Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC) Center for Translational HIV Research

Director: Robert L. Cook, MD, MPH                                                                                                                                                                 
Department: Epidemiology
Phone: 352-294-5672
Web: http://sharc-research.org/

The Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC) Center enhances University of Florida’s overall mission via a unique research and training environment that emphasizes team science.  SHARC, based at the University of Florida, is one of five national Consortia for HIV/AIDS and Alcohol Research Translation (CHAART). CHAART also includes Brown University, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and Boston University.  The center is primarily funded by NIH/NIAAA U24 AA022002, and is also receiving support from the University of Florida (UF), Florida International University (FIU), University of Miami (UM), and the Miami Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). The mission of the SHARC Center for Translational HIV Research is to improve health outcomes and reduce HIV transmission among the diverse range of populations affected by alcohol and HIV infection in Florida. To fulfill this mission, SHARC will foster interdisciplinary translational research, training and community engagement.

The center brings together faculty and students at UF and other universities and public health agencies to conduct and collaborate on high quality research, with the mission to  translate research findings into clinical and public health interventions. This is evidenced by SHARC’s history of obtaining peer-reviewed grant funding, publishing work in high-impact journals, and receiving positive feedback from a range of stakeholders including affected populations. SHARC maintains a registry of 1000 persons with HIV from multiple settings across Florida. The cohort registry provides contact information for persons who may be eligible for future HIV-related studies, and is thus a resource for all interested in improving the  health outcomes of those infected with HIV. The SHARC Center has policies and procedures in place to provide access to this data to internal and external partners. Specifically, the SHARC Center provides access to data and data security, concept approval and tracking, data sharing agreements, and access to cross-institutional collaborations.  SHARC also provides data analytic support for new grant proposals, scientific papers and presentations.  This includes assistance with merging of databases, data analyses, assistance with online survey development and RedCap, and secure transfer of data across multiple institutions. In addition, we provide regulatory and administrative support related to the multiple IRBs involved in our clinical research studies.

SHARC also strives to increase research knowledge, skills, experience, and opportunities for a range of trainees, including undergraduate, professional, graduate, and post-graduate. SHARC provides trainees who participate in its Training and Development Program with up to $500 per year in additional travel support, and additional financial support for costs related to online publications and presentations (e.g., posters). The program also encourages trainees to participate in community events, gain leadership skills, and to obtain additional training related to the Responsible Conduct of Research. SHARC also has an ongoing Research Seminar series and several working groups that bring trainees and faculty together into multidisciplinary teams.

The other focus of SHARC’s mission is to develop and maintain relationships with community-based organizations.  For example, SHARC faculty are on the Board of the Area 3/13 Ryan White Planning Council, members of the Florida Consortium for HIV/AIDS Research, and advisors on a local HIV/STD prevention program for teens in Alachua County High Schools. SHARC also participates in community-based events and programs, and provides collaborative support to community-based organizations.  SHARC faculty and staff have presented information related to alcohol and HIV to at-risk populations in Gainesville, and we have helped non-profit organizations to successfully obtain research funds.

Core Faculty:

Robert L. Cook, MD, MPH – Director of SHARC
Babette Brumback, PhD
Ronald Cohen, PhD
Christa L. Cook, PhD, MSN, RN, APHN-BC
Mark Hart, Ed.D, MALS
Robert F. Leeman, PhD
Eric Porges, PhD
Yan Wang, PhD
Nicole E. Whitehead, PhD

Affiliated Faculty:

Jennifer W. Janelle, MD
Gary P. Wang, MD, PhD
Allison Yurasek, PhD