Faculty and Staff
Sharon Alpert – Field Assistant
Sharon joined the WIHS in 1998. She contributes to the smooth operations of our SF and East Bay offices and clinics by ordering and stocking all needed supplies. Sharon also facilitates building upkeep and maintenance at our SF offices. In her leisure time, Sharon likes swimming, dancing, biking, hiking, yoga, socializing with family and friends, good music and movies.
Bradley Aouizerat – Principal Investigator
Dr. Aouizerat is one of three Northern California WIHS PIs, along with Drs. Greenblatt and Tien. He is a molecular epidemiologist and molecular biologist and has been an investigator working in the WIHS since 2007. Dr. Aouizerat’s research focuses on understanding host genomic factors that contribute to differences in treatment response to antiretroviral therapy as well as those that contribute to risk for common symptoms (e.g., pain, fatigue) and comorbidity in HIV-infected individuals. He led the recent genome-wide association study in WIHS which now supports numerous investigators seeking to understand the contribution of host genomic factors to comorbidities that are common in HIV-infected persons. Dr. Aouizerat is an active Mentor to many trainees and early career faculty working with the WIHS to pursue research that involves testing host and viral genomic hypotheses.
Jenna Burton – Clinical Research Coordinator – CAB Liaison
Jenna joined the WIHS in February 2015. She has a BA in Anthropology from Howard University. Jenna is bilingual in English and Spanish. She came to WIHS after providing health care services to low-income, uninsured and homeless clients as a medic at the Berkeley Free Clinic. Jenna has worked on other studies at UC Davis Medical Center, Public Health Institute (PHI) and Kaiser Permanente. She loves bike riding and in her spare time organizes community bike rides through an organization she founded - Red, Bike and Green. In 2009, Jenna rode her bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the AIDS LifeCycle.
Likke Chandra – Data Manager
Likke has worked with the Northern California WIHS since 2001. She currently works as the Data Manager for the WIHS and associated substudies. Likke stays busy generating analytical data sets for investigators and develops databases for our local studies, in addition to working with the field staff to ensure data quality and completeness.
Jennifer Cohen – Project Director
Jennifer joined the WIHS in 2013. She is responsible for the overall operational, fiscal, and regulatory oversight of the Northern California WIHS. Starting in 1994, Jennifer has worked in community-based research focused on HIV at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Addiction Research and Treatment Services, the Denver Public Health Department, and most recently at the UCSF Positive Health Program. She received her MPA at the University of Colorado, Graduate School of Public Affairs.
Ruth Greenblatt – Principal Investigator
Dr. Greenblatt is an Infectious Disease-trained Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, Medicine and Epidemiology/Biostatistics. She is the founding Principal Investigator of the Northern California WIHS, and the Women's HIV Program at UCSF. Her expertise and leadership in the WIHS include antiretroviral drug pharmacology, drug exposure modeling, HIV progression and treatment response phenotypes, gonadal aging (menopause), and mucosal immunology. She is an active member of the WIHS Executive Committee and the Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Pharmacology, Gynecology and Genetics working groups.
Karen Kavanagh – Project Coordinator
Karen has worked with the WIHS since 2005. She is the Lead Interviewer at our East Bay office. Karen coordinates the daily activities of the WIHS Core and Neurocognitive protocols and data collection. She also assists with regulatory monitoring and supervises other Clinical Research Coordinators. Karen is bilingual in English and Spanish. She received her Bachelors of Science in Human Development with a Minor in Women’s Studies from UC Davis. Prior to WIHS, she worked at Planned Parenthood as the Prenatal Service Manager, and spent two years in the Peace Corps in Honduras. Outside of work, Karen enjoys baking, swimming, jogging, and photography.
Monique Biega – Clinical Research Coordinator
Monique joined the WIHS in late 2015. She coordinates the Liver Biopsy (NaSH) and Transcranial Doppler (UNCoVer) substudies. Monique graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2012 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. She brings 2 years of experience working in HIV prevention research at the SF Department of Public Health. She plans to pursue graduate school to become a Nurse Practitioner with a focus on infectious diseases.
Stacy Polos – Clinical Research Coordinator
Stacy joined the WIHS in June 2015. She has a BS in Health Education from San Francisco State University, and MPH from the University of San Francisco. Stacy is bilingual in English and Spanish. She is a certified HIV test counselor and has been doing HIV prevention work since 2010. Prior to WIHS, Stacy worked at a national health education non-profit doing program development and evaluation. Outside of work, Stacy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, exploring the Bay Area, reading, and being a Giants baseball fan.
Janice Rothstein – Licensed Vocational Nurse
A former New Yorker, Ms. Rothstein has been with the SF Women’s Study since 2001 as an interviewer and phlebotomist. Janice is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a CA state licensed L.V.N. and worked at Clínica Esperanza at Mission Neighborhood Health Center in San Francisco and on the Med Surgical unit at SF General prior to joining the study. When not at work, she enjoys books, movies, and SF Giants baseball.
Pasang Norpu Sherpa – Financial Analyst
Pasang joined the WIHS in 2013. He works as a Fiscal Services Analyst for WIHS and the Department of Clinical Pharmacy. He works closely with the investigators to review and monitor budgets and awards to help ensure that all research funds are spent according to NIH and UCSF guidelines. Pasang comes to WIHS after working in the UCSF Controller’s Office and Department of Physiology. Pasang speaks Sherpa, Tibetan, Nepali, and English. He received a BS from San Francisco State University.
Julia-Beth Thomas – Nurse Practitioner
Julia has been with WIHS since 1997. She received her BS in Nursing from San Francisco State University in 1987 and her MS in Nursing with an emphasis on Women’s Health from the UCSF School of Nursing in 1991. Before coming to WIHS, Julia provided gynecological care at the Women’s Needs Center of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics. She has also worked as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner with the San Francisco Rape Treatment Center. Julia values the long term relationships she has developed with the participants, and appreciates their loyal participation in this important project. In her spare time Julia enjoys travel, dance and spending time with family and friends.
Carol Thuman – Nurse Practitioner
Carol has been with the WIHS since 2007. She received her MS from the UCSF School of Nursing in 1998, and is a Board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner. Carol is fluent in French and Spanish. Prior to WIHS, she worked at the Women’s Urgent Care Center at Highland Hospital and as a clinician at Planned Parenthood and the Haight Asbury Free Clinics Women’s Needs Center. Carol works primarily at our San Francisco offices, performing the Core physical and gynecological exams and colposcopies on study participants.
Phyllis Tien – Principal Investigator
Dr. Tien provides oversight of research activities, with an emphasis on substudies. Dr. Tien is an Infectious Disease-trained physician and epidemiologist, as well as Professor of Medicine at UCSF with expertise in the study of viral infections (i.e. HIV and HCV infections), adiposity and their metabolic and inflammatory consequences to the pathogenesis of long term comorbidities including liver, vascular and musculoskeletal injury. Dr. Tien is the chair of the WIHS Executive Committee and an active member of the Metabolic/Vascular and Hepatitis Working Groups.
Debra Walter – Nurse Practitioner
Debra has been a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner since 1983. She brought her expertise to the WIHS study in 1996. Prior to the WIHS, she was Lead Clinician and colposcopist for 13 years with Planned Parenthood of Hayward. She also provided gynecological care in the Adult Immunology Clinic at Highland Hospital in Oakland for 10 years. Her spare time is spent gardening, reading and hosting dinners for the local art-car community. Debra treasures the years of collaboration with the WIHS women of the Bay Area and thanks them for their contributions to the WIHS study.