CAPS Implementation Science and Health Systems Core

The Implementation Science and Health Systems (IS/HS) Core advances CAPS’ scientific mission to help end to the HIV epidemic and associated inequities by equipping scientists with the skills and expertise to conduct research that brings proven-effective interventions to scale in diverse settings. HIV intervention science now includes a robust toolkit, including biomedical approaches for primary and secondary prevention (e.g., PrEP, voluntary medical male circumcision, ART), effective behavioral strategies (e.g., patient navigation, condom promotion), and interventions to address social-structural barriers to prevention and care (e.g., empowerment, mobilization, gender transformative and gender affirming approaches). These tools can improve health outcomes and prevent new HIV infections—but only if used in optimal combinations, supported by diverse stakeholders, and delivered in settings responsive to the needs of the most affected populations. We offer concrete ways to bring our efficacious interventions to their full potential, by meeting the complex needs of vulnerable communities and integrating science-based HIV prevention into routine practice across health delivery settings and systems.


The Implementation Science and Health Systems (IS/HS, formerly Intervention & Implementation) Core provides consultations to investigators developing, adapting, implementing, scaling, and evaluating interventions.

To request a consultation, please contact Rochelle Blanco.

Examples of consultation areas include:

  • Intervention development research
    • Methods for gathering formative data
    • Designing an intervention from formative research
    • Using theory (e.g., behavioral models) and methods (e.g., intervention mapping) to develop an intervention
    • Incorporating public health considerations at the community-, structural-, individual-levels
    • Utilizing mixed-methods approaches to intervention design
  • Intervention efficacy research
    • Clinical trial designs
    • Approaches for establishing intervention efficacy when a traditional clinical trial design is not feasible
    • Utilizing a data safety and monitoring board (DSMB)
    • Building on intervention efficacy (moving towards effectiveness research)
  • Implementation Science research
    • Issues to consider in clinic-based implementation research
    • Theories and frameworks that guide implementation science design
    • Adapting evidence-based interventions to new settings
    • Quasi-experimental and hybrid designs in implementation research
    • Mixed-methods evaluation of implementation processes
    • Using research and analysis approaches to understand and shape HIV-related policies
    • Approaches to gain an understanding of organizational, political, and social structures impacting implementation and sustainability of programming
  • Health systems research
    • Integrating interventions and services in both traditional (health care facilities) and nontraditional healthcare settings (community settings, retail locations, mobile vans, home-based)
    • Measurement methods to assess organizational systems, clinical and community contexts, and process and outcome measures
    • Leveraging the benefits of electronic health record (EHR) data to advance health systems research
    • Matching interventions to participant needs (e.g., personalized and patient-centered medicine)
    • Conducting analyses of policies that affect health systems, including environmental scans
    • Mapping health systems

Town Halls, Skills Building Workshops, and Mini-Conferences

The IS/HS Core sponsors Town Halls highlighting innovative intervention and implementation science with a particular focus on promoting health equity.  Sessions are held as part of the Division’s standing CAPS/PRC Town Hall series, which is held on Tuesdays at 11:00 AM. 

To present your work at our Town Halls or request speakers of interest, please contact Rochelle Blanco.

2020/21 Town Hall Series highlights:

  1. Adapting HIV and Other Health Interventions to Distance Models and Interruptions in times of COVID-19: A 4-Part Implementation Science Series

This series explored means of adapting our research in the era of COVID-19, including digital approaches and adaptations to intervention implementation, ethical considerations around study adaptations; data analysis approaches for studies spanning the pre- and during-COVID eras; and study designs for evaluating the impact of COVID-19-related interventions and interruptions.

  1. Laying Foundations of Trust: Moving Towards Health Equity (4 Sessions)

This series explored core social and behavioral aspects of trust and engagement with public health measures in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic with an eye towards lessons from work in HIV.  It aimed to stimulate dialogue that can shape programmatic and research agendas that address structural inequities in public health and medicine through discussions on the legacy of racism and building trust, community engagement, risk and decision-making, and harm reduction.

Workshops and Conferences: 

The IS/HS Core leadership is currently designing skills building seminars and workshops to address topics such as: implementation science theory and strategies; methods to select implementation strategies that encourage intervention uptake and integration; and approaches for adaptation of proven effective interventions into health systems or nontraditional settings.  

