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Southern HIV & Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC)


Epidemiology; and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Subject area description

The mission of the Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium is to improve health outcomes and reduce HIV transmission among the diverse range of populations affected by alcohol and HIV infection in Florida. To fulfill this mission, SHARC will foster interdisciplinary translational research, training, and community engagement.

Learn more about SHARC at our website:

Team members

Jessy G. Dévieux, Ph.D.
Executive Director, SHARC@FIU

Gladys E. Ibañez, Ph.D.
Associate Director, SHARC@FIU
(305) 348-4920

Brenda D Lerner, Psy.D, R.N.
Research Associate Professor/Grant Coordinator

Michèle Jean-Gilles, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor/Grant Coordinator

Rhonda Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor

Alex Gomez
Research Assistant

Laura Huertas
Research Assistant

Micaela Lembo
Research Assistant

Thuy-Thuong Nguyen
Research Assistant

Harveer Sigh
Research Volunteer

Galilea Mayorga
Research Volunteer

Current Projects

  • Effects of experimentally-induced reductions in alcohol consumption on the brain, cognitive, clinical outcomes and motivation for changing drinking in older persons with HIV infection (The 30 Day Challenge)

    This study will determine the extent to which marked reductions in alcohol consumption over 4-12 weeks via contingency management (CM) improves cognitive-behavioral performance, underlying brain functions and pathophysiology, and HIV-associated health outcomes.

    Contact PI: Dévieux

  • Optimizing PrEP Utilization among Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) using Women of Color (PrEP)

    This U34 study will produce an evidence- and CBPR-driven PrEP implementation intervention to enhance uptake and optimize use among women of color in South Florida. It will involve stakeholders from the greater Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas to develop a multi-level PrEP intervention program for African American, Latina, and Haitian women who engage in risky sex and AOD use.

    Contact PI: Dévieux

  • Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium Administrative and Research Support Core

    This Administrative core is to ensure leadership, collaboration, and scientific oversight for all activities related to SHARC to obtain input from an Executive Committee, a Scientific Advisory Board, and a Community Advisory Board; monitor scientific contributions and research productivity, manage day-to-day operations, coordinate and facilitate requests to access SHARC data and/or biological samples, provide IRB and regulatory support, and communicate the scientific findings as well as support ongoing collaborative research activity related to the Florida Cohort which is a statewide study to identify factors that influence health outcomes in persons with HIV infection. We will study how individual, clinic, and community level factors influence (1) accessibility and use of healthcare, and (2) HIV clinical outcomes.

    Contact PI: Dévieux

  • Alcohol Associated Comorbidities and Microbiome Evaluation in HIV (ACME HIV)

    The study will determine temporal qualitative and quantitative changes in the gut microbiome (dysbiosis) associated with HIV infection and alcohol abuse; it will also examine relationships between gut microbiome, neuroinflammation, and cognition in HIV+ heavy drinkers.

    Contact PI: Dévieux

  • Alcohol Effects on HIV-Associated Brain Dysfunction (ARCH II)

    This study investigates the effects of alcohol consumption on HIV-associated brain dysfunction, incorporating state-of-the-art brain imaging methods along with clinical and laboratory methods to assess the interactive effects of ETOH consumption on HIV-associated brain dysfunction.

    Contact PI: Dévieux

  • Marijuana Associated Planning and Long-Term Effects (MAPLE) Study

    Health outcomes and cognitive effects of marijuana use among persons living with HIV/AIDS

    The MAPLE study is recruiting both users and non-users of marijuana over the age of 18 and will be asked questions based on health and well-being, HIV care, and marijuana use. The primary focus of this project is to study the health effects of marijuana over time in people living with HIV and how marijuana relates to HIV care, chronic inflammation, and cognitive functioning.

    Contact PI: Ibañez

  • Selected Publication/Presentations

    Ibañez, G., Britton, M., Cohen, R., Somboonwit, C., Lawrence, S., Cook, R. (2020, June 20-24). Association between Marijuana Use and Cognitive Functioning among People Living with HIV in Florida [Conference Presentation]. College on Problems of Drug Dependence, Inc, Hollywood, FL, United States

  • Alzheimer’s-Gut-Microbiome Supplement for MAPLE

    This supplement to the MAPLE study plans to recruit participants over the age of 60 to improve the diagnosis and treatment of mild cognitive disorders in older adults with HIV. The participants are given additional cognitive and functional assessments to determine the criterion for mild cognitive impairment, as well as differentiate between different types of cognitive impairment (e.g., HIV-associated neuropathy, acute marijuana intoxication, or pre-Alzheimer’s or related dementia). These findings aim to identify the risk factors contributing to the widespread prevalence of the disease in the aging population, to increase education centered around the identification and diagnosis of HIV-associated Alzheimer disease, and to inform future investigational studies.

    Contact PI: Ibañez

  • The GEM Study

    A Mind-body intervention to reduce symptoms among people aging with HIV

    The GEM study, or “Gentle Empowering Movement,” is a 12-week series of small group classes lead by a trained instructor that consist of slow, low impace movements with older people living with HIV. Participants must be 50 years of age and older, HIV positive, and be able to stand for at minimum 10 minutes. The total duration od the study is approximately 6 months, with pre and post intervention interviews. The primary goal of this project is to determine the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy of a mind-body intervention to alleviate physical and psychological symptoms.

    Contact PI: Ibañez

  • Selected Publications/Presentations

    Algarin, A.B., Varas-Rodriguez, E., Valdivia, C., Fennie, K.P., Larkey, L., Hu, N. & Ibañez, G.E. (2020). Symptoms, stress, and HIV-related care among older people living with HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic, Miami, Florida. AIDS and Behavior.

    Ibanez, GE., Fennie, K., Larkey, L., Algarin, AB, Fein, M., Taskin, T. (2019). Development of a mind-body intervention for older people living with HIV (PLHIV): An exploratory clinical trial. Poster presented at the National Hispanic Science Network. October 2019.

  • Identifying barriers to HIV Viral Suppression in Transgender Populations in Florida: A Florida Cohort Supplemental Study

    The Florida Cohort Study was initiated in 2014 to assess how individual, clinic, and community-level factors influence healthcare accessibility and utilization and HIV clinical outcomes across the state of Florida. This study is a supplement to the parent grant to expand the Florida Cohort to include transgender persons living with HIV. The outcomes are the same as the parent outcomes: to examine alcohol use and HIV care continuum. We will also collect transgender-specific data, including gender orientation, pre- and post-transition data, and HIV-related stigma, and how these may serve as moderators of alcohol use and HIV care.

    Contact PI: Ibañez