Carolinas United to End HIV (CUE-HIV): Scientific Working Group

The CUE HIV Scientific Working Group (SWG), formed in 2021, was born out of the knowledge that HIV does not stop at state borders, especially in the era of social media and on-line dating. This new SWG combines the efforts of the CUE HIV collaborative with the previous NC Collaborative HIV Epidemiology and Prevention SWG, providing a cohesive approach to identifying and targeting cross-state networks. This cross-state approach can be particularly important in rural areas, where stigma is a driving impetus to finding partners and HIV services away from home, in larger cities and other counties.

The CUE 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. 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 early stage investigators (ESIs) enter this space and secure funding through state-of-the art, multidisciplinary proposals.

Mission Statement

CUE-HIV is an interstate collaborative created to address the disproportionate HIV burden in the Carolinas driven by our states’ unique intersection of stigma, poverty, and limited resource allocation. Our initiative employs a multifaceted strategy designed to promote awareness, decrease stigma, expand funding, and improve resource availability with one ultimate goal: ending the HIV epidemic in the Carolinas. We believe that our united front will prove far more impactful than the sum of our individual parts.

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
  • Identify opportunities to innovate 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

To achieve these aims, the CUE HIV SWG will use the following mechanisms:

  • Quarterly SWG meetings, with in-person and teleconferenced participation options
  • A curated, centralized directory of SWG members, including specific interests and skills that can help multidisciplinary teams form more readily
  • Support from SWG leadership to provide focused guidance and/or pre-review of final proposals
  • Opportunities for developmental award funding through dedicated announcements
  • Periodic, webinar-delivered updates on key issues in HIV epidemiology and biomedical prevention
  • “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

Partner Institutions:

  • State of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • State of South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
  • Mecklenburg County Health Department
  • University of South Carolina (Columbia)
  • Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston)
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Wake Forest University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for AIDS Research

Awards:

2019 Ending the HIV Epidemic Supplement Awards:

  • Tonia Poteat, PhD: Transforming the Carolinas: Preparing to End the Epidemic for Transgender People of Color in the Carolinas
  • Felicia Browne, ScD: Reaching African Americans to Reduce Disparities in HIV Prevention and Treatment: The Carolina CoOp
  • Lisa Hightow-Weidman, MD: An Integrated Technology-Based “Status-Neutral” Approach to Engage YMSM/YTGW in the Prevention and Care Continuum in North and South Carolina

2020 Ending the HIV Epidemic Supplement Awards:

  • Tonia Poteat, PhD: Transforming the Carolinas 2.0
  • Courtney Bonner, PhD: Implementing PrEP into Non-Title X Settings to Reduce HIV Disparities among African American Women in the Atlanta MSA

Leadership

  • State of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
    • Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist and Epidemiology Section Chief, Division of Public Health
    • Evelyn M. Foust, Communicable Disease Branch Head, Division of Public Health
  • State of South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
    • Ali B. Mansaray, Director, Division of STD/HIV & Viral Hepatitis
  • Mecklenburg County Health Department
    • Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg County Health Director
  • University of South Carolina (Columbia)
    • Sharon Weissman, Division Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases
  • Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston)
    • Eric Meissner, Director, HIV and Hepatitis Patient Care and Research
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
    • Patrick A. Robinson, Research Professor, College of Health and Human Services, UNCC
  • Wake Forest University
    • Kristie Foley, Chair, Dept. of Implementation Science
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for AIDS Research
    • Prema Menezes, Associate Director, UNC CFAR
    • Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Medicine
    • Kimberly Powers, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology

For inquiries, please contact Prema Menezes.