Arman Alvarado is a 4th-year undergraduate student at the School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin. After earning his Bachelor of Science in Nursing, he plans to work with patients in a clinical setting. Specifically, he wants to work with HIV-positive people and vulnerable communities and populations that are at-risk for HIV/AIDS. In addition, he plans to further his education with a focus on public health policy alongside community outreach within the LGBTQ community. As a SHARP scholar, Arman worked with Drs. Stephanie Cohen and Jonathan Fuchs alongside Robert Blue at San Francisco City Clinic. Throughout the summer, he worked with his mentors to create a survey which evaluated patient transition to primary care and experiences receiving Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in the San Francisco community. Additionally, he worked with members of San Francisco City Clinic’s PrEP Services Team. Arman was able to observe PrEP navigators and the daily process of PrEP initiation, consultation, and implementation at San Francisco City Clinic.
After SHARP, Arman will be completing his last year in the professional sequence under the School of Nursing at UT Austin and soon graduate with his Bachelor of Science in Nursing. While still in Austin, he plans to continue working with HIV/AIDS at-risk populations through organizations such as AIDS Services of Austin. Upon graduation, Arman would like to apply the clinical skills he has learned and serve the Bay Area as a registered nurse. Eventually, he would like to attend medical school and incorporate both his passions for patient-centered care and public health research.
After SHARP, Kiana will be studying abroad in Taipei, Taiwan for a semester to continue her goal of reaching fluency in Mandarin. When she returns to UCLA, she will gain additional research experience as a research assistant for the NIH-funded PROMIS study of health disparities among children and adolescents. Upon graduation, Kiana would like to complete a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Malaysia for a year, where she hopes to incorporate public health education in her English-centered curriculum. Eventually, she would like to attend graduate school to pursue a dual masters degree in nursing and public health where she can combine her interests in patient-centered clinical care and public health research. Kiana hopes to use her Mandarin language and cultural competency skills to bridge health disparities among underserved communities both locally and globally.
Dharsan will graduate from Brown University in 2018 with a degree in applied mathematics and biology. He pursued the SHARP Internship in order to inform his future medical career through a thorough understanding of public health research. His interests include health disparities amongst sexual and gender minorities, and the intersection of mental health, substance use, and HIV/AIDS. At Brown, he is a volunteer at the Miriam Hospital STD Clinic, and has performed a cost analysis of the clinic in order to ascertain its sustainability. As a SHARP Scholar, he worked in the Substance Use Research Unit with Dr. Phillip Coffin and Caitlin Turner. His research this summer was a multi-level exploratory analysis of stimulant-related overdose deaths in San Francisco. Demographic, geographic, and clinical characteristics of decedents were analyzed in order to understand the differences between these marginalized populations afflicted by methamphetamine and cocaine overdose deaths. Next semester he will be pursuing a Global Independent Study Project (GLISP) as a part of his study abroad in Sri Lanka that will culminate in a novel needs assessment of PrEP implementation in Sri Lanka as a form of HIV Prevention. He hopes to champion the needs of sexual and gender minorities through his future career in medicine and public health.
Michelle Fletcher will be entering her final year at California State University, East Bay and will be receiving a Bachelors of Science degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Community Health. As a SHARP scholar, Michelle is working with mentors Dr. Kelly Taylor and Dr. Willi McFarland in the Center for Public Health Research and UCSF. For her project, she analyzed the data collected from a previous study of female head porters, Kayayei, in Ghana. Michelle examined the correlation between the women and their interpersonal relationships and studied the link between various demographics including age and education level; sexual behavior; and social abuse and violence. Looking forward Michelle plans to go to graduate school for an MPH in epidemiology and hopes to later receive a PhD. She ultimately wants to pursue a career in global health. Her goal is to educate and provide resources to the Black community where access and linkage to care is currently lacking.
Max is a rising senior at The University of San Francisco studying Biology with a minor in Chemistry. He hopes to pursue an MPH/MBA next year and ultimately pursue his dream of attending medical school. His passion lies in serving the LGBTQ community and identifying gaps in services for them and other minority populations. Throughout his career, he hopes to expand access to mental health services and community resources to these populations in order to improve their quality of life. This summer he is working in the Substance Use Research Unit with Drs. Phillip Coffin, Milo Santos, and Jaclyn Hern, MPH.
