Susan Tross

Susan Tross, PhD

 Professor, Clinical Medical Psychology in Psychiatry, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Since 1985, I have been intensely committed to developing, delivering and evaluating intervention programs in substance abuse, HIV risk behavior, and psychological adaptation to HIV. My research has focused on work with poor, disenfranchised people, including MSM, (injection and non-injection) substance users, and sexual partners of substance users, at highest risk for or living with HIV and comorbid diseases and/or substance abuse, proceeding directly from close partnerships with community collaborators, in agencies that serve them. Together with community and academic partners, my research has used multidisciplinary approaches to: (1) identify the psychological, ethnocultural and structural factors driving HIV risk behavior or substance abuse; (2) develop and adapt evidence-based interventions to address these factors; and (3) carry out community-based trials of these interventions. It has been guided by a Community Based Participatory Research perspective – in which community stakeholders have been active collaborators at every phase. It has used mixed methods approaches – to obtain both broader quantitative outcomes and qualitative findings that capture underlying first-person experiences, preferences and impressions of stakeholders. Currently, in the NIMH-supported HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, at Columbia University Medical Center, I am Co-Director of the Statistics, Assessment and Data Management Core. I am the Co-Lead Investigator of National Institute On Drug Abuse CTN Protocol 0082: Implementation Survey of PreExposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Opioid Use Related Services in STI Clinics and Community Based Organizations (CBOs)”.This protocol is a multi-level implementation survey of (1) PrEP knowledge, readiness, and barriers, facilitators and strategies for PrEP delivery and use and (2) knowledge, readiness and barriers, facilitators and strategies for delivery of Opioid Use Related Services in three stakeholder types (agency directors, providers, MSM who use stimulants and opioid users) in local health department STI clinics and CBOs in eight high HIV incidence cities in the Southern US. As Dual Principal Investigator, I am leading an NIMH R21 grant to analyze the association between use of (non-HIV) ancillary services and viral load suppression in PLHIV, and to develop HIV care and treatment adherence strategies, to be delivered by (non-HIV) ancillary service providers. As Co-Investigator on three NIH-funded research projects, I am also collaborating on: a trial of a critical consciousness raising/ empowerment group intervention for HIV prevention and substance use reduction for high risk adolescents in a court-based alternative sentencing program; a cluster randomized trial of Practice Coaching for uptake of HIV testing in outpatient drug treatment programs; and on the current JCOIN trial of rollout of opioid courts in NYS.