Core BCS

Core J 0.3The Behavioral and Community Sciences Core (BCSC, Core J) supports research on behavioral, environmental, economic, and social HIV risk and protective factors in the Deep South. The BCSC has 3 specific aims:
  • Bring methodological advances in behavioral and community science to bear on HIV research and interventions in Deep South communities disproportionately affected by the shifting epidemic.
  • Strengthen and sustain collaborations with key groups to achieve Aim 1, including but not limited to: CFAR Biostatistics and Analysis Core D and Clinical Core C; the UAB Center for the Study of Community Health; and community partners and stakeholders.
  • Inform BCSC initiatives by assessment of needs of UAB HIV researchers working on behavioral and community science projects.
Panoramic Continuum Sept 2014 Seminar DP


Services We Offer:

The CFAR Behavioral and Community Sciences Core offers services to UAB researchers and community partners who are conducting, or who are interested in conducting, behavioral and community science studies in the areas of HIV prevention and treatment. Our brief consultations and services include:

  • Free initial 1-hour consultations on various topics related to behavioral and community science studies including, but not limited to:
    • Study design
    • Data collection instrument design, including qualitative interview guide design
    • Data analysis and interpretation
    • Community acceptability and feasibility of the research
  • Linkage to community partners
  • Referrals for additional consultations, mentorship opportunities, and linkage to resources
  • Seminar series on STI and HIV-related topics
  • Hands-on methodological workshops to build skills for behavioral and community science research

To request a free INITIAL 1-hour consultation with one of our staff members, please complete our Core Services Request Form

Recent Publications

Turan JM, Onono M, Steinfeld RL, et al. Effects of antenatal care and HIV treatment integration on elements of the PMTCT cascade: Results from the SHAIP cluster-randomized controlled trial in Kenya. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. Epub 2015 May 11. PMID: 25967269

Onono M, Owuor K, Turan J, Bukusi EA, Gray GE, Cohen CR. The role of maternal, health system, and psychosocial factors in prevention of mother-to-child transmission failure in the era of programmatic scale up in western Kenya: a case control study. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2015 Apr;29(4):204-11. PMID: 25738870 PMCID: PMC4378858

Turan B, Stringer K, Onono M, et al. Linkage to HIV care, postpartum depression, and HIV-related stigma in newly diagnosed pregnant women living with HIV in Kenya: a longitudinal observational study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2014 Dec 3;14(1):400 PMID: 25467187 PMCID: PMC4261547

Kendall T, Danel I, Cooper D, et al. Eliminating preventable HIV-related maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa: What do we need to know? JAIDS. 2014 Dec 1; 67(Suppl 4): S250–S258. PMID: 25436825 PMCID: PMC4251907

Muzny CA, Kapil R, Austin EL, Hook EW, Geisler WM. Lower sexually transmissible infection prevalence among lifetime exclusive women who have sex with women compared with women who have sex with women and men. Sex Health. 2014 Dec;11(6):592-3. PMID: 25435197

Spangler S, Onono M, Bukusi EA, Cohen CR, Turan JM. HIV-positive status disclosure and use of essential PMTCT and maternal health services in rural Kenya. J AIDS. 2014 Dec 1; 67(Suppl 4): S235-42. PMID: 25436823 PMCID: PMC4251910

Williams M, Moneyham L, Kempf MC, Chamot E, Scarinci I. Structural and sociocultural factors associated with cervical cancer screening among HIV-infected African American women in Alabama. AIDS Patient Care STDS. Epub 2014 Dec; 29(1): 13-9.

