Mentors and staff
The co-directors and program faculty of the Visiting Professor program serve as a mentor to one or more of the CAPS Visiting Professors.
Co-director Tor Neilands, PhD
Co-director Emily Arnold, PhD, MPH
Co-director Mallory Johnson, PhD
Co-director Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH
Co-director Jim Sorensen, PhD
Program faculty Sonya Arreola, PhD, MPH
Program faculty Cherrie Boyer, PhD
Program faculty Susan Buchbinder, MD
Program faculty Steven Deeks, MD
Program faculty Peter Hunt, MD
Program faculty Jesus Ramirez-Vallez, PhD, MPH
Program faculty Glenn-Milo Santos, PhD, MPH
Program faculty Sheri Weiser, MD, MPH, MA
Program staff Dale Danley, MPH
Torsten B. Neilands, PhD
Professor, Department of Medicine Dr. Neilands is the Director of the CAPS Methods Core, which provides technical support to CAPS scientists in qualitative and quantitative methods and in behavioral and biomedical measurement. Since beginning work at CAPS in 2001, he has been a data analyst, statistical consultant, and co-investigator on more than eighty research projects, most of which were NIH-sponsored. His areas of interest include social and behavioral science statistical methods (e.g., mediation analysis, latent variable methods, and scale development) and approaches for analyzing longitudinal and clustered data. Dr. Neilands obtained bachelor’s degrees in English Literature and Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a PhD in Social Psychology with a concentration in quantitative methods, he worked for eight years as a full-time statistical consultant and trainer for researchers in a wide variety of academic disciplines. Dr. Neilands serves as a resource to participants in the program by helping them design quantitative studies, peer-reviewing their grant proposals and working to craft data analysis sections for proposals. He also assists program participants with sample size calculations, survey instrument development, hypothesis generation, and study design issues. Click here for more information on Dr. Neilands.
Emily Arnold, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine Dr. Arnold’s research agenda is primarily devoted to reducing HIV-related health disparities for African American men who have sex with men, with a strong emphasis on community collaborative research designs and building HIV-prevention intervention programs. As an anthropologist, Dr. Arnold has a great deal of experience in conducting and teaching others to do qualitative and mixed methods research and she has worked with various research teams, as well as post-doctoral research fellows, international trainees, graduate students, medical students, and community members to implement these research designs. Building community collaborative partnerships have been an essential part of Dr. Arnold’s research agenda, from the point of forming community advisory boards to weigh in on data collection instruments to disseminating findings back to community members. Her current studies include testing an HIV-prevention intervention for African American men who have sex with men and women using a randomized controlled trial, developing an intervention to promote sexual health through social networks among sexual and ethnic minority youth involved in house ball communities and gay families, understanding barriers to integrate behavioral health and HIV-related services for people with severe mental illness, and several policy-related studies on the impact of a changing health care delivery system on PLWHA and the agencies that serve them. Click here for more information on Dr. Arnold.
Mallory Johnson, PhD
Professor, Department of Medicine Dr. Johnson is a licensed clinical health psychologist whose research has focused on understanding, measuring, and improving the health of patients with chronic diseases such as HIV. His program of multidisciplinary collaborative research is focused on improving HIV treatment outcomes through patient empowerment. His teaching mission is primarily achieved through mentoring of early-career investigators. He is the Director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) and Co-Director for the UCSF Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), for which he oversees the Developmental Core. Click here for more information on Dr. Johnson.
Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine in the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine Dr. Gandhi is the Director of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the Medical Director of the HIV Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital ("Ward 86"). Dr. Gandhi's research program has investigated hair concentrations of antiretrovirals as a biomarker in resource-poor settings. Dr. Gandhi also works on pre-exposure prophylaxis and treatment strategies for HIV infection in women. Dr. Gandhi served as the principal investigator of an NIH mentoring grant to nurture early career investigators in HIV research, from which launched the "Mentoring the Mentors" workshop held annually to train mid- and senior-level HIV researchers on tools and techniques of effective mentoring. Click here for more information on Dr. Gandhi.
James L. Sorensen, PhD
Professor In Residence, Department of Psychiatry Dr. Sorensen began work in substance abuse treatment research more than twenty-five years ago, directing a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded double-blind investigation of detoxification from heroin. He developed and evaluated a community network approach to drug abuse treatment, assessed family therapy’s efficacy with methadone maintenance patients, tested the efficacy of small-group HIV education with drug users, evaluated the impact of case management for substance abusers with HIV/AIDS, investigated the utility of treating methadone maintenance patients in a therapeutic community, and conducted several studies of how to help people who inject drugs to better adhere to their HIV medications. Dr. Sorensen also leads the Western States Node of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network and a NIDA T32 training program in substance use treatment research. His research has focused on how to improve the treatment that we provide to people with substance use disorders. Click here for more information on Dr. Sorensen.
Program Faculty Mentors
Sonya Arreola, PhD, MPH
Dr. Arreola is a social scientist with expertise in community-based participatory action research, education, and advocacy focused on the health and well-being of sexually and ethnically marginalized groups. For example, she has examined how contextual and sociocultural factors conspire to create unhealthy conditions for Latino gay men; structural factors that impact the sexual health of migrant day laborers; and the social determinants of HIV prevention and care among gay men globally. She currently serves as Research Director for the Gay Men and Aging Study where she and the research team examine relationships among health, structural racism and discrimination, resources, and biomarkers of health among African American, Asian American, Latinx, and White older gay men.
