Current CFAR – CFAR Collaborations

One of the missions of the CFAR Program is to foster CFAR–CFAR collaborations. Over the past few years, several inter-CFAR collaborations have been formed by the CFARs.

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CNICS

The CFAR Network of Integrated Clinical Systems (CNICS) is a dynamic research network that integrates clinical data from a large and diverse population of HIV-infected individuals to provide the infrastructure to support the advancement of HIV research. Established in 2002 and funded as an R24 research platform in 2006, CNICS integrates data from the eight CNICS sites where CFARS and HIV clinics are present: University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Washington, University of California at San Francisco, University of California at San Diego, Case Western Reserve University, Fenway Community Clinic (Brown/Harvard), University of North Carolina, and Johns Hopkins University. The CNICS program supports a database that serves as a central repository of verified and quality-controlled data from the electronic medical records (EMRs) at each site. The clinical data is linked to patient reported outcomes obtained at regular intervals, geospatial data, and to biologic specimens stored in repositories and readily available for use in translational research projects. The mission of CNICS is to provide access to the specimen and data repository to any investigator who submits an approved concept proposal. In this fashion, CNICS is a "peer-reviewed open access" research platform available to investigators worldwide. CNICS is geographically diverse, racially varied and as of early 2019 contained over 35,000 patients with an average of 80 percent male and 20 percent female including transgender patients. There are over 1 million aliquots of biological specimens from over 18,000 unique patients along with over 80,000 Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) from over 20,000 patients. Visit our website at www.uab.edu/cnics for further information, including ongoing studies, descriptions of data and specimens, and information on how to submit concepts for review.

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SBSRN

The purpose of the CFAR Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Network (SBSRN) is to foster cross CFAR collaborations between behavioral and social scientists; to share strategies on how behavioral and social scientists communicate with basic scientists; to provide a forum for the exchange of the most recent information in the behavioral sciences regarding HIV/AIDS; and to mentor the next generation of behavioral social scientists.

For more information, please contact: Michael Blank, Ph.D., or Tiffany Dominique.

The Inter-CFAR Collaboration on HIV Research in Women is a network of CFAR investigators dedicated to promoting cutting-edge science in HIV research and women, developing new strategies for future research to address HIV-related issues unique to women, and promoting career development and professional growth among junior investigators interested in this field. The working group has identified the following areas of interest: 1) networking among investigators with similar research interests; 2) developing collaborative grant proposals; 3) merging existing research cohorts; 4) mentoring and reviewing grant proposals in development; 5) meeting bi-annually at research symposia; and 6) external review for CFAR Developmental Awards related to women and HIV. A smaller sub-committee, comprised of National Institutes of Health (NIH) members and representatives from the individual CFARs, is responsible for organization and implementation of the CFAR Symposium on HIV Research in Women. The 2019 Inter-CFAR HIV and Women Symposium will be held October 21-22, 2019 by the Third Coast CFAR in Chicago in coordination with the MACS-WIHS Combined Cohort Study (MWCCS) Executive Committee Meeting. The 2016 CFAR Joint Symposium on HIV Research in Women was hosted by the University of Alabama-Birmingham CFAR on December 6-7. The goal of the program is to identify gaps in knowledge in HIV and women's research and generate collaborative activity between CFARs and other research networks. We are interested in addressing issues relevant to HIV and women at both a domestic and international level. For more information please contact Chair: Phyllis Tien (phyllis.tien@ucsf.edu); Co-Chair: Renee Heffron (rheffron@uw.edu); or Administrative Contact: Lauren Sterling (lauren.sterling@ucsf.edu).  

For more information, please see the Inter-CFAR Collaboration on HIV Research in Women website.