PMID: 25514125 PMCID: PMC4281874

Merlin JS, Walcott M, Ritchie C, et al. 'Two Pains Together': Patient Perspectives on Psychological Aspects of Chronic Pain while Living with HIV. PLOS One. 2014 Nov 3; 9(11):e111765. PMID: 25365306 PMCID: PMC4218809

Merlin JS, Turan JM, Herbey I, et al. Aberrant Drug-Related Behaviors: A qualitative analysis of medical record documentation in patients referred to an HIV/Chronic pain clinic. Pain Medicine. 2014 Oct;15:1724–33. PMID: 25138608 PMCID: PMC4208944

Muzny CA, Austin EL, Harbison HS, Hook EW. Sexual partnership characteristics of African American women who have sex with women; impact on sexually transmitted infection risk. Sex Transm Dis. 2014 Oct;41(10):611-7. PMID: 25211257

Davies SL, Cheong J, Lewis TH, Simpson CA, Chandler SD, Tucker JA. Sexual risk typologies and their relationship with early parenthood and STI outcomes among urban African-American emerging adults: a cross-sectional latent profile analysis. Sex Transm Infect. 2014 Sep; 90(6):475-7. PMID: 24860103

Bengtson AM, Pence BW, O’Donnell J, et al. Improvements in depression and changes in quality of life among HIV-infected adults. AIDS Care. Epub 2014 Aug 8;27(1):47-53. PMID: 25105320

Piper K, Enah C, Daniel M. Black southern rural adolescents’ HIV stigma, denial, and misconceptions and implications for HIV prevention. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2014 Jun; 52(6):50-6. PMID: 24530218

Edwards M, Quinlivan EB, Bess K, et al. (2014). Implementation of PHQ-9 depression screening for HIV-infected patients in a real-world setting. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2014 May-Jun;25(3):243-52. PMID: 24103743 PMCID: PMC3976873

Onono MA, Cohen CR, Jerop M, Bukusi EA, Turan JM. HIV serostatus and disclosure: implications for infant feeding practice in rural south Nyanza, Kenya. BMC Public Health. 2014 Apr 23;14(1):390. PMID: 24754975 PMCID: PMC4041135

Vance, D. E. (March-April, 2014). Spiritual trajectories of those aging with HIV. Aging Today: The Bimonthly Newspaper of the American Society on Aging, 35(2), 1, 14.

Merlin JS, Walcott M, Herbey I, et al. Qualitative Investigation of a Brief Chronic Pain Screening Tool in HIV-Infected Patients. AIDS Pt Care STDS. 2014; 28(4):176-82. Epub 2014 Mar 12. PMID: 24621145 PMCID: PMC3985507

Merlin JS, Zinski A, Norton WE, et al. A conceptual framework for understanding chronic pain in patients with HIV. Pain Pract. 2014 Mar;14(3):207-16. PMID: 23551857

Rahangdale L, Stewart A, Stewart RD, et al. Pregnancy intentions among women living with HIV in the United States. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2014 Mar 1;65(3):306-11.

PMID: 24525467 PMCID: PMC3927156

Walcott MM, Funkhouser E, Aung M, et al. Gender norms and sexual behaviours among men in western Jamaica. Sex Health. 2014 Mar;11(1):42-51. PMID: 24618497

Van Wagoner N, Mugavero M, Westfall A, et al. Church attendance in men who have sex with men diagnosed with HIV is associated with later presentation for HIV care. Clin Infect Dis. 2014 Jan;58(2):295-9. PMID: 24198225 PMCID: PMC3871793

Boehme AK, Davies SL, Moneyham L, Shrestha S, Schumacher J, Kempf MC. A qualitative study on factors impacting HIV care adherence among postpartum HIV-infected women in the rural southeastern USA. AIDS Care. 2014;26(5):574-81. Epub 2013 Oct 14. PMID: 24116662

Konkle-Parker DJ, Amico KR, McKinney VE. Effects of an intervention addressing information, motivation, and behavioral skills on HIV care adherence in a southern clinic cohort. AIDS Care. 2014;26(6):674-83. Epub 2013 Oct 14. PMID: 24116922 PMCID: PMC3943644

Merlin JS, Westfall AO, Chamot E, et al. Pain is independently associated with impaired physical function in HIV-infected patients. Pain Med. 2013 Dec; 14(12):1985-93. PMID: 24119077 PMCID: PMC3886835

Szaflarski M, Vaughn LM, Chambers C, et al. “Engaging Religious Institutions to Address Racial Disparities in HIV/AIDS: A Case of Academic -Community Partnership.” Int J Res on Serv Learn Comm Engage (IJRSLCE). 2014;1(2). http://journals.sfu.ca/iarslce/index.php/journal/article/view/97.

