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Each SHARP scholar is paired with a mentor or two co-mentors, with whom they work throughout the summer. These mentors provide guidance on the scholar’s project, serve as a sounding board for the scholar’s educational career and goals, and provide coaching on how to work in a public health research environment.

Bios for several of our mentors are listed below.

SArayasirikul SHINE Study picSean Arayasirikul, PhD is a Medical Sociologist whose work is focused on the entanglements of technology in society; in particular, its role in constructing emerging conceptions of health, illness and identity, and as a means to disrupt the production of stigma, discrimination, social isolation and negative health outcomes. He was an National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) T32 Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Alcohol Research Group, UC Berkeley. He was named an American Sociological Association Minority Fellow. He served as the Health Literacy and Health Policy Fellow at the United States Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and as a Scholar at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In Washington, D.C., he oversaw mobile health and HIV testing initiatives at Whitman-Walker Health and was a mobile HIV Case Manager for newly diagnosed HIV-positive youth in Los Angeles County. Deeply committed to adolescent health, Sean has represented youth communities in HIV community planning processes as a member of the HIV Prevention Planning Committees in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Currently, Sean is a Research Scientist at the Center for Public Health Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and is a Co-PI and Co-I on a number of projects focused on technology, PrEP, and HIV among racial, sexual and gender minority populations.

Sean is a son to immigrants, a 2nd generation Thai American. As an LGBT youth, he survived homelessness and was raised working poor. He earned a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco and his dissertation research used intersectionality to examine social inequality among transwomen in the San Francisco Bay Area and at the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. He is also the San Francisco Father of the Iconic House of Infiniti, a legendary staple in the House and Ballroom Community. Sean seeks to disrupt social unevenness, think resistance into reality, and change the material conditions that weigh each and every one of us down, but especially the vulnerable, marginalized and othered.


Emily BeharEmily Behar, MS is a Project Coordinator in the Substance Use Research Unit in the HIV Prevention Section at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In this capacity, she helps coordinate the Unit’s overdose prevention studies, including a NIDA-funded project that evaluates the feasibility of clinic-based naloxone distribution and a project to determine the efficacy of rapid naloxone trainings at syringe distribution sites. Prior to joining the team at SFDPH, Emily coordinated a syringe exchange program in New York, and worked to increase access to palliative care internationally, with a focus on Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Emily received a Master’s of Science in Medical Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania where she focused on systemic structures of violence on indigenous communities in Guatemala. Her current focus is on harm reduction techniques, access to naloxone, and evaluating national cultural and medical implications of increased opioid prescription.

thumbnail_Coffin_Phillip_Print_Size-101 Website photoPhillip Coffin, MD, MIA
, is the Director of Substance Use Research in the HIV Prevention Section at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Divisions of HIV/AIDS at San Francisco General Hospital, at the University of California, San Francisco. 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 Research Director, Dr. Coffin oversees several pharmacologic and behavioral trials that aim to reduce substance use and related HIV risk behaviors. In addition to the intersection between substance use and HIV, Dr. Coffin’s research expertise include screening and linkage to care for persons with hepatitis C; opioid overdose and the distribution of naloxone; mathematical modeling; and clinical care for HIV, viral hepatitis, and general infectious diseases. Dr. Coffin also sees patients at the San Francisco General Hospital HIV-clinic, the Positive Health Program.


Jaclyn Hern Photo

Jaclyn Hern, MPH is a Research Study Coordinator at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH). She received her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Here at SFDPH, Jaclyn assists in the coordination of pharmacologic studies that aim to reduce substance use and related HIV risk behaviors. Previously, Jaclyn coordinated studies looking at antiretroviral medication adherence among HIV-infected pediatric patients and the acceptance of routine HIV screening in pediatric emergency departments at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. She has also worked on a city-wide longitudinal cohort there that aims to describe clinical outcomes and improve the care of HIV-infected individuals.


Albert Liu, MD, MPH is the Director of HIV Prevention Intervention Studies at Bridge HIV and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. He is a board certified internist and instructs internal medicine residents in the care of underserved populations. After completing his MD at UCSF and MPH at UC Berkeley, he served as Medical Director of the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic for 2 years. Dr. Liu’s research focuses on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of HIV treatment medications to prevent new infections in HIV-negative individuals. He is currently the Protocol Chair of the Demo Project, a PrEP Demonstration Project in San Francisco, Miami, and Washington DC. Dr. Liu was awarded an NIH grant to develop strategies to promote PrEP adherence in real-world settings. The EPIC study (Enhancing PrEP in Communities) will explore factors that influence adherence and risk behaviors in the Demo Project and develop and test a package of online and mobile health tools to promote the uptake and adherence to PrEP in diverse settings. Dr. Liu is also directing the San Francisco effort in an international study evaluating the safety of a rectal gel – known as a microbicide – to prevent the acquisition of HIV among men who have sex with men and transgender women.


