Emily Arnold, PhD

Associate Professor

My research interests lie at the intersections of culture and health behavior, particularly as this relates to gender, sexuality, and HIV-related risk behavior. Much of my work has been concerned with sexual culture among gay and bisexual men, and its influence on sexual identity, sexual behavior, and HIV-related risk practices. I am also interested in identifying culturally appropriate HIV prevention intervention mechanisms to reach young gay and bisexual men. Over the past several years, I have also become committed to using community collaborative research approaches to alleviate health disparities, particularly those impacting ethnic and sexual minority communities. Building on my interest in teaching and mentoring, I have also become formally involved in the Visiting Professors program at CAPS, which is supported through several R25 training mechanisms, and is devoted to alleviating health disparities by broadening the pipeline of scholars from marginalized communities who are able to conduct rigorous research.



One of my primary research agendas has been related to examining social networks and social support in the ballroom community, which consists of family-like houses, in the Bay Area. With additional quantitative training I obtained through my K award, I have explored the implications that houses and gay families, operationalized as social networks, may have on the provision of social support for young African American gay and bisexual men and its association with HIV-related risk behavior. This innovative project consisted of a two year ethnographic study to provide the foundation for the development of population-specific measures of social networks and social support, which were then fielded in a cross sectional quantitative survey in the final phase of the study. The ballroom community offers HIV prevention researchers and interventionists a unique and culturally appropriate avenue for reaching young African American gay and bisexual men, building on indigenous forms of social support already circulating through social networks in the community.


Another area of research involves the development and testing of HIV prevention interventions for African American men who have sex with men (MSM), including those who do not necessarily identify as gay. I am currently the Principal Investigator on a NIMH R01 to rigorously test such an intervention using a randomized controlled trial. Together with CAL-PEP, a community-based organization in Oakland, we have developed the Bruthas Project, a four session counseling intervention for African American men who have sex with men and women (MSM/W). As part of the randomized controlled trial, we have recruited 400 African American MSM/W across the Bay Area, 200 of whom receive the Bruthas Project intervention, 200 of whom receive standard HIV testing and counseling. The men are followed over 9 months, with assessments at baseline, 3 months and 6 months follow-up. We hope to demonstrate that men enrolled in the Bruthas Project have less HIV-related sexual risk behavior and more regular HIV testing than men enrolled in the control group. We have also recently been funded to explore the unique issues facing HIV positive men in our cohort, to learn about their experiences with accessing and remaining engaged in care, so that we may be able to develop additional sessions to support healthy practices for those men who are already diagnosed with HIV.



In recent years, I have become interested in issues pertaining to health care systems through my work with the AIDS Policy Research Center at CAPS, particularly focusing on publicly-funded sources of healthcare insurance for the poor and chronically underserved. As part of examining the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the accessibility of HIV-specialty care and treatment for low income individuals living with HIV in the State of California, we conducted a qualitative study of healthcare providers, county-level adminstrators, case workers, and people living with HIV to ascertain facilitators and barriers to remaining in care. This work was recently published in PLoS One. We are currently engaged in a follow up study examining a health insurance premium payment program for low income people with HIV which is administered by the State Office of AIDS. This is also a qualitative study and we will be broadly disseminating findings from this evaluation to policy makers, advocates, as well as other policy researchers throughout the State of California.
Education
Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2007 - Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
PhD, 2004 - Sociomedical Sciences (Anthropology), Columbia University
MA, 2000 - Sociomedical Sciences (Anthropology), Columbia University
BA, 1996 - College of Social Studies, Wesleyan University
Publications
  1. Medical-Legal Partnerships to Support Continuity of Care for Immigrants Impacted by HIV: Lessons Learned from California.
  2. 'I want the heart of fierceness to arise within us': maintaining public space to promote HIV-related health with House Ball Community members in an era of gentrification.
  3. A Randomized Controlled Trial to Reduce HIV-Related Risk in African American Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women: the Bruthas Project.
  4. The Impact Of Medicaid Expansion On People Living With HIV And Seeking Behavioral Health Services.
  5. "There's no acknowledgement of what this does to people": A qualitative exploration of mental health among parents of children with critical congenital heart defects.
  6. Understanding Prevention for HIV Positive Gay Men: Innovative Approaches in Addressing the AIDS Epidemic, Leo Wilton, Editor
  7. Spirituality/religiosity, substance use, and HIV testing among young black men who have sex with men.
  8. Mental Health Among Parents of Children With Critical Congenital Heart Defects: A Systematic Review.
  9. Identifying social and economic barriers to regular care and treatment for Black men who have sex with men and women (BMSMW) and who are living with HIV: a qualitative study from the Bruthas cohort.
  10. Social networks and social support among ball-attending African American men who have sex with men and transgender women are associated with HIV-related outcomes.
  11. 'I am not a man': Trans-specific barriers and facilitators to PrEP acceptability among transgender women.
  12. HIV transmission in MSM: considerations for PrEP scale-up.
  13. The Development of a Counseling-Based HIV Prevention Intervention for African American Men Who Have Sex With Men and Women: The Bruthas Project.
  14. Facilitators and barriers to effective scale-up of an evidence-based multilevel HIV prevention intervention.
  15. California AIDS Policy Center Report
  16. 'Triply cursed': racism, homophobia and HIV-related stigma are barriers to regular HIV testing, treatment adherence and disclosure among young Black gay men.
  17. California's "Bridge to Reform": identifying challenges and defining strategies for providers and policymakers implementing the Affordable Care Act in low-income HIV/AIDS care and treatment settings.
  18. Mentoring Institute conference proceedings
  19. Community member perspectives from transgender women and men who have sex with men on pre-exposure prophylaxis as an HIV prevention strategy: implications for implementation.
  20. A qualitative study of provider thoughts on implementing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in clinical settings to prevent HIV infection.
  21. Fairy godmothers and guardian angels: A qualitative study of gay mentorship relationships
  22. "We're going to have to cut loose some of our personal beliefs": barriers and opportunities in providing HIV prevention to African American men who have sex with men and women.
  23. 'It's my inner strength': spirituality, religion and HIV in the lives of young African American men who have sex with men.
  24. The Bruthas Project: evaluation of a community-based HIV prevention intervention for African American men who have sex with men and women.
  25. California AIDS Policy Center Report
  26. Sexual risk and substance use behaviors among African American men who have sex with men and women.
  27. Constructing Home and Family: How the Ballroom Community Supports African American GLBTQ Youth in the Face of HIV/AIDS.
  28. Romantic relationships and their social context among gay/bisexual male youth in the Castro District of San Francisco.
  29. Strategic communication in the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: The place of ABC approaches in reaching diverse audiences
  30. Caught between a rock and a hard place: Quandaries of doing HIV prevention work with gay and bisexual men in an era of abstinence-only education