Szaflarski M, Vaughn LM, McLinden D, Wess Y, Ruffner A. (2014) “Mobilizing a Black Faith Community to Address HIV.” Pp. 95-110 in Public Health: Improving Health via Inter-professional Collaborations, Rosemary M. Caron and Joav Merrick (eds.). New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Turan JM, Nyblade L. Global Maternal and Child Health Goals Will not be Achieved without Addressing Stigma and Discrimination. JAIDS. 2013 Sept 1;64(1):e9–10. PMID: 23941856

Turan JM, Hatcher A, Odero M, et al. A community-supported clinic-based program for prevention of violence against pregnant women in rural Kenya. AIDS Research and Treatment. Epub 2013 Apr 30. PMID: 23738056 PMCID: PMC3657417

Turan JM, Nyblade L. Stigma and discrimination as barriers to achievement of global PMTCT and maternal health goals: a review of the evidence. AIDS Behav. Epub 2013 Mar 9. PMID: 23474643

Szaflarski M. “Spirituality and Religion among HIV-Infected Individuals.” Current HIV/AIDS Reports. 2013;10(4):324-332.


Core Co-Directors
Janet M. Turan, PhD and Robin G. Lanzi, PhD, MPH

Dr. Turan (jmturan@uab.edu) is a Professor in the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy (Maternal and Child Health Concentration). She brings experience in maternal and child health, qualitative and mixed methods research and a unique focus on reducing stigma and discrimination experienced by women living with HIV to the core leadership. She was just awarded an RO1 to study the adverse effects of HIV-related stigma among pregnant women in Kenya.  She is also the co-principal investigator for a $1.7 million grant to study ways to eliminate new pediatric HIV infections, saving maternal lives and simplifying antiretroviral therapy implementation.  Janet is currently Co-Chair of the Psychosocial and Behavioral Working Group of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) and a leader of a CFAR-IRG on developing and testing interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma and increase HIV testing and engagement in care in Alabama (I.e.,  Finding Respect and Ending Stigma around HIV (FRESH) Study).

Dr. Lanzi (rlanzi@uab.edu) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and currently serves as Graduate Program Director.  She has extensive involvement in research on adolescent reproductive health, including recent involvement in research on HIV/AIDS prevention.  She currently has a SBIR grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development titled “Sexually Active Adolescent Focused Education (SAAFE):  A Mobile Based Game to Promote Healthy Sexual Practices" that is aimed at developing a consumer friendly HIV/STI prevention application for adolescents.  Robin has extensive experience in community-based research, including at the national level as part of the Community Child Health Network (funded by NICHD and NINR) for which she chaired 3 oversight committees.  She has had similar roles in other national and state research networks and is involved in community-based research and engagement in the greater Birmingham area.  

Bulent Turan, PhD

Dr. Turan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. His research examines the mechanisms underlying the relationship between social bonds and well-being. One area of focus is understanding how people use (or do not use) supportive relationships effectively at times of stress and how this affects emotional and physical health. A second area of focus is the effects of negative social evaluation on psychological and physical well-being (particularly hormonal responses including cortisol, testosterone, and alpha amylase reactivity).Recent projects involve applying the construct of fear of negative evaluation to the context of HIV to examine the effects of HIV-related stigma and discrimination among persons living with HIV.

For Core J, Dr. Turan will be offering consultation services for study design, quantitative data collection instrument design, and statistical analysis and data interpretation for behavioral and community science research related to HIV and other STIs. He will also make linkages to CFAR Biostatistics Core D for investigators needing additional biostatical advice.

Program Manager
Samantha Whitfield, MPH

Mrs. Whitfield holds degrees in social psychology and health behavior, both from UAB. She is the program manager for Core J as well as for Dr. Turan’s U.S. studies. She assists with planning Core activities, coordinates study recruitment, and creates and amends IRB documents in compliance with University policies. Her primary interests are in minority population health and sexual health education and promotion. She has experience conducting extensive literature reviews, assisting with manuscript writing, managing SPSS databases, facilitating young adult group discussion regarding risky behaviors, and HIV testing and informal counseling.