Selvin is currently a junior at California State University Northridge. He will graduate spring 2017 with a major in Public Health. He developed an interest in public health issues while in high school, and hopes to promote health and healthy practices through his career in the future. He currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. where he work as a Special Ed. Assistant. Working with kids of different backgrounds, cultures and personalities has solidified his interest in working with disadvantaged communities. Aside from his job, he enjoys volunteering at the California Science Center, where I talk to kids about the Space Shuttle Endeavour. This summer he is working in the Substance Use Research Unit with Dr. Milo Santos and Jaclyn Hern, MPH.
Melody is a senior at California State University, Monterey Bay with a major in Collaborative Health and Human Services and an emphasis in community health and public administration. Her interests include sexual minority issues, health disparities, sociocultural behaviors, and prevention for infectious disease.
As a SHARP scholar, she worked within the Sexual and Gender Minority Lab at UCSF with her mentor, Dr. Annesa Flentje. Melody analyzed health inequalities, determinants and risk factors associated with the current homeless population of San Francisco. She assisted the PRIDE study, a longitudinal survey addressing and improving LGBTQ community health, though focus group observations and logging health discussions. After graduating in Spring 2017, she hopes to further work with the Department of Public Health in San Francisco. Ultimately, Melody plans to pursue her Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology or Health Policy.
Rachel graduated from San Francisco State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Education with an emphasis in Community-based Public Health and a minor in Urban Studies and Planning. Her interests include health inequities, substance abuse, and harm reduction. As a SHARP scholar, she worked within the Substance Use Research Unit (SURU) under Emily Behar and Dr. Phillip Coffin. Rachel collaborated with her mentors as well as Dr. Emily Hurstak to conduct a quantitative analysis of medical examiner records of participants who overdosed and the impact of syringe access programs that distributed naloxone to intravenous injection drug users between 2005-2012. Rachel ultimately plans to attend graduate school for a Master’s in Public Health for Epidemiology and anticipates pursuing a Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH).
Saad recently graduated from Texas A&M University with majors in biochemistry and genetics and a minor in art history. Working under his mentors Dr. Erin Wilson and Sean Arayasirikul for SHARP 2015, Saad analyzed data collected under the SHINE study. Specifically, Saad examined the possible links between undiagnosed mental health illnesses and HIV risk behavior among young Trans* females in the Bay Area. He is currently applying to medical school.
Jabou is a rising senior at Spelman College, studying Biology. As a SHARP Scholar, Jabou worked closely with Dr. Stephanie Cohen at City Clinic. Her project included creating a waiting room survey to determine the client-level barriers in implementing third party billing. She explored the proportion and demographics of insured clients that are unwilling to use insurance to pay for their visits and if that has changed since a previous study conducted in 2012. Her project highlighted these issues and assisted in the restructuring of billing for STD clinics in SFDPH. Jabou also became involved in city-wide projects against the increase of gonorrhea and chlamydia amongst African-American adolescent women of color. After completing SHARP, Jabou returned to Spelman and ultimately plans to enter into a graduate program to complete a Master’s of Public Health. Jabou hopes to continue to explore the various career paths that can potentially lead her to conduct research in fields related to reducing sexual risk behaviors as well as HIV prevention in the global health and infectious disease realm.
Todd graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Public Health and a minor in Chinese in 2015. He applied to the SHARP Internship to build a foundation in public health research methods, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS. As a SHARP scholar, he worked closely with Dr. Glenn-Milo Santos in SURU, assisting in two ongoing studies. One examined the patterns of behavior in substance-using men who have sex with men; the other investigated the use of a drug taken on an as-needed basis in reducing binge drinking and high-risk sexual behavior. Independently, Todd developed a data analysis project on a previous study conducted by Dr. Santos to elucidate associations between patterns of heavy alcohol use and high-risk sexual behavior in MSM living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He aspires to continue working in the HIV/AIDS field through a career in medicine and public health.
