Lisa Metsch, PhD
Chair, Stephen Smith Professor, Columbia Mailman Public School of Health (Sociomedical Sciences)
Lisa Metsch, PhD, is an internationally recognized leader in the prevention of HIV among populations with substance abuse problems. Dr. Metsch was one of the early researchers in the era of antiretroviral therapy to articulate the importance of creating prevention/primary care programs for people living with HIV, not simply those at risk of infection. She also was part of the multi-site team funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that developed and tested the first evidence-based linkage to care intervention for individuals who were newly diagnosed with HIV. Dr. Metsch's current work focuses on developing innovative strategies to increase the uptake of testing, linkage, retention, and re-engagement in care among vulnerable populations. For example, she is funded by the National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research to explore the feasibility of offering HIV testing in dental care settings. In collaboration with the Department of Sociomedical Sciences Center for the Psychosocial Study of Illness, she is also launching a qualitative study with HIV-positive hospital patients who have been out of care for at least six months.
Dr. Metsch's landmark research has helped to shape national policy and intervention programs. Her recent study findings on the value of integrating HIV testing in substance use treatment programs were the basis for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop an HIV awareness toolkit for substance use treatment providers. Dr. Metsch's long-term interest in HIV/AIDS began with her work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center on one of the first studies of barriers to HIV testing among gay men. Prior to joining the Mailman School, Dr. Metsch was professor of Epidemiology at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, where she served as director of the Division of Health Services Research and Policy, with secondary appointments in the Departments of Medicine and Sociology. She was also director of the Behavioral/Social Sciences and Community Outreach Core of the University's Developmental Center for AIDS Research. Her work with doctoral and masters students at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine garnered her the 2011 Public Health Student Association's Lecturer of the Year Award.