The goal of the Inter-CFAR HIV/TB Co-Infection Working Group is to promote the sharing of information to catalyze new collaborations among investigators at different CFARs studying the intersection of the two epidemics.  Initially established in 2004, the group has held several scientific meetings including 2005 (Boston), 2009 (Houston), 2012 (San Francisco), and 2015 (Seattle). The group also seeks to develop ties with other research networks. For example, in 2018 the CFAR HIV/TB Working Group held a joint meeting with the NIH-funded TB RePORT International clinical research network to identify opportunity areas for CFAR/RePORT synergy, with outcomes including both funding opportunities and funded CFAR/RePORT collaborations.  An additional goal of the Working Group is to facilitate the sharing of samples, reagents, and expertise.  The HIV/TB Co-Infection Working Group currently runs a quarterly webinar series at which researchers present new studies and data, facilitating discussion and exchange of ideas.  For further information or to join the working group email list (including webinar notification), contact Greg Bisson, Jyothi Rengarajan, or David Dowdy.

The mission of the CFAR J-SHIP, formerly the CFAR Collaboration on HIV in Corrections (CFAR CHIC), is to bring together CFAR-affiliated researchers who are dedicated to improving HIV, substance use, and related health outcomes among justice-involved persons.  Specifically, J-SHIP aims to provide a forum for justice-focused researchers to: disseminate research findings; stimulate new research directions and grant applications; create new research collaborations; provide mentorship for new and early-stage investigators; create networking opportunities; and increase the pipeline of HIV researchers conducting research among justice populations. 

Primary foci of the restructured working group are to promote the inclusion of justice-involved populations in research efforts related to all fours pillars of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative and expand the breadth of expertise and interest in HIV-related research among justice-involved populations in order to interrupt the continued syndemic of HIV, HCV, and substance use.

For further information and/or to join the J-SHIP listserv, please contact Curt Beckwith, MD.

Biostatistical methods play a central role in advancing HIV research. The CFAR Biostatistics Network (CBN) comprises statisticians collaborating with HIV investigators at CFARs nationwide. CBN meets annually at the Joint Statistical Meetings. At these meetings, CBN members share information about HIV research at their institutions.  Recent discussions have focused on building biostatistics capacity and infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa, where considerable NIH-funded research is being conducted. NIAID has cosponsored two conferences on this topic, in which members of CBN participated. Several CBN members are working with colleagues in Africa on implementation of biostatistics training programs. CBN members also regularly present methodological work in sessions organized at statistical meeting to address statistical issues in HIV research.  CBN was involved in organizing a highly successful  2019 workshop on statistical issues in HIV Cure research.   

In an effort to encourage cross-CFAR collaboration, CBN is developing a listing of member statisticians and their particular areas of expertise. For more information about CBN, contact Susan Ellenberg at UPenn or Joe Hogan at Brown.

The CFAR Sub-Saharan Africa Working Group (CFAR-SSA) was formed in 2011 under the leadership of the UCSF-GIVI CFAR. In November 2012 the leadership was transferred to the Johns Hopkins CFAR to build upon initial accomplishments and enthusiasm.

The goals of the CFAR-SSA working group include

  • Capacity Build Early Stage SSA Investigators: The CFAR-SSA will provide a unique, collaborative, and cross-institutional capacity building setting for Early Stage investigators working in SSA.
  • Promote New Collaborative Research Opportunities: The CFAR-SSA will promote multidisciplinary and inter-CFAR research conducted by its members directed at high-priority scientific and public health challenges in SSA.

Activities of the CFAR-SSA include regular international meetings, online resources, a listserv, and social media.

To join the list serv:https://groups.google.com/group/CFAR-SSA

To join the Facebook group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/cfarssa

Questions? Please contact Anne Efron at aefron@jhmi.edu

The inter-CFAR CIG originated from collaborative initial interactions between the Duke CFAR, Miami CFAR, and Emory CFAR. Miami hosted a Flow Cytometry Workshop at the 2013 CFAR Director’s Meeting in Miami during which the concept of an inter-CFAR CIG was announced and very well received.

The inter-CFAR CIG is a collaborative project, open to participation by all CFARs and D-CFARs, that is designed to promote the overall CFAR mission by synergistically enhancing and coordinating high quality AIDS research projects. Broad participation in the inter-CFAR CIG will lead to greater transparency across CFARs with regards to cytometry methods, potential manuscripts and funding opportunities through new inter-CFAR collaborations, greater access to cytometry-based training and mentoring for new CFAR Investigators, and potentially CFAR-wide discounts on cytometry products by major vendors.

