STAR Community Link Newsletter
HIV Link is now called STAR Community Link, to reflect the STAR Program’s expansion beyond HIV care and its connection to the local and global communities it serves.
The mission of the Special Treatment and Research (STAR) Program is to provide and enhance quality healthcare locally and globally through the integration of treatment, prevention, research, and education.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The STAR Program joined a multitude of community, business, and LGBTQ agencies at the annual Brooklyn Pride Festival on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope on June 10, 2017. Led by Lori Hurley, LMSW, MPH, STAR’s Assistant Director of Care Coordination, a group of STAR staff members and clients distributed literature and pens, key chains, and water bottles promoting STAR’s prevention and treatment services, including Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a prevention intervention where people at very high risk for HIV take a combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine, sold under the name Truvada®) to help prevent acquiring HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently.
The STAR Program’s LGBT Health Initiative was established in 2015 with the aim of providing excellent medical care to trans women, trans men, gender queer, and gender nonconforming persons in an affirming environment. A designated evening clinic session in the STAR Health Center (Suite J in University Hospital of Brooklyn) offers medical primary care, screening for sexually transmitted infections (STI), hormone therapy, mental health care, case management as well as on-site educational presentations. Specialized services targeting LGBT populations include hormone therapy and high resolution anoscopy (HRA) to screen for anal cancer. For appointments, call (718) 270-3745.
On National HIV Testing Day (June 27), the STAR Program conducted free HIV testing on campus. The theme, “Each One, Bring One,” encouraged individuals seeking HIV testing to bring another person with them for HIV testing. Walgreens provided lunch and giveaways.
Shante Austin joined the STAR Program in November 2016 as a Patient Navigator. She previously interned at the Ali Forney Center as a prevention peer navigator engaging high risk and homeless LGBT individuals in care. She also worked with HIV+ clients at Gay Men of African Descent, and conducted outreach with The New York Blood Center in their efforts to promote PreP and end stigma in Brooklyn.
Alecia Charles, MPH first joined the STAR Program in June 2011 as a Research Associate on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funded Ready-To-Respond project and has recently returned as a Benefits Specialist for the PrEP/PEP Program. Alecia obtained her Master of Public Health at SUNY Downstate’s School of Public Health. Prior to joining Downstate, she conducted health education classes at Beth Israel Medical Center and provided services to HIV+ individuals at BronxWorks. Alecia brings 7 years of experience working with marginalized populations, and is dedicated to helping the disenfranchised to achieve and maintain optimal health.
Nicolette Dakin, LMSW joined the STAR Program in November 2016 as a Counselor with the Harm Reduction Program. Prior to joining STAR, Nicolette was a Social Worker with Institute for Community Living PROS Program, a day-treatment program for individuals with severe mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders, providing crisis intervention, case management, individual and group counseling. She also worked on a CDC contract as Social Work Team Lead, providing health education to medically high-risk passengers entering the US and as a Group Facilitator at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan. Nicolette graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Psychology and Gender Studies from SUNY Purchase College and earned her MSW at New York University.
Gerardine Francois joined the STAR Program in January 2017 as a Patient Navigator. Gerardine has significant experience in the human service field working with adolescents and adults on health promotion and higher education preparation. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brooklyn College and is fluent in Creole. She is pursuing a Master of Social Work degree at Adelphi University.
Sara Harvey joined the STAR Program in May 2017 as a Social Media Specialist. She previously worked with the SUNY Downstate Medical Alumni Association, the US Department of Arts and Culture, and Northern Spy Records in a communications capacity. Before this, she was a general news reporter for The Greenville News in Greenville, South Carolina, and several community newspapers in Virginia and Pennsylvania. She holds a BA in Print Journalism.
Alex Joinville, LMHC joined the STAR Program as a Counselor/Senior Case Manager with the Supportive Counseling Program in April 2017. Prior to joining STAR, Alex worked as a mental health specialist at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) Manhattan Mobile Crisis Team, where he provided crisis intervention, assessment and linkage to individuals going through psychological distress. Additionally, he worked with VNSNY’s Act Team, Behavioral Health Transition Program and Intensive Case Management Program. He also worked at WIN West providing services to individuals living in a single women’s mental health shelter. He received a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University and has a license in mental health counseling. He has over 17 years of experience in the social service field including mental health, substance abuse and child welfare.
