Hiv Center For Clinical And Behavioral Studies Marks 20th Anniversary With Day-Long Symposium: March 27

The more than 100 researchers and staff of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies will mark the 20th anniversary of the center’s founding and its fifth consecutive period of funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), with a day-long scientific symposium. Since 1987, the HIV Center at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute has been conducting cutting-edge research into the behavioral causes and consequences of HIV infection. Its exemplary work helped earn it a $10 million, five-year grant focusing on the theme of “Meeting the Challenges of Global AIDS at the Intersection of Gender, Sexuality, and Mental Health.”

WHEN: Historical Reflections on the HIV Center Thursday, March 27, 2008 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

WHERE: Columbia University Medical Center/New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Room 6602

WHO: Speakers will include the following:

Anke Ehrhardt, Ph.D. – has been the director of the HIV Center since its beginning in 1987. She is also vice chair for academic affairs and professor of medical psychology in the department of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Ehrhardt is an internationally known researcher in the field of sexual and gender development of children, adolescents, and adults. For the past 25 years, her research has included a wide range of studies on determinants of sexual risk behavior among children, adolescents, heterosexual women and men, and the gay population, and on comprehensive approaches to preventing HIV and STD infection.

Zena Stein, M.B., B.Ch. - is co-director emerita of the HIV Center and professor emerita of public health and of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. Her work in the international arena builds on her varied research experience in epidemiology, especially epidemiology of reproductive and developmental disorders, mental health, environmental hazards, and, since the early 1980s HIV infection.

Claude Ann Mellins, Ph.D. - is an associate professor of clinical psychology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University Medical Center and a research scientist at the HIV Center. Over the past 15 years she has completed projects examining individual and family psychosocial factors mediating medical adherence in HIV-infected women and children; sexual and drug use risk behavior in uninfected youth with HIV-infected mothers; and psychiatric and psychological functioning in HIV-infected mothers and children.

Alex Carballo-Diéguez, Ph.D. - is associate director of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies and a professor of clinical psychology (in psychiatry) at Columbia University Medical Center. His areas of research comprise sexual risk behavior of men who have sex with men (especially those of Latin American ancestry), primary prevention in couples of mixed HIV serostatus, partner notification of exposure to HIV, and microbicide acceptability.

Robert H. Remien, Ph.D. - is associate professor of clinical psychology (in psychiatry) Columbia University Medical Center and is a research scientist at the HIV Center. His research focuses on mental health, sexual risk behavior, and adherence interventions for HIV serodiscordant couples; changes in attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors associated with HIV medical treatment; HIV testing behaviors; and the development of behavioral interventions for people with acute HIV infection.

Theresa Exner, Ph.D. - is assistant clinical professor of medical psychology (in psychiatry) at Columbia University Medical Center and is a research scientist at the HIV Center. In partnership with the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, she has launched a state-wide structural intervention to promote female condom use. She also is developing and will pilot-test an intervention to promote reproductive health among HIV+ women and men entering primary HIV Care in Cape Town, South Africa.

“In 1987, AIDS was a frightening and poorly understood disease. Over the past two decades, there have been dramatic advances in many areas of treatment and prevention, but a cure or even a vaccine remains as elusive as ever,” said Anke A. Ehrhardt, Ph.D. who has directed the HIV Center since she co-founded it two decades ago. “With our home base in New York, we will be renewing our commitment to research in and advocacy for HIV prevention and treatment at the local and state level. At the same time, our research portfolio has also become as globalized as the epidemic itself, and our work now extends into seven developing countries.”

Research at the HIV Center is conducted through approximately 50 individual studies involving more than 100 investigators from disciplines including psychology, psychiatry, public health, anthropology, sociology, and social work. Particular emphasis is placed on issues relating to women and gender roles, human sexuality, children and families, and the mental health dimensions of HIV/AIDS. Over its twenty year history, the HIV Center

took the lead nationally and internationally in raising awareness about women’s vulnerability to HIV infection and promoting the inclusion of women in HIV research studies; acted as global advocates for research and development of female-controlled methods of HIV prevention including the female condom and microbicides; applied perspectives from the study of gender and sexuality to help women, men who have sex with men, adolescents, and other vulnerable populations to protect themselves from HIV; conducted the first major studies to document the risk of HIV infection among the seriously mentally ill, and advanced early prevention efforts for them; identified the hardships facing families with HIV-positive parents or children, and established some of the first programs to support them; promoted psychological coping, medication adherence, safer sex, and other health-affirming behaviors among people living with HIV; promoted sexual and reproductive health among both HIV-negative and, especially, HIV-positive individuals, many of whom are living longer, healthier lives. For further information about the HIV Center, visit

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Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future health care leaders at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons was the first in the country to grant the M.D. degree. CUMC is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York state and one of the largest in the United States. Visit

Columbia Psychiatry is ranked among the best departments and psychiatric research facilities in the nation and has contributed greatly to the understanding of and current treatment for psychiatric disorders including depression, suicide, schizophrenia, bipolar and anxiety disorders, and childhood psychiatric disorders. Located at the New York State Psychiatric Institute on the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center campus in the Washington Heights community of Upper Manhattan, the department enjoys a collaborative relationship with physicians in various disciplines at Columbia University’s College of Physician and Surgeons. Visit


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