Jason is a rising senior at University of California San Diego studying Public Health and Biology. He has strong interests in HIV/AIDS research, infectious disease, migrant and refugee health, and global health. As a SHARP scholar, he worked closely with his mentor, May Sudhinaraset, PhD at UCSF. Jason spent the summer on the Documenting DREAMers study, which aimed to explore the barriers and challenges in health access among undocumented Asian and Pacific Islanders in Northern California. Following SHARP and his undergraduate career, Jason hopes to pursue his MPH in epidemiology followed by a PhD or DrPH.
Vivian is a rising junior at Carleton College and pursuing a degree in Mathematics/Statistics and American Studies. As a SHARP Scholar, she worked with the Substance Use Research Unit (SURU) and created a dataset about the patient, pharmacist, and primary provider communities to assess the feasibility and acceptability of distributing naloxone in tandem with opioid medication for those on chronic opioids. Vivian collected and analyzed the data set in a quantitative and qualitative manner to understand trends and associations within these communities. She ultimately plans to attend graduate school for Biostatistics and Epidemiology.
Xiang (Justin) Cai
Xiang (Justin) Cai is a rising senior at Boston University studying Psychology. As a SHARP scholar, Justin worked closely with Dr Erin Wilson and Sean Arayasirikul. He designed and conducted a qualitative study to explore limitations of Respondent Driven Sampling in recruiting trans*female youths to the SHINE Study. In addition, Justin assisted Dr Galindo to conduct focus groups to explore resiliency factors among trans-Latina participants in the SHINE Study.
After SHARP, Justin will apply to Ph.D programs in Clinical Psychology and MSPH programs during his senior year. He will also conduct an independent research project discovering predictors of mental health disparities among Asian Pacific Islander men who have sex with men.
Juan is originally from El Paso, Texas. He recently graduated from Stanford University where he majored in Human Biology with a concentration in Global Health and Infectious Diseases. Last summer he interned at the German Institute for Human Rights in Berlin where he worked closely with a policy adviser on a project that dealt with resource allocation for HIV programs that target sexual and gender minorities in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a SHARP scholar this past summer, he analyzed data from an international sample of MSM, looking at accessibility and utilization of substance abuse treatment and needle exchange programs. During his time here he honed his skills in epidemiological research before attending Columbia University to pursue an MPH in Health Policy & Management with a Certificate in Infectious Disease Epidemiology. There, he hopes to pursue his interests in HIV-related work, at the intersection of epidemiology and health policy.
After completing his transfer prerequisites at City College of San Francisco, Rafael will be transferring to San Francisco State University as a rising junior majoring in Psychology. As a SHARP scholar, Rafael worked on The EPIC study (Enhancing PrEP in Communities), which is exploring factors that influence adherence and risk behaviors in a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) Demonstration Project in San Francisco, Miami, and Washington DC. He assisted in developing and piloting components of the intervention through conducting follow-up surveys with previous PrEP Demo participants to track post-study PrEP access and use. Additionally, he analyzed a Health Care Provider Questionnaire’s regarding attitudes and perceptions to prescribe PrEP in the Bay Area.
After completing SHARP, Rafael will continue his Bachelors Degree while working as a clinical studies recruiter and community educator at Bridge HIV. His long-term goal is to obtain a DrPH or a PhD in Clinical Psychology or Health Psychology. Rafael is hoping to understand the different paths that can potentially lead him to conduct research, policy work and clinical work in fields related to reducing risky sexual behaviors as well as HIV prevention and treatment, palliative care and gerontology.
Redha is a senior at the University of California, Berkeley pursuing a degree in Integrative Biology and Public Policy. As a SHARP Scholar, Redha led an effort with the Center for Public Health Research to estimate the size of San Francisco’s adult trans*women population. He performed an independent review of common population size estimation methods used in public health research. Realizing that the estimation process is just as critical as the final estimate, Redha highlighted key features of these methods and proceeded to catalogue certain biases that arise from improper implementation and execution. Redha will use his findings to advocate for the allocation of public health resources for trans*women physical, social and mental health programs. He plans to pursue graduate training in medicine and epidemiology in order to forge a career in global health research and planning.
Alexis Andrea Adsit
Following SHARP 2013, Alexis will be finishing her Bachelor’s in Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University and graduating in January 2014. During that time she will be working part-time and plans to apply to Graduate Programs in Sociology in Fall 2014. While in SHARP Alexis worked on examining intersections and how identity impacts experiences, access, and quality of HIV and transition-related care for Transgender Women of Color. She worked closely with Dr. Erin Wilson on a secondary analysis of qualitative interviews conducted with the organization WORLD [Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases]. She found that identity and intersections play a role in care as well as jobs, enrollment in entitlement programs, and places traveled.
