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Communication, Dissemination, and Engagement Research Program for the Prevention, Treatment and Cure of HIV


This program supports research on communication, dissemination and engagement to advance HIV prevention, treatment and cure. Communication and dissemination science involves the study and practice of creating, sharing and receiving information. Early work in mass communications and HIV outreach showed that the way in which health messages are shaped and delivered can significantly impact HIV-related behaviors, attitudes and policies. Ongoing efforts demonstrate that at each stage of the HIV care continuum, communication and dissemination science offers tools to inform the development of innovative health practices, meaningful provider guidelines, effective community engagement strategies, and evidence-based decision-making with the goal of expanding uptake of effective approaches to improve health outcomes. New digital technologies, including the advent of social media, offer increased opportunities for raising HIV awareness and optimizing positive health outcomes. Findings from clinical care settings demonstrate the importance of high-quality communication between patients and providers, and its direct impact on client comfort, trust and how information on HIV prevention and treatment is shared and received. Communication and dissemination science also allows us to maximize the transdisciplinary benefits of basic, behavioral and clinical science in mental health and HIV – bridging the gap between scientific knowledge, collaborative partnerships and community engagement. As such this program encourages the development of data and outcome-driven paradigms for sustainable learning, knowledge-exchange, and knowledge-utilization across a variety of disciplines, contexts, settings, and in communities that need them most. This program also supports domestic and global HIV research with special attention to those studies that address health disparities and engage underserved, under-resourced, and vulnerable populations.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Investigate and explore ways to improve public understanding of HIV through targeted messaging, community engagement, social marketing campaigns and other forms of strategic health communication to support individual, organizational and community-level understanding of HIV prevention, treatment and cure efforts.
  • Develop and improve digital technologies and new media platforms to raise HIV awareness; support social interaction and learning; maximize community reach and engagement; reduce HIV-information disparities; and promote accurate and timely health information to users, groups, and geographic regions most impacted by HIV.
  • Optimize effective communication and engagement practices between people living with HIV and healthcare providers, health systems, and other formal and informal care networks, in order to cultivate greater trust, support, and respect in care settings; facilitate enhanced information sharing and collaborative-decision making; and identify opportunities for effective, evidence-based, and client-centered interventions aimed at overcoming barriers to successful treatment, and linkage to care.
  • Support research to reduce the impact of misinformation or poorly delivered communication, and its contribution to medical mistrust, stigma, racism, sexism, xenophobia and other negative attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that impede positive mental health and HIV outcomes.
  • Investigate how communication strategies, message framing, and information-dissemination approaches from other health communication efforts may inform current and future HIV-related communication efforts and vice versa.


Gregory Greenwood, Ph.D., MPH 
5601 Fishers Lane, 9G19 
Rockville, MD 20852