The Mission of the inter-CFAR CIG is to share protocols and recommendations for cytometry-based assays, foster new collaborations in cytometry, provide mentoring & training opportunities for cytometry-based methods, promote cytometry-focused international partnerships, and disseminate new cytometry tools across CFARs. The inter-CFAR CIG also promotes collaboration with industry for evaluating new technologies and strives to be a good steward of government funds by negotiating discounted pricing for flow cytometry reagents.

For further information, please contact Janet Staats at janet.staats@duke.edu

Our mission: We represent CFAR CABs as a national advocacy group and resource for community involvement in National CFAR Initiatives. We are also a The NCCC serves as a resource for the creation, development and sustainability of CFAR Community Advisory Boards.

With 40+ members from 17 CFARs across the country, the National CFAR CAB Coalition is a lively and active body that pursues its mission through four primary working groups: Mission & Operations; Communications; Community & Scientific Engagement; and Mentorship and CAB Development.

Goals of NCCC

  • Share community ideas and concerns at national CFAR meetings
  • Encourage the establishment and maintenance of active CABs at all CFARs
  • Provide community centered feedback and consultation regarding future Cross CFAR Initiatives
  • Provide expertise on community ideas to RFA development of CFAR grants (i.e. Developmental Awards, New Investigator Awards, etc)
  • Centralize services and resources for individual CFAR CABs resource for the creation, development, and sustainability of CFAR CABs.

For further information visit our website www.nationalcfarcabcoalition.com or contact Tiffany B. Dominique (tybrown@upenn.edu)

The CFAR Faith and Spirituality Research Collaborative (CFSRC) was convened by the University of Rochester CFAR, Providence/Boston/CFAR, and the UAB CFAR in 2016, with the purpose of advancing scientific inquiry on the ways in which faith and spirituality may enhance HIV prevention, case detection, engagement in care, viral suppression, and cure. The group is committed to global collaborations to promote the development of a robust research portfolio that spans the social, behavioral, clinical, and basic HIV sciences.

The CFSRC purpose is to build collaborations among researchers, faith-based organizations, community leaders and public sector leaders, with a focus on ending the HIV epidemic.  Our initial meeting was extraordinarily successful with over 70 attendees from across the globe, representing 12 CFARs, the National CFAR CAB Coalition (NCCC), NIH, and many facets of faith communities. Breakout groups outlined clear action steps in the areas of “Mobilizing a Broad-Based Faith and Spirituality Response,” “Opportunities in Serving Same Gender Loving People,” “Opportunities to Address Faith Based Stigma in the US,” and “Opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa.” 

Since our initial meeting in 2016, our group has published several articles, presented at scientific conferences and CFAR network meetings, issued a call to action to promote research and programs related to these issues, submitted and obtained funding, and continued to build on the new connections established at the meeting including new mentoring relationships and community collaborations. Our goal is to continue to meet collectively on a regular basis to advance the agenda.

As a result of the Inter-CFAR meeting, the CFSRC now serves as a mechanism for bringing together researchers from around the country and the world to discuss collaborative research, grant opportunities, and supporting early career and transitioning investigators, including underrepresented minorities; hold pre-conference CFSRC meetings at existing Inter-CFAR meetings (e.g., SBSRN) or at meetings in which CFSRC members are in attendance to further initiatives; continue to develop standard data collection tools to be included in CFSRC initiatives; and build on established and newly created partnerships locally, nationally, and globally with the faith/spiritual communities in all phases. We have obtained funding for a second CFSRC meeting in Birmingham, Alabama with the UAB CFAR. Plans are currently underway.

For more information, please contact Robin Lanzi, PhD, MPH or Amy Nunn, ScD.

The purpose of the Inter-CFAR Implementation Science Working Group (CFAR-ISWG) is to provide ongoing support and guidance to CFAR-affiliated researchers interested in the effective integration of HIV-related implementation science methods, measures, and strategic partnerships into their work. The CFAR-ISWG was formed in 2018 under the leadership of the Third Coast and Johns Hopkins CFARs and in partnership with CFARs across the country.  The overarching goal of the CFAR-ISWG is to improve the quality and quantity of implementation research methods being used as we seek to achieve a future without HIV.  To achieve this, CFAR-ISWG aims to increase understanding of how current implementation models may be adapted and how to best deliver effective interventions in diverse community and organizational settings serving those in greatest need.   