“After my time at SHARP I have a better understanding of Public Health as a field, qualitative research methods and analysis, and public health research methodology.”– Alexis Andrea Adsit, 2013 SHARP Scholar
Nathan Kim is a rising 4th year majoring in Public Health at U.C. Berkeley. As a SHARP scholar, Nathan analyzed research literature on the use of Twitter for public health and on sexual risk during gay-related festivities. Then, he researched whether Twitter could serve as real-time surveillance to track alcohol tweets in the SF Bay Area. Nathan’s role included helping to create the Twitter surveillance model while quantitatively and qualitatively analyzing alcohol-related tweets. After SHARP, Nathan will continue his Twitter research with the Das Research Group at the SFDPH and with the Auerswald Research Group for HIV/Homeless Youth at U.C. Berkeley. He ultimately plans to attend medical school and obtain an MPH.
“The SHARP internship has been one of the most influential experiences of my college research career. What makes the SHARP mentors so special is that they set high expectations that we become HIV researchers/leaders while tirelessly providing professional, financial, and personal support.” – Nathan Kim, 2013 SHARP Scholar
Aminta (Minty) Kouyate
Minty Kouyate is a 4th year Psychology major at UC Berkeley. As a SHARP scholar she investigated the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a mobile health adherence support strategy for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP. She conducted focus groups with the staff members that implemented the strategy to learn about staff perceptions of the iText Support Strategy. Aminta worked closely with Dr. Jonathan Fuchs, Dr. Al Liu, and Kristefer Stojanovski. After SHARP Aminta will continue to volunteer with Project Homeless Connect, YEAH!, TEACH 2, and the Black LGBT History Event Planning Committee. She will also continue to work for the Alameda County Public Health Department as a Program Specialist with Emergency Medical Services. She plans to go on to medical school to pursue an MD and an MPH in Epidemiology.
Erikan graduated from Claremont McKenna College in May of 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology. As a SHARP Scholar, Erikan researched the acceptability of PrEP testimonial videos as a strategy to improve uptake and adherence among MSM and transwomen. She created three videos that detailed PrEP users’ decision to take PrEP, experiences, challenges, and advice for potential users. She also conducted DPH staff and community focus groups to elicit feedback and recommendations for improvement. Erikan’s experience as a SHARP Scholar has increased her interest in sustainable and feasible global health strategies that meet the needs of providers and patients.
After SHARP, Erikan will conduct malaria research in Nigeria with UCSF and the Society for Family Health. She would like to thank the SHARP Program, all SHARP mentors, and her fellow Scholars for their confidence in her, constant wisdom, and humor. She looks forward to giving back to the SHARP program by supporting future scholars.
“Prior to arriving at DPH, I was interested in receiving an MPH; yet, I was uncertain about pursuing an MD. This internship has expanded my understanding of public health and medicine and helped me decide to pursue both. Fortunately, I’ve learned that the possibilities within public health are broad and the field allows me to problem solve using research, activism, education, etc. Medicine is now less narrow in my mind because I have asked questions, shadowed, and been introduced to various providers within the medical field. This internship has solidified that I want to combine both passions in the near future and pursue two of the following degrees: MD, MPH, DrPH, PhD, MPAS.” – Erikan Obotetukudo, 2013 SHARP Scholar
Nneka Okeke graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Urban Studies and Planning at the end of Spring 2013. She ultimately plans to pursue an advanced degree in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology, but in the meantime is working on a research project with UCSF in Nigeria. While in SHARP 2013, Nneka worked on a project to calculate disparities in HIV/AIDS care for African-American MSM in San Francisco.
