Dr. Pariya Wheeler Receives Five-Year $3.3M R01 Grant

Dr. Pariya Fazeli Wheeler, PhD (Associate Professor, Nursing Family, Community, and Health Systems)

Congratulations to Dr. Pariya Wheeler in the UAB School of Nursing Associates. Dr. Wheeler along with Dr. Andrea Norcini Pala of Columbia University was awarded a five-year, $3.3 million dollar R01 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The grant will study the effects of immune activation on neurocognitive impairment and the role of psychosocial factors among women living with HIV. Drs. Wheeler and Pala will utilize existing data and biospecimen available for the women in the MACS/WIHS Combined Cohort Study (MWCCS) to examine the interplay of neurobiological and psychosocial mechanisms underpinning cognitive impairment profiles over time among women living with HIV.

Click HERE to find out more about this exciting research!

1917 Clinic Director James Raper retired after four decades of service in HIV care and advocacy

After over four decades, Professor James Raper, Ph.D., CRNP, J.D., FAAN, FAANP, FIDSA, who has directed the UAB 1917 Clinic since 2007, is retiring December 1, 2022. Dr. Raper has utilize has background in nursing, patient care and law to become a fierce advocate for those living with HIV. With his nursing career spanning over 40 years, Dr. raper has seen the culture of HIV shift from receiving a death sentence to one of living abundantly with HIV and hopes of finding a cure.

Dr. James Raper CRNP, DSN, JD (Professor, Infectious Diseases)

During his leadership, Dr. James Raper has taken the small clinic once located at 1917 fifth Ave. South to a 50,664 square foot facility located east of campus. This nearly tripled the space of the previous location and allowed for the integration of one of 1917’s community partners-Birmingham AIDS Outreach’s Magic City Wellness Center. Also under Dr. Raper’s tenue, the clinic met one of it’s greatest challenges-the matriculation of over 800 patients at one time from the closing of the Cooper Green St.George’s Clinic. This resulted in nearly 97% of former St. George Clinic patients finding a health care home at the UAB 1917 clinic.

He is now stepping into start a new chapter in his life filled with spending time with family and friends, cooking and traveling.

Happy Retirement Dr. James Raper. Thank you for your leadership, love and commitment!!

You can read more about Dr. James Raper’s Retirement by clicking here!!

Introducing Dr. Mirjam-Colette Kempf as our new MWCCS Executive Committee Co-Chair

Recently members of the MWCCS Executive Committee (EC) named our own Principal Investigator Dr. Mirjam-Colette Kempf as the new EC co-chair. This new leadership role within MWCCS involves directing the activities of over 20 scientific research study sites. Dr. Kempf’s goals will be to highlight emerging and cutting-edge HIV-related research utilizing MWCCS resources, share scientific knowledge about technologies and methods that enhance and facilitate strong HIV-related research, and foster cross-disciplinary scientific discussions between colleagues at various institutions. Dr. Kempf will assume this new leadership role on January 1, 2023. Congratulations Dr. Mirjam-Colette Kempf!!!!

Dr. Mirjam-Colette Kempf
Newly Elect Co-Chair of the MWCCS EC

Spotlight on a Recent Publication by UAB-UMMC MWCCS site investigators

Patient Health Literacy and Communication with Providers Among Women Living with HIV: A Mixed Methods Study
Henna Budhwani, C. Ann Gakumo, Ibrahim Yigit, Whitney S. Rice, Faith E. Fletcher, Samantha Whitfield, Shericia Ross, Deborah J. Konkle-Parker, Mardge H. Cohen, Gina M. Wingood, Lisa R. Metsch, Adaora A. Adimora, Tonya N. Taylor, Tracey E. Wilson, Sheri D. Weiser, Oluwakemi Sosanya, Lakshmi Goparaju, Stephen Gange, Mirjam-Colette Kempf, Bulent Turan & Janet M. Turan
AIDS and Behavior (2021)

Congratulations to a number of our UAB-UMMC MWCCS Investigators who recently published a paper in the journal of AIDS and Behavior entitled “Patient Health Literacy and Communication with Providers among Women living with HIV: A Mixed Methods Study. This groundbreaking research headed by Dr. Henna Budhwani explores the relationship between healthcare provider’s communication and patient health literacy on the HIV spectrum of care outcomes among women living with HIV within the United States. Researchers evaluated nearly 100 qualitative interviews with Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) study participants and over 1,400 quantitative survey data entries. The data suggested that a high level of health literacy is directly associated with higher perceived patient-provider interaction quality, which is strongly associated with higher levels of trust in ones HIV provider, better HIV medication adherence, and a reduction in missed clinical visits. Thus increasing provider’s communication and patient’s health literacy levels could have a positive impact on the HIV continuum of care for a women living with HIV in the United States.

Click here to read more.

Spotlight on one of our UAB MWCCS Early Career Investigators – Dr. Kaylee Crockett, Ph.D.

Congratulations to Dr. Kaylee Crockett, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, for being awarded a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development (K23) grant from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Dr. Crockett was also one of the recipients of the 2021-2022 UAB-UMMC MWCCS Developmental Pilot award. Her project entitled “Impact of Intersectional Stigma in Healthcare Settings on Cardiovascular and Neurocognitive Health Outcomes” plans to look at women’s responses to surveys about feeling disrespected while receiving healthcare. She will also look at how those responses relate to tests of their heart health and their brain health. Dr. Crockett believes that better understanding of intersectional stigma’s impact on health outcomes in people with HIV can direct stigma-reduction interventions to the structural level (the healthcare setting)–in addition to individual level behavioral health interventions–to reduce the impact of stigma on pertinent comorbidities of HIV among women.

This is not Dr. Kaylee Crockett’s first involvement with MWCCS. As an MWCCS early career investigator, Crockett has published numerous journal articles utilizing the MWCCS database. This includes a highly critically acclaimed article entitled “Neighborhood Racial Diversity, Socioeconomic Status, and Perceptions of HIV-Related Discrimination and Internalized HIV Stigma Among Women Living with HIV in the United States.”  This article suggest the need for an increase in neighborhood diversity to lessen HIV stigma. 

CLICK HERE to find more information about Dr. Crockett’s K23 award.

Again CONGRATULATIONS Dr. Crockett!!!!

How UAB Researchers Keep Major Studies Moving in a Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic came into our lives in early 2020, the concerns for elderly relatives, family members, and friends became a priority. However for researchers at UAB those concerns were also felt for their tens of thousand study participants, whom many have been following for years. A recently article and YouTube presentation highlighted five UAB faculty members who are all principal investigators of major, large-scale cohort studies.    Each describe how their cohort handled the challenges presented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Mirjam-Colette Kempf, one of our UAB MWCCS principal investigators, was a part of the discussion. CLICK HERE to view the article.

2021-2022 UAB-UMMC MWCCS Developmental Pilot Grant Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2021-2022

UAB-UMMC MWCCS Developmental Pilot Grant Award Recipients


Dr. Jenni Wise, Assistant Professor

Elucidating the Differential Impact of Environmental and Psychosocial Factors on Stress, Inflammation, and Cardiovascular Risk: A Pilot Study among UAB-UMMC MWCCS Participant


Dr. Wei Li, Associate Professor

Proteomic Biomarkers for Assessing Neurocognitive Function in Women Living with HIV


Dr. Kaylee Crockett, Assistant Professor

Impact of Intersectional Stigma in Healthcare Settings on Cardiovascular and Neurocognitive Health Outcomes