The CFAR-ISWG seeks to:

  1. Foster collaborations across CFARs that facilitate the development of methodologically strong and cost-effective HIV-related implementation science studies.
  2. Synthesize the state of the art for implementation research methods and prioritize questions in HIV-related implementation science
  3. Identify challenges and potential solutions to conducting HIV-related implementation science research in academic- practice collaborations to address local needs and create generalizable knowledge.
  4. Facilitate and disseminate HIV-related implementation science studies via an up-to-date list of implementation science trainings and speakers that can support education through conferences, workshops, and a newsletter.
  5. Foster collaborations between CFARs and implementation partners to expand implementation research and facilitate multi-site implementation research  

For more information, please contact: Nanette Benbow, Brian Mustanski, or Stefan Baral, or see https://www.thirdcoastcfar.org/implementation-science.

The Inter-CFAR Antiretrovirals for Prevention (AFP) Working Group was created to facilitate the sharing of new knowledge regarding the use of antiretrovirals to control the domestic and global HIV epidemic. The AFP working group has compiled and curated a web resource of services available in all CFAR cores that can facilitate inter-CFAR collaborations by interdisciplinary teams of investigators, housed on the Emory and Harvard CFAR homepages. The AFP Working Group hosted a meeting for early career investigators in January, 2019 to enable them to meet thought leaders in this field and to have internal peer review of new research projects that they were planning. The main ongoing activity of the AFP working group is a bimonthly research in progress webinar, which features cutting edge research in this area and presentations to update CFAR researchers on emerging best practices and implementation science initiatives. Interested investigators can contact the AFP working group conveners, Kenneth Mayer of the Harvard CFAR (kmayer@fenwayhealth.org) and Patrick Sullivan of the Emory CFAR (pssulli@emory.edu).

The goal of the Inter-CFAR HIV in the Southeast Working Group is to foster collaborative scientific initiatives to promote discovery and support the rigorous evaluation and implementation of prevention and treatment programs in order to enhance health, wellness and outcomes, and overcome health inequities in the disproportionately impacted Southern U.S. region. Catalyzed by the UAB and Emory CFARs, an inaugural workshop was convened at Emory University in 2016, with a 2nd workshop hosted by the Tennessee CFAR in 2017, providing a framework and foundation for the formal establishment of the Inter-CFAR HIV in the Southeast Working Group in 2018.

Focusing upon unique aspects of the domestic Southern HIV epidemic, priorities of the Inter-CFAR HIV in the Southeast Working Group include: 1) Engaging early stage investigators and supporting their mentorship and career development, 2) Promoting the submission of multi-investigator, cross-CFAR NIH grant applications, 3) Outreach to HIV investigators at non-CFAR Southern academic institutions to foster collaboration, synergy, and access to the CFAR network and resources, and 4) Engagement of community, state and local public health, and community-based organization (CBO) / AIDS service organization (ASO) partners in collaborative scientific initiatives aligned with the overarching goals of the working group.

Contacts: Donna Porter, Shelle Bryant, Michael Mugavero, and Carlos del Rio.

The Inter-CFAR Working Group on Aging started in 2012 under the leadership of the University of Alabama CFAR following the publication of a summary of an expert working group on HIV and Aging convened by Office of AIDS Research at NIH. This WG outlined the then current state of knowledge and identified research areas of critical need and summarized their recommendations in a white paper: Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2012 July 1; 60(Suppl 1): S1–18. (PMCID: PMC3413877 NIHMSID: NIHMS385985).

The mission of the Inter-CFAR WG was to continue the effort to assess what is known and unknown about aging among persons living with HIV and to determine what the priorities should be for research at the interface of HIV, aging, and multi-morbidity.