Cherrie B. Boyer, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine Dr. Boyer is a Professor of Pediatrics based in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine where she serves as the Associate Division Director for Research and Academic Affairs. She is an internationally recognized health psychologist with nearly 30 years of research experience in the area of adolescent and young adult health. Dr. Boyer has been the recipient of many grant awards and has been a productive investigator, publishing widely in the area of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention in adolescents and young adults. Her program of research focuses on the development and evaluation of cognitive-behavioral and community-level intervention strategies utilizing both culturally competent and positive youth development frameworks to promote sexual health and to reduce the risk of STIs, HIV, and unintended pregnancy and their sequelae in adolescents and young adults (youth). Such interventions have been implemented in various groups, including high school students, teen and STD clinic patients, among at-risk youth residing in high STI prevalent urban neighborhoods, and military personnel, both domestically and internationally. Moreover, for the past 10 years, Dr. Boyer was a member of the NIH-funded Adolescent Trials Network (ATN) where she served as a lead investigator and collaborated on a number of community-based participatory research community mobilization studies to examine social determinants and structural barriers to improve HIV prevention for at risk youth and linkage, engagement and retention in long-term HIV healthcare for HIV-infected youth. She is currently working with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Community Health Equity and Promotion Branch to conduct community-engaged research to better understand social determinants associated with increased rates of STIs in San Francisco youth with the end goal of designing age-appropriate and culturally-tailored prevention strategies to reduce their risk and acquisition of STIs. Click here for more information on Dr. Boyer.
Susan Buchbinder, MD
Clinical Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Dr. Buchbinder is Director of Bridge HIV, a research unit housed at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. She has conducted HIV prevention intervention trials for over 30 years, and co-founded the 300+ member San Francisco Getting to Zero Consortium. She led the San Francisco clinical trial site in conducting PrEP studies in the US from their inception, including the CDC-funded Phase 2 study, iPrEx, and several HPTN trials. She received funding for the first PrEP demonstration project outside of clinical trials in the US and also led studies to determine how to maximize the impact of PrEP at a population level and studies of novel interventions to increase PrEP uptake, adherence, and persistence among diverse cohorts of MSM and transgender women. Click here for more information on Dr. Buchbinder.
Steven G. Deeks, MD
Professor of Medicine in Residence, Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine Dr. Deeks is a recognized expert on HIV-associated immune dysfunction and its impact on HIV persistence and health during antiretroviral therapy. Dr. Deeks is one of the principal investigators of DARE (the Delaney AIDS Research Enterprise), an NIH-funded international collaboratory aimed at developing therapeutic interventions to cure HIV infection. Click here or more information on Dr. Deeks.
Peter Hunt, MD
Professor of Medicine, Division of Experimental Medicine at UCSF Dr. Hunt serves as Co-Director of the UCSF-GIVI Center for AIDS Research (for basic and translational science) and as a member of the Leadership Committee of the UCSF AIDS Research Institute. His primary research focus is on causes and consequences of immune activation in HIV infection. His clinic-based translational research program seeks to understand the determinants of persistent immune activation both in the presence and the absence of antiretroviral therapy, and to assess the impact of immune activation on HIV persistence, multi-morbidity, and mortality. Click here for more information on Dr. Hunt.
Jesus Ramirez-Valles, PhD, MPH
Chief and Professor, Division of Prevention Science Dr. Ramirez-Valles is director of the Division of Prevention Science. He is also Walter Gray Professor on HIV/AIDS Science of the AIDS Research Institute. His research and advocacy have centered on the challenges of health and health care for excluded communities, including LGBTQI populations, people of color, and women. He previously served as the director of the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University and as chair of the department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health. Click here for more information on Dr. Ramirez-Valles.
Glenn-Milo Santos, PhD, MPH
Professor, Department of Community Health Systems (UCSF School of Nursing) Dr. Santos obtained his Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Translational Sciences at UCSF. His research agenda aims to develop interventions to reduce substance use and HIV-related sexual risk behaviors among key populations at risk for HIV, including men who have sex with men, transgender individuals, and people who use drugs. He is PI of five NIH-funded studies evaluating the efficacy of combination interventions (pharmacologic agents with counseling modalities) among substance-using populations. In addition, he is interested in evaluating the impact of alcohol and substance use on HIV treatment and care among HIV-positive individuals. Dr. Santos is also a Senior Research Scientist at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In addition to serving as a mentor with the Visiting Professor program, Dr. Santos is co-director of the Traineeship for AIDS Prevention Studies post-doctoral program and is a faculty mentor for multiple UCSF training programs, including the Biobehavioral Research Program in Symptom Science, the Postdoctoral Traineeship in Substance Use Disorders Treatment and Services Research, the National Clinician Scholars Program, and a summer program for underrepresented minority undergraduate students. Click here for more information on Dr. Santos.
Sheri Weiser, MD, MPH, MA
Professor of Medicine, Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine Dr. Weiser’s research focuses on the impact of food insecurity and other social and structural factors on treatment outcomes for HIV and other chronic diseases. She is currently leading several NIH-funded longitudinal studies to understand impacts of material needs insecurities (including food insecurity) on HIV treatment outcomes, cardiovascular risk, and aging outcomes among HIV-infected individuals. Click here for more information on Dr. Weiser.
Dale Danley, MPH
Staff Dale Danley began working as a program staff for the Visiting Professor program in 2011. Since completing a Masters of Public Health in 1998, he has conducted clinical research studies, managed health access programs, and worked at a foundation making grants. Click here for Dale's UCSF profile.