North Carolina Collaborative HIV Epidemiology and Prevention (NC-CHEP) Scientific Working Group

The newly formed North Carolina Collaborative HIV Epidemiology and Prevention (NC-CHEP) Scientific Working Group (SWG) pairs the public health-focused activities of the NC HIV Public Health Collaborative (HPHC) SWG with the biomedical prevention focus of the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) SWG. The NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will continue to be a formal partner in the NC-CHEP SWG.

The merger of the HPHC and PrEP SWGs is a strategic move, positioning the UNC CFAR to be a more robust partner in initiatives under the federal Ending the HIV Epidemic (EtHE) plan. This SWG will build upon successful collaborations between academic researchers, practicing clinicians, and public health experts to study an expanded HIV care continuum – one that fully embraces biomedical HIV prevention as a critical element. With NC-DHHS’s addition of a statewide PrEP coordinator and developing programs out of CDC “Component B” funding for prevention, there are now additional, as-yet-untapped data sources available at the state level. This SWG is ideally situated to explore these new data and “convert” them into seeds for fundable research projects. Innovative approaches from the SWG leadership, focusing on breaking down silos to bring together researchers with complementary perspectives, can be applied to the activities of the combined SWG, helping junior researchers enter this space and secure funding through state-of-the art, multidisciplinary proposals.

Aims:

  • Formalize a team of respected and highly engaged academic, clinical, and public health professionals to support implementation and analysis of federal and state-level EtHE plans
  • Serve as a “hub” for researchers in HIV-focused behavioral, epidemiological, implementation, and translational science to share ideas
  • Tear down silos to bring together intramural and extramural HIV researchers from various disciplines
  • More effectively leverage “big data” at NC-DHHS to answer key questions about the HIV care continuum, including the implementation of both PrEP and “U=U”
  • Identify opportunities to innovate in how statewide data can inform “targeted” activities to address specific steps of the HIV care continuum
  • Continue to identify early-stage investigators who could contribute to this field and support them with expert guidance and mentorship for internal and external developmental awards

Services:

To achieve these goals, the NC-CHEP SWG will offer a variety of services including:

  • Monthly SWG meetings, with in-person and teleconferenced participation options
  • Periodic, webinar-delivered updates on key issues in HIV epidemiology and biomedical prevention
  • A curated, centralized directory of SWG members, including specific interests and skills that can help multidisciplinary teams form more readily
  • “Tadpole” reviews of specific aims or concept proposals and “Baby Shark Tank” reviews of more developed research ideas, allowing investigators to get critical, formative input from peers and experts with different perspectives – prior to grant submission
  • Support from SWG leadership to provide focused guidance and/or pre-review of final proposals
  • Opportunities for developmental award funding through dedicated announcements

Leadership:

  • Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein
  • Jacquelyn Clymore
  • Christopher Hurt
  • Heidi Swygard