Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Penn Center for AIDS Research (CFAR)

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the Penn Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) provides shared administrative and research support to enhance and coordinate high quality HIV/AIDS research projects throughout the University. The CFAR provides core facilities, expertise, and services not otherwise readily obtained through more traditional funding mechanisms. These core resources facilitate inter-departmental cooperation in the planning and conduct of research that will advance scientific findings in the area of HIV/AIDS.

The HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Division is a CFAR partner. The Division Director, David Metzger, PhD, is the Director of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Core (BSSC) of the CFAR, one of nine CFAR cores. The primary goals of the BSSC are:

  • improve our understanding of the contextual circumstances (social, sexual, and drug using networks; community; geography) within which HIV transmission occurs and their impact upon risk of infection and access and adherence to treatment 
  • strengthen the role that behavioral sciences have in the design and evaluation of clinical trials of biomedical HIV prevention interventions (microbicides, vaccines, and therapeutics)
  • create linkages with other investigators, (behavioral and interdisciplinary), both domestically and internationally, to develop sustainable HIV/AIDS research programs

Program members meet on a semi-annual basis to review and modify scientific priorities and to make recommendations for change in the Core’s services.

BSSC initiatives and services include:

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Network (SBSRN)
    The primary mission of SBSRN is to develop research initiatives across CFARs; an annual conference is held every October (2008 - University of Washington; 2009 - Harvard/Brown, 2010 - Emory)
  • Support for the Penn CFAR Community Advisory Board (CAB)
    The BSSC is responsible for supporting the CFAR CAB. The mission of the CFAR CAB is to foster and maintain partnerships and open communication between CFAR researchers and the community. The Core facilitates these interactions through monthly CFAR CAB meetings and ongoing development of community-focused HIV research projects that reflect both investigators' interests and community needs. The CAB meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 12:00 to 2:00 P.M.

For information about the BSSC and the CFAR CAB, contact Tiffany Brown at 215-746-7352 or

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