Vanesa Lauradin, BA joined the STAR Program in January 2017 as a Patient Navigator. Vanesa has significant experience working with individuals with HIV. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique from May 2014 to July 2016. She created HIV adherence groups at a local hospital in Mozambique and did weekly health promotions about various health topics including nutrition, HIV and malaria. She also worked for the NYC Commission for Human Rights as a research assistant for a large audit study on housing discrimination. Vanesa earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University and is fluent in Creole and Portuguese.
Tyler Martinson was selected for the STAR Program’s Employee Recognition Award in January 2017. Tyler, Care Coordinator for STAR’s Ryan White medical case management (MCM) program, has demonstrated excellent customer service with both patients and staff across all disciplines. Tyler demonstrates outstanding teamwork within the MCM program and coordinates care very efficiently with the patient care team. The quality and productivity of his work have been instrumental to the program’s success. Additionally, Tyler has voluntarily taken a leadership role in the viral load QI committee and has been gathering data and developing interventions that assist patients who have not achieved viral suppression. Tyler joined STAR as a Patient Navigator in 2013 after working as a Fulbright scholar in Rabat, Morocco, providing HIV/AIDS prevention, psychosocial support and advocacy for trans-Saharan migrants. He is currently completing his post-baccalaureate pre-med studies at Hunter College.
Hector Ojeda-Martinez, MD joined the STAR Program in January 2017 as a Clinical Assistant Professor and STAR Health Center clinician. He received his MD at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, did internal medicine fellow-
ships at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center and The Mount Sinai Hospital, and did an infectious disease fellowship at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Ojeda-Martinez has been named as Director of HIV Prevention and LGBTQ Health.
Nickisha Sanders was selected for the STAR Program’s Employee Recognition Award in May 2017. Nickie has worked in STAR’s Information Services Unit since 2005 providing data entry for our Ryan White funded programs. In addition, as a Certified Medical Assistant, she has provided coverage for the Family-Focused HIV Health Care Program (FFHCP) prenatal clinic as needed. Nickie is highly diligent, going the extra mile when required to make sure that all data for programs are entered completely, accurately and by deadline. She readily undertakes new responsibilities with commitment and strives for excellence in all activities of her position. Nickie is now Data Manager for our eSHARE programs, including Medical Case Management, Status Neutral, PrEP/PEP, Harm Reduction and Supportive Counseling.
Ramaswamy Viswanathan, MD, DrMedSc, associate professor of psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and psychiatric consultant to the STAR Program, was honored at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) held recently in San Diego. Dr. Viswanathan received the APA Foundation’s 2016 George Tarjan Award and the APA’s 2017 Ronald A. Shellow Award. He also has been elected to the Board of Trustees of the APA. Named after APA’s first international medical graduate (IMG) president, the George Tarjan Award recognizes a physician who has made significant contributions to the enhancement of integration of IMGs into American psychiatry. Dr. Viswanathan received the Ronald A. Shellow Award for his “enduring commitment” and “outstanding work” through his service to the APA Assembly. Dr. Viswanathan is also chair of the Psychiatry Grand Rounds Committee, and director of consultation liaison psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine at SUNY Downstate. Dr. Viswanathan received his medical degree from Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University in Chennai (formerly Madras), India. He completed an internship in internal medicine at the former Brooklyn Cumberland Medical Center, a residency in internal medicine at the former LIJ-Queens Hospital Center program, and a residency in psychiatry and fellowship in psychosomatic medicine at SUNY Downstate, from which he also received a Doctor of Medical Science degree. He has provided psychiatric services to people living with HIV since 1989. He is board certified in psychiatry as well as addiction psychiatry.