Current objectives are to:

  1. Provide a platform to connect interest groups and/or work in this area, increase awareness of resources, and provide networking opportunities through the following:
    • Promote collaborations between basic scientists and clinical/ behavioral scientists to understand the impact of HIV on aging and gather input from the leaders of other working groups in this area.
    • Provide information regarding funding opportunities and offer support to junior investigators.
    • Increase communications among working group members and keep these colleagues informed regarding upcoming conferences, workshops, symposiums and webinars through a central listserv
  2. Formally connect HIV and Aging Scientific Working Groups (SWGs) and other Interest Groups working in HIV and aging from across the national CFAR network.

For more information, please contact

Miami CFAR:

Emory CFAR:

CFAR HIV Continuum of Care (ECHPP) Working group

The goal of the CFAR HIV Continuum of Care (ECHPP) Working Group was to promote the conduct of HIV implementation science research by CFAR investigators in collaboration with their local Departments of Health (DOHs). Formed in 2011 with the DC CFAR serving as the coordinating CFAR, the scientific focus of this Working Group was on HIV prevention and HIV care continuum research. Four rounds of CFAR Administrative Supplements were awarded in 2011 (9 CFARs), 2012 (9 CFARs), 2013 (10 CFARs) and 2014 (2 CFARs). Two National Meetings were held in 2012 (100 participants from 20 CFARs and 10 DOHs) and in 2014 (85 participants from 19 CFARs and 15 DOHs).  Three JAIDS supplements presenting results from these projects were published in 2013 (10 articles), 2015 (11 articles) and 2017 (8 articles).  The Working Group will now transition its efforts to support the new Implementation Science Working Group that is being coordinated by the Third Coast and Johns Hopkins CFARs.

For further information, please contact Dr. Alan E. Greenberg at aeg1@gwu.edu.

Inter-CFAR HIV/AIDS Related Malignancy (iCHARM) Working Group

Despite dramatic declines in HIV mortality rates due to the success of HAART, death due to cancer continues to rank as the second or the third cause of mortality among HIV-infected patients. HAART has reduced the incidence of some AIDS-associated cancers such as Kaposi’s sarcoma. However, HAART’s impact on the incidence of other malignancies such as NHL has been marginal, and the incidence of some cancers, such as anal, lung, and Hodgkin’s lymphomas, appear to have increased in the post HAART era. The developing world, specifically sub-Saharan Africa, is facing an HIV-associated cancer crisis; some reports have indicated that certain AIDS-defining cancers have increased 10 to 100 fold in the context of HIV infection. The CFAR program emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration nationally and internationally, especially between basic and clinical investigators, translational research in which findings from the laboratory are brought to the clinic and vice versa.

In order to address the evolving need in HIV-associated malignancy research, some members of the CFAR community came together and established the inter-CFAR HIV/AIDS Related Malignancy (iCHARM) Working Group. iCHARM focuses on developing collaborations across CFARs and with National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Centers (CC) at institutions that also contain CFARs to address ongoing challenges of HIV-associated malignancies. Goals of this group include leveraging existing resources, and developing training and funding opportunities in basic, clinical, and epidemiologic issues concerning HIV/AIDS-related cancers in both the domestic and international arenas.

In 2007, the NCI supplement “CFAR and Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) collaborations in domestic and international studies of HIV-associated malignancies” was awarded to the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and UCSF CFARs to initiate a cooperative program of developmental pilot funding to address emerging opportunities AIDS-related malignancies and HIV- and viral-associated cancers. Seven iCHARM developmental pilot projects were awarded, topics included basic, epidemiologic, and clinical research. Additional funds were provided through the UCSF CFAR to the Uganda Cancer Institute to assist in developing infrastructure for HIV/AIDS malignancy research in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, 10 supplemental funding grants to the Developmental Core were awarded by NCI to individual CFARs to support pilot projects between a CFAR investigator and a CC investigator and 7 more were awarded in 2009. The goal of this supplement is to build closer ties between CFARs and NCI-designated CCs. In 2010, NCI awarded seven supplemental funding grants for HIV-associated malignancy research at CFARs with CCs. This 2010 supplement is intended to support promising areas of scientific investigation which will add further to our understanding of the pathogenesis of HIV-associated malignancies and at the same time increase collaborative partnerships with low- and middle-income countries.

For more information, please contact Paul Volberding, M.D., or Jim Hoxie, M.D.

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