Research Project directors

Below are profiles of staff members who play key roles in the coordination of research studies and clinical programs at the HIV Center.


Renato Barucco, MS is the Coordinator of the Program for the Study of LGBT Health in the, Division of Gender, Sexuality, & Health, NYS Psychiatric Institute / Columbia University Department of Psychiatry with the Columbia University School of Nursing. He is a master's-level psychologist and public health advocate.

Renato has extensive experience implementing and managing LGBT health programs, particularly transgender health programs, in underserved New York City neighborhoods. His expertise include development of HIV/AIDS education and cultural competency training curricula.
Renato has presented at national and international conferences including The International Conference on AIDS and The National Transgender Health Summit. He has authored articles about sexual health for The Advocate, The Huffington Post and The New York Times. He was the recipient of the 2013 George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services Geiger Gibson Emerging Leader award.
Contact: 646-774-6977;

Christopher Ferraris, MSW is a Research Project Manager working with Drs. Reuben Robbins and Robert Remien overseeing the ADD-ART (determining the clinical utility of dried blood spots as an objective measure of adherence to ART) and NASA studies (validating the NeuroScreen app to screen for neurocognitive impairment among youth with perinatally acquired HIV) in Cape Town, South Africa.

Chris has worked extensively in clinical research and program management in various hospitals including Johns Hopkins Hospital and most recently at the Mount Sinai Hospital System where he managed HIV prevention and linkage to care programs in the Emergency Departments and outpatient settings. Chris received his Master of Social Work from Tulane University with a focus on International Health.

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Rebecca Giguere, MPH is a Research Project Manager at the HIV Center, overseeing multiple studies of microbicide adherence and acceptability led by Principal Investigators Alex Carballo-Diéguez, PhD and Iván Balán, PhD She has worked with Drs. Carballo-Diéguez and Balán on several studies with the Microbicides Trials Network, focusing on the behavioral and counseling aspects of microbicide trials being conducted domestically and internationally with women and MSM. Prior to working at the HIV Center, Ms. Giguere coordinated an NIH funded study of youth access to emergency contraception and worked on several projects promoting women’s reproductive and sexual health. She has several years of experience in public health research and programs in both international and domestic sectors and extensive professional experience in Latin America and with Spanish speaking immigrants in the US. . 
Contact: 646-774-6943;

For a list of publications and citation statistics, please see Rebecca Giguere's Google Scholar page and Research Gate profile.


Rehema Korich, MPH, is a Project Director at the HIV Center, working with Claude Ann Mellins, PhD on CASAH, a longitudinal study of behavioral outcomes and risk and resilience in perinatally HIV-infected, and HIV-exposed but uninfected youth. Prior to joining Project CASAH, Rehema worked on a study looking at dating violence and human trafficking among adolescents living in the Bronx. 

Rehema holds an MPH from the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. 


Cody Lentz, BS is a Assistant Research Scientist at the HIV Center working under Drs. Alex Carballo-Diéguez, Ph.D. and Iván Balán, Ph.D.. He currently helps to oversee multiple studies of microbicide adherence and acceptability, as well as an innovative HIV prevention intervention utilizing HIV Home tests among Men and Transgender women who have sex with men in NYC and San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Fordham University. Prior to joining the team at the HIV Center, he worked in the Memory Disorders Center at the New York State Psychiatric Institute as a clinical research coordinator. 

Contact: 646-774-6929;

Selected Publications
Lentz, C. L., Glenwick, D. S., & Kim, S. (2016). The relationship of coping style and ethnicity/culture to co-rumination in adolescents. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 35(2), 171-180.


Javier López Rios, MPH is an Project Manager at the HIV Center, working with Dr. Robert Remien on several projects including the NYC AHI Project, a structural intervention looking to modify screening and detection practices for acute HIV infection in primary care settings, with Dr. Alex Carballo-Dieguez on an HIV prevention intervention using HIV Home tests among Men and Transgender women who have sex with men in NYC and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and with Dr. Ivan Balan on the development of a smart-phone app to accompany HIV and Syphilis Self- and Partner-testing. 

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and obtained his Masters in Public Health in Community Health Education at the City University of New York's School of Public Health at Hunter College. He's currently pursuing a Public Health doctoral degree at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. 
Contact: 646-774-6974;
For a list of publications and citation statistics, please see his Google Scholar profile.


Jeannette Raymond, BA is a Project Manager at the HIV Center, working with Claude A. Mellins, Ph.D. on CASAH, a prospective cohort study of perinatally HIV-infected, and HIV-exposed, but uninfected youth. As the cohort transitions to young adulthood, the study examines their behavioral health outcomes and pathways of risk and resilience. Prior to working at the HIV Center, Jeannette worked at the Institute for International and Cross-Cultural Psychology, investigating issues surrounding acculturation and mental health in Chinese adolescents and young adults.


Contact: 646-774-6905;


Selected Publication:
Raymond, J., Bucek, A., Dolezal, C., Warne, P., Benson, S.,  Abrams, E. J., … & Mellins, C. A. (2017) Use of unannounced telephone pill counts to measure medication adherence among adolescents and young adults living with perinatal HIV infection. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 42(9), 1006-1015.


Alana Rule joins the HIV Center as a Research Project Manager working with Dr. Theo Sandfort overseeing and managing the federally funded implementation science study, “Universal for all: Frequent for some: HIV testing in school-based health centers.” Alana has an extensive clinical research and program management background, having worked on numerous mental health related projects at the New York State Psychiatric institute with a specific focus on severe mental illness and stigma related barriers to care in high risk communities.

Most recently, Alana was the suicide prevention outreach coordinator funded by SAMSHA at LaGuardia Community College where she also served as an adjunct lecturer. Alana received her Master of Arts from Teachers College, Columbia University in clinical psychology and aspires to become a clinical psychologist.