Dr. Vanessa McMahan, PhD, MS
Vanessa McMahan, PhD, MS, is a Research Scientist at the Center on Substance Use and Health (CSUH) at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH). Her research focuses on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use among people who use methamphetamine. At CSUH she conducts data management and analyses for studies assessing the impact of changes in opioid availability and oversees a PrEP adherence study among persons who use methamphetamine and inject substances. Previously, she coordinated the iPrEx study, which was the first trial to demonstrate the efficacy of PrEP for HIV prevention.
Vanessa is also passionate about harm reduction and has volunteered at syringe services programs (SSPs) since 2000. She is currently a co-investigator of a project evaluating safer smoking services at SSPs in the Pacific Northwest. She received her doctorate and Master of Science from the University of Washington in Health Services.
Dr. Kimberly Koester
I primarily identify as a social scientist and qualitative researcher trained as a cultural anthropologist. My career in HIV began as an undergraduate intern at the Hispanic Health Council in Hartford, Connecticut. At that time, this organization was led by Dr. Merrill Singer, a critical medical anthropologist who coined the concept of “syndemics.” This internship marked the beginning of my career as a researcher in HIV prevention, care and treatment with a particular interest in the study of sexual norms. Since that time, I have collaborated on numerous mixed methods studies often focused on health services research, implementation science and program evaluation. My primary research interest is on the role of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis in shaping the social and sexual lives of people vulnerable to HIV. For
example, my work has critically examined the epidemiologic concept of risk compensation and I have published on the types of sexual healthcare delivery models that would optimally and equitably meet the needs of individuals who would benefit from PrEP. I am currently leading a
community-academic partnership in Sacramento, California to identify strategies to increase PrEP uptake among gay and bisexual young men. I am also in the process of developing a technology-based intervention for adolescents, their parents and healthcare providers to increase access to confidential health services. In addition to leading and collaborating on HIV and sexual health related research, I have had the pleasure of serving as mentor and teacher for those seeking to learn about or build their expertise in qualitative research. I look forward to mentoring Sharp Scholars!
Dr. Albert Liu
Dr. Albert Liu is the Clinical Research Director of Bridge HIV within the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. His research focuses on the safety and effectiveness of PrEP agents, strategies to monitor and support PrEP adherence, and how best to implement PrEP in real-world settings. He is an investigator within the HIV Prevention Trials Network, Microbicide Trials Network, and the newly formed COVID Prevention Trials Network. He also serves as co-chair of the PrEP Committee of the San Francisco Getting to Zero Consortium and a member of the UCSF IRB. Dr. Liu is a board-certified internist and is currently an attending physician at San Francisco General Hospital.
Phillip Coffin, M.D., M.I.A., F.A.C.P.
is the Director of Substance Use Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. He is a board certified internal medicine and infectious diseases clinician; specific foci of Dr. Coffin’s training include HIV management, buprenorphine maintenance, addiction management, toxicology, and viral hepatitis care. As Director, Dr. Coffin oversees several pharmacologic and behavioral trials that aim to reduce substance use and related risk behaviors for blood-borne virus infection. Since the early 1990s, Dr. Coffin has been involved in developing and studying services for drug users, including syringe exchange, pharmacotherapy, and overdose prevention programming.