Funding of the New York State International Training and Research Program (NYS-ITRP) in Ukraine: In 2017, the NYS-ITRP was awarded an additional $1.5 million 5 year grant to develop and implement the “Ukraine HIV Research Training Program” to build capacity in implementation science research that addresses gaps in HIV care in Ukraine. This program aims to decrease the burden of HIV disease through the systematic HIV-related research training of investigators and by increasing in-country training capacity. Our key collaborating institutions in Ukraine are the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy School of Public Health (SPH NaUKMA) and the Ukrainian Institute for Public Health Policy (UIPHP). Our key collaborator at the SPH NaUKMA is Tetiana Stepurko, PhD, Head of the Master’s program in “Health Care Management” at the SPH. Dr. Stepurko received a joint PhD from the SPH NaUKMA and Maastricht University, is an Associate Editor of BMC Health Services Research. UIPHP, a research focused NGO is directed by Tetiana Kiriazova, PhD, who has been working in the field of HIV policy and prevention in Ukraine for 20 years. A recipient of short-term training from the NYS-ITRP, she has participated as a faculty member in our in-country workshops including a 2016 workshop in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Training opportunities developed through this funding will include support for a Master’s degree in the SPH NaUKMA School of Public Health, enhancement of the HIV epidemiology curriculum as well as a 9-month certificate in HIV Implementation Science through the University at Albany School of Public Health. Ultimately, we plan to collaboratively develop a Certificate in HIV Research and Implementation Science at the SPH NaUKMA.
Corrections to Community Award: The STAR Program (Yager, PI) was awarded $550,000 over 5 years from the NYS Department of Health AIDS Institute’s Corrections to Community Care Continuum. The project, to start in August 2017, will provide comprehensive care to previously incarcerated HIV+ individuals coming home to Brooklyn. This grant is the first step in the development of Back to Brooklyn, a model of care to provide immediate access to comprehensive medical care, behavioral health care and support services to the previously incarcerated. Through Dr. Jessica Yager’s efforts, the STAR Health Center has joined the Transitions Clinic Network (TCN), a network of 14 clinics throughout the US and Puerto Rico, all of which provide transitional and primary care as well as intensive case management for individuals with chronic diseases recently released from prison. Key elements central to the TCN clinic model include: 1) easy access to comprehensive primary care; 2) respectful, timely, and culturally competent care; 3) integration of case management and support from trained community health workers (CHWs) who were previously incarcerated themselves; and 4) close partnerships with correctional facilities, local reentry organizations and the community to provide needed social support services and to address social determinants of health. The AIDS Institute funded program will allow STAR to hire a previously incarcerated Community Linkage Specialist/Community Health Worker to facilitate linkage, navigation and maintenance in care. Two additional grants are pending; if funded, these grants will allow us to extend CHW services to anyone released from incarceration regardless of HIV status.
Rebchook G, Keatley J, Contreras R, Perloff J, Molano LF, Reback CJ, Ducheny K, Nemoto T, Birnbaum J; SPNS Transgender Women of Color Study Group. The Transgender Women of Color Initiative: Implementing and Evaluating Innovative Interventions to Enhance Engagement and Retention in HIV Care. Am J Public Health. 2017 Feb;107(2):224-229.
Ompad DC, Wang J, Dumchev K, Barska J, Samko M, Zeziulin O, Saliuk T, Varetska O, DeHovitz J. Patterns of harm reduction service utilization and HIV incidence among people who inject drugs in Ukraine: A two-part latent profile analysis. Int J Drug Policy. 2017 Feb 1;43:7-15.
Makarenko I, Ompad DC, Sazonova Y, Saliuk T, DeHovitz J, Gensburg L. Trends in Injection Risk Behaviors among People Who Inject Drugs and the Impact of Harm Reduction Programs in Ukraine, 2007-2013. J Urban Health. 2017 Jan 17.
Thurn M, Gustafson DR. Faces of Frailty in Aging with HIV Infection. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2017 Feb;14(1):31-37.
Ascher SB, Scherzer R, Peralta CA, Tien PC, Grunfeld C, Estrella MM, Abraham A, Gustafson DR, Nowicki M, Sharma A, Cohen MH, Butch AW, Young MA, Bennett MR, Shlipak MG. Association of Kidney Function and Early Kidney Injury With Incident Hypertension in HIV-Infected Women. Hypertension. 2017 Feb;69(2):304-313.
Westreich D, Cates J, Cohen M, Weber KM, Seidman D, Cropsey K, Wright R, Milam J, Young MA, Mehta CC, Gustafson DR, Golub ET, Fischl MA, Adimora AA. Smoking, HIV, and risk of pregnancy loss. AIDS. 2017 Feb 20;31(4):553-560.
Sharma A, Ma Y, Scherzer R, Wheeler AL, Cohen M, Gustafson DR, Keating SM, Yin MT, Tien PC. Brief Report: Association of Adipokines With Bone Mineral Density in HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Women. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2016 Dec 1;73(4):433-437.