In future years (2023), the IS/HS Core will co-sponsor small conferences with UCSF partners to catalyze innovations in evidence-based programing.  Information on conferences is forthcoming.  All workshop and conference information will be announced on the website and promoted on the CAPS listserv.  To sign up for the listserv, please contact Rochelle Blanco.

Peer Review

IS/HS Core faculty and scientists are available to peer review conference abstracts, manuscripts, and grant proposals. Send peer review requests to Stuart Gaffney.

Collaboration Opportunities and Bi-Directional Learning

The Core will offer structured activities (talks, seminars, consultations) to develop capacity and partnerships to work across systems (e.g. housing, correctional facilities, food subsidies) to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions that address the needs of individuals facing multiple vulnerabilities. Towards this end, in collaboration with the CE Core, the IS/HS Core will continue to build an extensive network of collaborators, with partners from within and outside the traditional health system.  

To inquire into potential partnerships and collaborative opportunities, please contact Barbara Green-Ajufo.

IS/HS Faculty

Primary Faculty

The Core’s primary faculty are responsible for developing and managing most of the Core’s programming, and are available for consultation in their areas of expertise.

To request a consultation with a faculty member, please contact Rochelle Blanco.

Table 1. Core Faculty


Role on Core

Areas of Expertise

Sheri Lippman, PhD, MPH

Core Director

Epidemiology, international intervention and implementation research, study design, situational/contextual analysis, measurement methods

Wayne Steward, PhD, MPH

Core Co-Director

Health services and systems research, HIV policy, health record systems, social psychology, domestic intervention and implementation research

Judith Auerbach, PhD

Core Scientist

Science policy, HIV treatment & prevention plans, sociology; socio-behavioral aspects of biomedical prevention

Edwin Charlebois, PhD, MPH

Core Scientist

Analytic approaches for IS, modeling and simulations, epidemiology, biostatistics, co-morbidities

Margaret Handley, PhD

Core Scientist

Implementation science theory, frameworks, study design, integrated care models, chronic disease prevention, health disparities

Janet Myers, PhD, MPH

Core Scientist

Monitoring and evaluation, health services and systems research, translation of proven-effective interventions, sociology

Ida Sim, MD, PhD

Core Scientist

Primary care, informatics, health data integration, mobile and digital health

Jennifer Velloza, PhD, MPH

Core Scientist

Implementation science theories, models, and frameworks; epidemiology; socio-behavioral intervention development and adaptation; mixed methods; study designs; integrated care models; differentiated care delivery; HIV and mental health

Affiliated Faculty and Investigators

The Core’s affiliated faculty includes additional scientists with expertise relevant to the Core’s mission. Affiliated faculty members work across the intervention spectrum, including intervention development and testing, implementation science research, policy research. Affiliated faculty contribute to Core’s town halls and meetings. They also may be called upon for consultations and peer reviews.

To request a consultation with an affiliated faculty member, please contact Rochelle Blanco.

Table 2. Affiliated Faculty


Role on Core

Areas of Expertise

Oliver Bacon, MD, MPH

Affiliated Faculty

Implementation of Rapid ART, same day PrEP initiation, biomedical prevention of HIV transmission

William Brown III, PhD, DrPH

Affiliated Faculty

Biomedical informatics, data integration, analysis of large data sets (big data), machine learning, data visualization, mHealth

Carol Dawson-Rose, PhD

Affiliated Faculty

Intersection of mental illness, trauma, HIV and substance use; clinical implementation studies, mixed methods

Willi McFarland, MD, PhD, DTM&H

Affiliated Faculty

Epidemiology, surveillance; sampling methods, key population prevention interventions

John Sauceda, PhD

Affiliated Faculty

Use of multiphase optimization strategies in study design, cross-cultural intervention research, psychology

Starley Shade, PhD

Affiliated Faculty

Study design, sample size calculation and application of implementation science theory (e.g. Proctor Model, RE-AIM, Precede-Proceed, etc.) to real-world settings

Ariane van der Straten, MD, PhD

Affiliated Faculty

 End user preferences, acceptability and adherence to PrEP and other biomedical prevention strategies, qualitative research, research in LMIC settings

Sheri Weiser, MD, MPH

Affiliated Faculty

Impact of social and structural factors on treatment outcomes; impacts of material needs insecurities including food insecurity on HIV treatment outcomes, cardiovascular risk, and aging outcomes among HIV-infected persons; Clinical trials; Evaluating interventions