MiloGlenn-Milo Santos, PhD, MPH is Research Scientist at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and a research fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at University of California, San Francisco. Milo has extensive expertise in the field of HIV prevention, substance use and alcohol research. At SFDPH, he has participated in the execution and conduct of 6 pharmacologic and behavioral trials to reduce substance use and sexual behaviors among populations at high-risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV. He is the principal investigator of Project iN, a recently funded study evaluating the efficacy of an intervention among polysubstance-using men who have sex with men (MSM). At UCSF’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, he has characterized trajectories of alcohol consumption in HIV-positive individuals in rural Uganda; assisted in the evaluation of Topiramate for alcohol dependence among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder; and examined correlates of spontaneous HCV clearance among HIV-positive individuals on ART. Milo was the primary analyst in the first meta-analysis conducted on the efficacy of behavioral interventions for amphetamine-group substances, published in The Lancet. He has also written peer-reviewed articles and scientific abstracts on gay men’s health, homophobia, medication adherence, social networks, substance use patterns, and risk taking behaviors of substance users. In addition, he has served as a research consultant at the Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) and at the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF). At MSMGF and APIAHF, Milo has evaluated disparities in access to HIV prevention interventions and examined the acceptability of new HIV-prevention interventions among MSM and transgender people.


John-Sauceda Website photo MENTORJohn Sauceda, PhD is originally from Texas, where he earned his doctoral degree in health psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso.  En route to his PhD, he also completed a Masters degree in clinical psychology and a certificate in quantitative methods. During the first year as a TAPS fellow he completed a Masters degree in global health sciences at UCSF. His primary research interests are quantitative methods to explore the relationships between mental health and HIV treatment outcomes in Latinos.

Dr. Sauceda’s has previously helped conduct an RCT testing a culturally adapted evidence-based intervention to assess and treat depression and improve medication nonadherence in Latinos living on the U.S.-Mexico Border.   He has also published work on the barriers and facilitators of medication adherence that include childhood abuse, depression, prospective memory and resilience, as well as issues related to HIV-related stigma and clinical assessment of mood disorders in Latinos.  Dr. Sauceda current work focuses on modeling trajectories over time of HIV treatment outcomes as a function of depression and substance use in a national cohort of Latinos engaged in HIV primary care.  He is also working on a HRSA SPNS initiative promoting testing and linking Latinos living with HIV into medical care in the U.S.  Moving forward, he plans to explore cultural and linguistic behavioral and biomedical treatment models that address health disparities in HIV primary care, as well as explore assessment issues and culture in global mental health.


May SudhinarasetMay Sudhinaraset, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. She received her doctoral training in epidemiology and demography from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at UCSF with an emphasis on innovative health service delivery models. Her research centers on the interplay between social determinants and health disparities and how that information can be used to impact health service delivery and utilization. Dr. Sudhinaraset publishes and currently leads research efforts on migration, structural and social determinants of health, health equity, and health service delivery in Asia and Africa.


Kelly Taylor HeadshotKelly Taylor, PhD, MSW, MPH is a research scientist with the Prevention and Public Health Group. Educated at University of Michigan, Vanderbilt University, and University of California Berkeley, Dr. Taylor is a behavioral scientist with a background in community psychology and epidemiology. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in AIDS prevention at the University of California San Francisco, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.

Her primary research interests are in research capacity building in low-resource settings, health disparities, and psychosocial determinants of health in developing countries, particularly, the role of health seeking behavior in HIV prevention among key populations at risk for HIV. Dr. Taylor’s emphasis is in sub-Saharan Africa, and she has worked professionally in Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Senegal. Her recent projects include evaluation of prevalence and behavioral risk factors for HIV and sexually transmitted infections among most-at-risk populations in Ghana.


Caitlin_headshotCaitlin Turner, MPH is a Data Analyst with the Substance Use Research Unit (SURU) at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH). Currently, she manages the Substance Use Related Death Surveillance database, conducts substance-related data analysis projects, and supports day-to-day operations of the pharmacological interventions held at SURU. Previously, she analyzed the characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) who were high engagers in a novel text messaging data collection platform that gathered daily information about their substance, alcohol, and study medication use. She also researched the psychosocial predictors of engagement in sexual risk behavior among trans*female youth enrolled in the SHINE study at SFDPH. As an aspiring social epidemiologist, her research interests include social determinants of health, substance use research, and the translation of findings to policy action. She received her Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology/Biostatistics from UC Berkeley. Caitlin was also an honorary SHARP scholar in the summer of 2015 and is eager to bring that perspective to her role as a mentor.


Erin WErin Wilson, DrPH is a research scientist at the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Wilson has been doing qualitative and mixed methods HIV prevention, care and intervention research with the trans community for almost 20 years. Dr. Wilson is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) of a 5-year NIH R01 to longitudinally study HIV risk and resilience among trans youth in the San Francisco Bay Area, and of an international prospective HIV incidence study of transwomen in 4 countries. She is also the PI for the evaluation of a Special Projects of National Significance to increase engagement and retention in HIV care among transgender women of color and among young gay and transwomen. She is also Co-PI of the first PrEP Demonstration Project for the trans community called the Stay Study. Dr. Wilson’s international experience has focused on formative research to inform behavioral surveillance studies among key populations at risk for HIV/AIDS in Mozambique, Zambia, and the Ivory Coast. She has also conducted an original research project of the HIV risk environment for transgender women in Nepal and continues to seek funding to reduce disparities in HIV risk among transgender women around the globe.


“Having a mentor and meeting with him regularly gave me the chance to consistently ask questions about research, the field of medicine, and anything else relevant to my career trajectory. Coming from a non-professional family background, I felt that this gave me the space and time to gain a wider and better understanding of these things than I would have been able to achieve in this time period on my own.”– Martín Padilla, 2012 SHARP Scholar