“SHARP has been one of the very best parts of my educational path to date – I’ve deepened my understanding of the research process, gained concrete skills that will allow me to work in the field, and formed relationships with incredible mentors and peers…. In addition, SHARP taught me about the impact that public health interventions have on others. I am now confident that I want to create the research that brings those interventions to life.” – Nneka Okeke, 2013 SHARP Scholar
Ali is a student at City College of San Francisco, and is in the process of applying to transfer to a 4-year university, where he plans to study Human Biology with a minor in Sociology. As a SHARP scholar Ali studied the differences between HIV positive and HIV negative methamphetamine-dependent men who have sex with men. After SHARP Ali will continue his work with SFDPH as an intern, where he will further study methamphetamine-dependent populations in San Francisco. He will also continue his work with SACNAS, a national organization dedicated to increasing the number of minorities attaining careers, positions of leadership, and advanced degrees in science.
“When I reflect upon this past summer, I can honestly say this was the most fulfilling and rewarding summer I have had. When I first received the phone call telling me I was accepted to SHARP, I honestly did a cartwheel and injured my wrist. After this incredible summer, I feel I should have done two cartwheels during that initial phone call.” – Ali Zahir, 2013 SHARP Scholar
Marla Renee Fisher
Following SHARP 2012, Marla Fisher joined the HIV Epidemiology Section at the San Francisco Department of Public Health as a Research Associate on the SHINE Study. She continues to work with her mentor, Dr. Erin Wilson. As SHINE outreach coordinator, Marla has mentored SHARP 2013 interns Lexi Adsit and Nneka Okeke, helping them to build community engagement skills.
Marla is an alumni of City College of San Francisco, finishing her studies just before SHARP. Marla was accepted as a transfer student at Mills College in Oakland beginning January 2013 and has been awarded a Dean’s Scholarship. She is completing a self-designed major in Critical Public Health, with a focus on qualitative research methods and health justice.
Her research interests include sex worker occupational health and Harm Reduction. Marla is a longtime activist for reproductive justice and sex worker rights and currently works as a volunteer HIV test counselor at San Francisco’s St. James Infirmary, a peer-based Harm Reduction clinic serving the sex worker community. She plans to earn her MD and to work as a physician-researcher. As a SHARP Scholar, Marla explored the idea of using Facebook as a tool to keep trans youth engaged in a longitudinal study of HIV risk and resilience. She also pursued her interest in sex worker health by analyzing data from surveys of street-based sex workers in San Francisco and is currently developing a paper on the occupational health needs of this population.
“I can honestly say that SHARP has been one of the very best parts of my educational path to date – I’ve deepened my understanding of the research process, gained concrete skills that will allow me to work in the field, and formed relationships with incredible mentors and peers.” – Marla Renee Fisher, 2012 SHARP Scholar
Taylor entered SHARP just after graduating from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Marketing and a Minor in Sociology in Spring 2012. After spending the summer in the program, Taylor began a PhD program in Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco in the fall. While in SHARP, Taylor worked on a project that explored the possibility of using a smartphone app to collect data from participants in HIV prevention research studies about their sexual behaviors. Taylor’s role in the project included preparing materials for submission to the ethics review committee, helping run focus groups, and analyzing preliminary data.
“The applied nature of the program…brought on new perspectives and approaches to conducting research. Because of SHARP, I am now more confident in my desire to further my education and work with marginalized populations.”
– Taylor Heller, 2012 SHARP Scholar
Jenese graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor’s in Women and Gender Studies at the end of Fall 2012. She ultimately plans to pursue an advanced degree in public health, but in the meantime will be working as a study recruiter and educator for Bridge HIV at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. While in SHARP, Jenese worked on a project to map infection rates among the Black population in San Francisco and culturally competent resources for HIV positive Black women. She used existing data on infections and also took photos of the heavily affected neighborhoods to create these maps.
“SHARP has instilled in me the drive develop and implement strategic ways in which to bridge science and behavioral studies in addressing HIV among women , engaging research that takes into account sexuality, gender identity and culture trauma.”– Jenese Jackson, 2012 SHARP Scholar
Martín entered SHARP as a rising Senior at Stanford University. He completed his Bachelor’s in Biology in Spring 2013, and ultimately plans to go to medical school. As a SHARP scholar, Martín worked on a project that compared how quickly HIV positive individuals were linked to care depending on whether they were diagnosed during the acute or latent stage of infection. His role included conducting a search of journal articles about the linkage of HIV positive individuals to treatment and care, and analyzing data from a local clinic that conducts HIV testing.
“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