Areas of Interest

SIG has primarily focused on intervention and prevention research on HIV, substance abuse, IPV and trauma for vulnerable populations (sexual minorities, people involved in criminal justice settings, etc.).


Over the past 20 years efforts to prevent the transmission of HIV and related health and mental health consequences have dominated the global public health agenda.  Research scientists at the Social Intervention Group have many significant  contributions in this area, including the development and testing of efficacious behavioral prevention programs targeting vulnerable populations, and in individual, couple and group modalities.   Work at the Social Intervention Group continues to innovate in the areas of HIV prevention dissemination and implementation as well as identifying ways to extend this learning to other areas of public health and social work, including TB, and to non-communicable diseases.

Criminal Justice

Since the 1990s, the Social Intervention Group has completed several research projects designed to assist those who encounter and are involved with the criminal justice system. SIG research studies have targeted prominent needs, such as intimate partner violence, drug abuse, and HIV/AIDS. Other studies have focused on how the various affiliated service systems can better meet the needs of these vulnerable populations.

Additionally through the T32 grant, a joint Initiative with the Mailman School of Public Health and the Columbia School of Social Work, The Social Intervention Group assists in training the next generation of pre- and post-doctoral scholars in the prevention, treatment, and care of HIV and drug abuse among individuals in the criminal justice system. The Social Intervention Group also works looks closely with the Criminal Justice Initiative: Supporting Children, Families and Communities and the Justice Initiative at Columbia University

Related Projects: Bridge Project, WINGS, WORTH, Wings of Hope

Sexual Minorities

Sexual minorities carry a disproportionate burden of HIV and drug abuse in the U.S. and worldwide. Furthermore, multiple intersecting dynamics of oppression and stigma can impede traditional prevention and treatment efforts. Innovative approaches and research are needed to better redress these health disparities that are both long-standing and compounded.

Past and ongoing research projects include adaptation and development of an HIV and drug risk reduction intervention for Black men who have sex with men (MSM), efficacy test of a couple-based HIV prevention with Black men who have sex with men (MSM), Latino MSM with limited English proficiency, and population size estimation of MSM in Kazakhstan.

Projects: Connect With Pride, Connect ‘N Unite, Latinos en pareja, PRIME

Intimate Partner Violence

The Social Intervention Group has conducted extensive epidemiological  and qualitative research examining the relationship among the co-occurring problems of  IPV, drug use and HIV among different populations of men and women in the U.S and Central Asia.  This research has informed the design of innovative interventions to address IPV with different population of women that have demonstrated promising outcomes in randomized controlled trials. Social Intervention Group has developed and tested a computerized brief screening, brief intervention and referral service tool for women under probation or alternative-to-incarceration that is designed to identify different types of IPV, conduct safety planning and link women who use drug to IPV-related services.

Social Intervention Group has also recently developed and tested a group-based integrated HIV and IPV prevention intervention using an multimedia format with drug-involved  women under community supervision.  Current efforts are under way to conduct implementation research to inform how best to scale up these interventions in a range of different settings.

Related Projects: WINGS, WORTH

Substance Abuse

Over the past 25 years, SIG has developed and advanced a range of brief and extended evidence-based interventions focused on reducing substance misuse and co-occurring problems of HIV, HCV, sexually transmitted infections, overdose, intimate partner violence, trauma and poverty.   These interventions have been tailored to diverse groups of drug users and risk environments in the U.S., Central Asia and other factors. SIG has implemented these interventions using individual, couple, group and mixed modalities in both traditional and multimedia formats.  More recently SIG has focused on conducting implementation research to identify environmental and organizational factors that may impede or facilitate the delivery and scale up of these interventions in drug treatment, harm reduction and criminal justice settings.