville Equality March for Unity and Pride. Several SHARC Team members gathered Downtown at Depot Park and marched to Bo Diddly Plaza where a rally was held in solidarity with the National Equality March for Unity & Pride in Washington, D.C. The SHARC Team was there to support celebrate diversity, and respect the rights of all individuals. While marching the SHARC Team handed out giveaways such as sleek water bottles, nifty pens as well as allowing fellow marchers to take photos with an Instagram cut out.


The Health Science Center Library HIV/AIDS graphic novel contest

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The Health Science Center Library is hosting a graphic novel contest this summer, with the purpose of raising awareness and educating about HIV and AIDS. Top submissions will be included in a published collection to be distributed throughout Gainesville and Jacksonville. If you or your students are interested in exploring the intersection of arts and medicine and are passionate about making a difference in your community, we ask you to take part.

The contest runs June 1st, 2017 to August 5, 2017 with a free workshop hosted by the Sequential Artists Workshop to be held June 13th, 2017, from 6-9pm for anyone who is interested. More information can be found at https://goo.gl/fQ2km5.

HIV Treatment Works Campaign

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HIV Treatment Works: The HIV Treatment Works campaign encourages people living with HIV to Get in Care , Stay in Care and Live Well . Today, you can live a longer, healthier life by being in medical care and on HIV treatment. People featured in these videos share how they live well with HIV and how you can, too.

Find more information here at: https://www.cdc.gov/actagainstaids/campaigns/hivtreatmentworks/index.html

SHARC Research Awards

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Dr. Wang

University of Florida Department of Epidemiology Research Assistant Scientist Yan Wang, PhD, was recently awarded funding from the UF Shands Quasi Endowment Fund for her project entitled, “Improving alcohol use screening among HIV infected patients through advanced psychological testing.”
Even though alcohol use and abuse remains a major obstacle to the effective treatment of HIV patients, there has been a long-standing problem in obtaining reliable alcohol use data in clinical settings. The project, directed by Dr. Wang, seeks to address this issue by applying the implicit association test (IAT) to the screening process. The IAT was recently adapted for the measurement of addictive behaviors, including alcohol use, but has yet to be evaluated in clinical applications.
The proposed plan is to administer an alcohol identity IAT among 50-60 HIV positive drinkers. From there, they will test its validity using the ecological momentary assessment (EMA) as well as a transdermal alcohol biosensor. As stated by Dr. Wang, “the ultimate goal is to establish better alcohol measurements as the basis for designing more effective and individualized alcohol intervention.”
We at SHARC are glad to have Dr. Wang as an affiliated scientist and are excited to see how this study will progress alcohol screening methods and allow us to better help the HIV community.



Dr. Mayian

On Friday, January 20, 2017, it was announced that University of Florida Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine Postdoctoral Associate Carla Mavian, Ph.D., was selected for UF’s highly competitive Thomas H. Maren Junior Investigator Postdoctoral Award. The award provides Dr. Mavian with $50,000 for her two-year study, “Salivary mircroRNA as novel biomarkers of HIV/AIDS disease progression in people living with HIV.”

The innovative and exciting work that Dr. Mavian will be conducting through this project will be focusing on a novel, minimally invasive way to measure the occurrence of different HIV clinical conditions. The proposed plan is to use microRNA (miRNA) profiles obtained from saliva, which would provide clinicians with an brilliant alternative to current plasma-based methods.

In the words of Dr. Mavian, “This is the first step towards identifying new biomarkers that can be used to help guide treatment decisions, evaluate interventions, and/or help with prognosis of HIV/AIDS disease and progression.”

We look forward to all the future contributions Dr. Mavian will make to the field.