Karakash SD, Tschankoshvili N, Weedon J, Schwartz RM, Kirschbaum C, Minkoff H. Hypocortisolism and preterm birth. J Neonatal Perinatal Med. 2016;9(4):333-339.
Terplan M, Minkoff H. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Ethical Approaches to the Identification of Pregnant Women Who Use Drugs. Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Jan;129(1):164-167.
Massad LS, Evans CT, Kang R, Hotton A, Greenblatt R, Minkoff H, Murphy K, Colie C, Weber KM. Correlates of Bacterial Vaginosis Over Long-Term Follow-Up: Impact of HIV Infection. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2016 Dec 16.
Haddad LB, Wall KM, Mehta CC, Golub ET, Rahangdale L, Kempf MC, Karim R, Wright R, Minkoff H, Cohen M, Kassaye S, Cohan D, Ofotokun I, Cohn SE. Trends of and factors associated with live-birth and abortion rates among HIV-positive and HIV-negative women. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Jan;216(1):71.e1-71.e16.
Rubtsova AA, Kempf MC, Taylor TN, Konkle-Parker D, Wingood GM, Holstad MM. Healthy Aging in Older Women Living with HIV Infection: a Systematic Review of Psychosocial Factors. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2017 Feb;14(1):17-30.
Adams LM, Wilson TE, Merenstein D, Milam J, Cohen J, Golub ET, Adedimeji A, Cook JA. Using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale to Assess Depression in Women With HIV and Women at Risk for HIV: Are Somatic Items Invariant? Psychol Assess. 2017 Feb 23.
Ludema C, Cole SR, Eron JJ Jr, Edmonds A, Holmes GM, Anastos K, Cocohoba J, Cohen M, Cooper HL, Golub ET, Kassaye S, Konkle-Parker D, Metsch L, Milam J, Wilson TE, Adimora AA. Impact of Health Insurance, ADAP, and Income on HIV Viral Suppression Among US Women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study, 2006-2009. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2016 Nov 1;73(3):307-312.
Hanna DB, Jung M, Xue X, Anastos K, Cocohoba JM, Cohen MH, Golub ET, Hessol NA, Levine AM, Wilson TE, Young MA, Kaplan RC. Trends in Nonlipid Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor Management in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study and Association with Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2016 Oct;30(10):445-454.
Wilson TE, Weedon J, Cohen MH, Golub ET, Milam J, Young MA, Adedimeji AA, Cohen J, Fredrickson BL. Positive affect and its association with viral control among women with HIV infection. Health Psychol. 2017 Jan;36(1):91-100.
Minkoff H, Zafra K, Amrita S, Wilson TE, Homel P. Physician morality and perinatal decisions. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2016 Nov;206:36-40.
Decker MR, Benning L, Weber KM, Sherman SG, Adedimeji A, Wilson TE, Cohen J, Plankey MW, Cohen MH, Golub ET. Physical and Sexual Violence Predictors: 20 Years of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study Cohort. Am J Prev Med. 2016 Nov;51(5):731-742.
All programs listed below are part of SUNY Downstate Medical Center. For more information about the services each program provides, please call the numbers listed or the STAR Program at:
(718) 270-2301 or 4736
PATIENT CARE AND SERVICES
STAR Health Center (SHC):
Behavioral Health Services:
Family-Centered Care Program:
(FCCP) (718) 270-2357 or 3745
Health & Education Alternatives For Teens (HEAT) Program:
Infant and Child Learning Center (ICLC):
COMMUNITY AND MEDICAL EDUCATION
Prevention Services for Adolescent and Young Adults – SUNY Adolescent Education Program (AEP)/Teens Helping Each Other (THEO):
HIV Residency Track:
Physician Assistant HIV Track:
Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS):
Jack A. DeHovitz, MD, MPH, MHCDS, FACP
Kathleen A. Russell, MPH, JD
Mary Crymes, RN
Ellen Honey, LMSW
Christopher Jimenez, LMHC, CASAC
David Odegaard, MPH
Adrienne Pierce, MS
Christine Rucker, MA
Kathleen Russell, MPH, JD
Phone: (718) 270-2301
Fax: (718) 270-3386