Schnall headshot

Schnall Awarded $15.1 million to Examine Women’s HIV Risk

December 8, 2022

Rebecca Schnall, PhD ’09, Mary Dickey Lindsay Professor of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, with her MPI team, Mirjam-Colette Kempf, PhD, at the University of Alabama and Amy Johnson, PhD, at Lurie Children’s Hospital, has received a $15,149,718 R01 award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the Office of the Director, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for her project, “Examining Social Ecological and Network Factors to Assess Epidemiological Risk in a Large National Cohort of Cisgender Women.” 

The five-year study will enroll a national digital cohort of 1,800 HIV-negative women and look at how multiple factors influence the risk of acquiring HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The award is Columbia Nursing’s largest research grant to date. 

“Cisgender women account for approximately 20% of annual HIV diagnoses in the United States, yet there is limited information on the combination of factors that contribute to HIV incidence in these women,” explained Schnall, who is also associate dean of Faculty Development. 

“In response, our study team proposes to develop a knowledgebase of integrated data including biomarker data, network data, and big data from disease surveillance and social determinants of health databases,” she added. “At the conclusion of our study, we hope to identify the individual, social network, geospatial, and public policy factors that increase a women’s risk for HIV and/or sexually transmitted infection acquisition, providing intervention opportunities to reduce women’s vulnerabilities to HIV infection.”