Community Engagement Coordinator
Edward Jackson

Since 2002, Mr. Jackson has been a Program Coordinator for federally funded HIV prevention interventions. He has worked extensively in public health communications and has been a consultant on mobilizing communities in the area of HIV and other health disparities for a number of agencies and government entities throughout the United States, including the White House. His experience working with people with culturally diverse backgrounds and focusing on community collaboration has led him to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. For Core J, Mr. Jackson creates and maintains community relationships with organizations that specialize in HIV prevention and patient services in the Birmingham and surrounding area. He also attends community events and acts as a representative for Core J in lending support to the community-based organizations and AIDS service organizations in the area.



If you have any ideas for seminar topics, please contact Samantha Whitfield at swhitfield@uab.edu

Upcoming Behavioral and Community Sciences Core seminars:
  • January 2016 - Craig Wilson, MD (Professor, UAB School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology; Director, UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health) - Adolescent and Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) - more specific topic to follow
  • February 2016 (tentative) - M. Scott Crawford (Statistician II, CITY Health, Center for the Study of Community Health) - Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) - sampling method used to capture characteristics of hard-to-reach groups

If you would like to be included on the listserv for 1) the Behavioral and Community Sciences Core, 2) the Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research Network, or 3) the Faith and Spirituality Network, please contact Samantha Whitfield at swhitfield@uab.edu 

Previous Events

Upcoming 2015 HIV Conferences and Meetings

Other 2015 Conferences and Meeting



Funding Opportunities

Qualitative Research

We've listed some qualitative services and resources that may be helpful for you:

Transcription Services
Same Day Transcription

Landmark Associates, Inc.
- offers Spanish

At Home Typing Serviceoffers Spanish

UAB Qualitative and Mixed Methods Courses
HCO 628/728 - Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research in Public Health
Dr. Janet Turan, School of Public Health
Fall Semesters

Qualitative Data Analysis Software Packages




Qualitative Training Services
The Odom Institute at UNC

Partners & Collaborators

BCSC partners and collaborators include:

CFAR Administrative Core
Current synergistic activities include the BCSC directors’ roles on the CFAR Executive Committee and participation in the consolidated United Community Advisory Board (UCAB), consisting of several individual CABs at the 1917 Clinic.

CFAR Biostatistics and Analysis Core
Community-based studies often address research questions not amenable to RCT designs and require observational, longitudinal, and participatory approaches. The BCSC coordinates with Core D coordinate to support such research.

CFAR Clinical Core
The BCSC and Core C collaborate to develop a seamless community-clinic interface for research and intervention addressing linkages encompassed by the HIV treatment cascade, a goal of the National AIDS Strategy and CFAR strategic plan.

CFAR Developmental Core
The Developmental Core is supporting two integral Core J grants related to HIV screening and treatment cascade integration and enhancement, as well as providing funding for an Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) focused on offering stigma reduction workshops to PLHA and healthcare workers.

UAB Center for the Study of Community Health (CSCH)
The CSCH is a University Wide Research Infrastructure Center housing the CDC-funded UAB Prevention Research Center and its Core Research project CITY Health, which involves HIV testing. CSCH projects/services will be coordinated with Core J services to reduce redundancies and maximize resources.

Deep South Network for Cancer Control / UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center

Jefferson County Department of Health

Alabama Department of Public Health

Community Partners
Community-based studies require effective academic-community partnerships. The BCSC interfaces with stakeholders, employs a Community Engagement Coordinator, works with the Jefferson County HIV/AIDS Community Coalition, and provides leadership and training on building relationships

For more information about our partnerships with community-based organizations that offer HIV services, please see the HIV Organization Map.

HIV Organization Map

This map provides information about community-based organizations and AIDS services organizations statewide that are dedicated to prevention of HIV and supporting people living with HIV. Several UAB departments and researchers have already established strong partnerships and are involved in collaborative projects with these organizations. Our goal is to provide you with information about these organizations and appropriate contact information for setting up new community partnerships in research.


Program Manager
Samantha Whitfield, MPH
(205) 934-6425

University of Alabama at Birmingham
UAB School of Public Health
Department of Health Care Organization and Policy
1665 University Boulevard, RPHB 310B
Birmingham, AL 35294-0022