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

 

HIV Is an Eligible Group for COVID-19 Vaccine!

The CDC finally included HIV as a medical condition with priority to get the COVID-19 vaccine!

Did you get your COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine is free, but everyone vaccinated must be in an eligible group, wear a mask and bring valid identification. By appointment only, no walk-ups. Everyone eligible for vaccination according to the Alabama Department of Public Health Guidelines can request their vaccination.

Step 1:  If you are in an eligible group such as HIV, request today your free COVID-19 Vaccination appointment!

Step 2: In Birmingham, the following vaccination sites are open for appointments:

    • UAB Hospital Highlands Parking Deck, Birmingham
    • UAB Spain Auditorium sites, Birmingham
    • Hoover Met Complex, 100 Ben Chapman Drive, Hoover
    • Parker High School, Birmingham

    • AOH Cathedral of the Cross Church, Center Point

The Jefferson County Hotline is also available: 205-858-2221

60 Black Health Experts Urge Black Americans to Get Vaccinated

The New York Times published an opinion piece co-signed by 60 Black members of the National Academy of Medicine urging Black Americans to get vaccinated! Opinion | 60 Black Health Experts Urge Black Americans to Get the Covid Vaccine – The New York Times (nytimes.com). Dr. Ada Adimora (Principle Investigator for the UNC MWCCS site) and Dean Selwyn Vickers (School of Medicine, UAB) are among the group of African American Medical Health Experts who have co-signed this article in support.

At a time when American citizens should trust their government to protect them during the COVID-19 pandemic, trust does not come easily for many Black Americans.  Social Media is spreading misinformation about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines, feeding distrust among communities.

Black Americans are far less likely than other groups to intend to get vaccinated against COVID-19. However, pandemic has disproportionately killed African Americans at a rate 1.5 times as high as white Americans in cases in which race is known. That is why it is so important that all Black Americans get vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves

Vaccines are now available and safe (visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/vaccines for COVID-19 Vaccine safety and benefits). The vaccines clinical studies trials were conducted across a diverse group of Americans from all backgrounds, including Black Americans. It is important to mention that teams of Black scientists participated in the development, test and review panels for the vaccines to ensure they are safe and effective. Black public health professionals feel confident that the research was done correctly. They support that everyone – regardless of race – should receive the COVID-19 vaccines.

MWCCS investigators encourage everyone to claim your place in line to get vaccinated!

(Article from Opinion | 60 Black Health Experts Urge Black Americans to Get the Covid Vaccine – The New York Times (nytimes.com))

Did You Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine?

In case you did not, here are a few steps to help you to be vaccinated!

The vaccine is free, but everyone vaccinated must be in an eligible group, wear a mask and bring valid identification. By appointment only, no walk-ups.

Step 1: Visit https://www.uabmedicinevaccine.org/ to see current group of those who are eligible. Everyone eligible for vaccination according to the Alabama Department of Public Health Guidelines can request their vaccination.

Step 2:  If you are in an eligible group, request today your free COVID-19 Vaccination appointment!

Step 3: In Birmingham, the following vaccination sites are open for appointments:

    • UAB Hospital Highlands Parking Deck, Birmingham
    • Hoover Met Complex, 100 Ben Chapman Drive, Hoover
    • Parker High School, Birmingham

The Jefferson County Hotline is also available: 205-858-2221

2020 Research Highlight by the National Cancer Institute at the NIH!

Congratulations to Dr. Sadeep Shrestha, Professor in the UAB Department of Epidemiology! He is part of a team of investigators whose journal articlePrimary HPV and Molecular Cervical Cancer Screening in US Women Living with HIV” was named a 2020 “Research Highlight” by the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program at the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Howard Strickler, Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, led the project with participation of several Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) collaborators. The research on cervical cancer prevention focused on primary human papillomavirus screening with HPV16/18-genotyping in women living with HIV in the U.S. Researchers found that HPV screening with reflex testing for genotypes 16 and 18 resulted in fewer unnecessary colposcopies. If this finding is confirmed by other studies, it could be an important advance for women living with HIV. The UAB MWCCS clinical research study site contributed specimens from nearly 70 women enrolled in the WIHS Cohort.

This achievement exemplifies the strength and importance of data collected by the MWCCS. Congratulations to our UAB MWCCS investigators for the successful collaboration and this exciting new publication!

Full list of access Research Highlights publications is available at https://epi.grants.cancer.gov/news/