The Management Core of iTech is housed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with support from Laura Gravens at Emory. Led by Dr. Lisa Hightow-Weidman, the Management Core is responsible for the supervision and decision-making of the entire iTech network. The Management Core carefully monitors and evaluates performance of each research study at respective clinical sites.
The Management Core is part of the Behavior and Technology Lab (BATLab) at UNC’s Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases (IGHID). The IGHID is at the center of a campus-wide effort where scientists, researchers and clinicians from all over campus collaborate on all aspects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The BATLab’s mission is to facilitate health behavior change through conducting technology-based research on all aspects of sexual health including factors that impact the acquisition and transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Lisa Hightow-Weidman, MD, MPH
Overall iTech Principal Investigator
Lisa B. Hightow-Weidman, MD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Department of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Hightow-Weidman completed her medical school training at the University of Virginia and became board certified in Internal Medicine in 2001 after completing three years residency training at Stanford University. She completed three years of fellowship training in Infectious Diseases at UNC-Chapel Hill. In 2004, she earned a Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Public Health. She has been directly involved with the management of HIV-infected and at-risk adolescents and adults at UNC-Chapel Hill since 2001.
Dr. Hightow-Weidman is an expert on mhealth, social media and utilization and evaluation of technology-based interventions to address the HIV Care Continuum for youth and young adults, particularly among young men who have sex with men (YMSM). She has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles on these topics. Her research interests include HIV prevention for YMSM using both the Internet and other mobile technologies, interventions that use game-based elements and social networking to change behavior. She has developed technology-based interventions to address uptake and adherence to biomedical HIV prevention technologies, as well as intervening to increase HIV diagnosis, linkage and retention in care for YMSM.
Lydia Ahlum Hanson, MPH, MSW
Management Core Director
Lydia has over ten years of experience coordinating public health initiatives and holds a broad range of skills in project planning, organizational management and community engagement. In 2012, they graduated from University of Michigan’s Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work programs with a focus in sexuality and gender-related health disparities and community organizing. Before moving to North Carolina, Lydia lived in Detroit and served as the Director of Programs at a regional LGBTQ+ community center where they were responsible for the development, implementation and management of organization’s large array of programs and services.
Outside of paid work, Lydia spends time organizing with the Triangle Chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice, learning about movement history and watching their dog, Emmylou, and cat, Dante, playfight with each other.
Administrative Coordinator, iTech Management Core
Alissa Barbieri is a San Diego, CA native and is currently the administrative assistant for Dr. Lisa Hightow-Weidman focusing primarily on the current iTech grant. Alissa graduated from Northern Arizona University with a B.S in Biomedical Science with a focus in Psychology. As a team member of the BATLab, Alissa hopes to learn more about health policy, public health intervention and get involved with reducing the stigma surrounding various care outcomes for underrepresented populations. In her free time, Alissa loves all things Disney, exploring the outdoors, volunteering any chance she can and spending time with her family.
Angie has been with UNC-Chapel Hill for over 5 years and has extensive knowledge in grant accounting. Angie has worked in Finance for 20+ years and has worked with Dr. Hightow-Weidman for the past 3 years. She brings experience in pre and post award implementation as well.Her grant experience has been with CDC, NIH, HRSA and the US Department of Education.
Kristina Felder, MPH
Kristina joins iTech as a Protocol Specialist. She received a MPH in Health Behavior from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. Kristina’s public health experience has included project management and intimate partner violence response and prevention. Prior to joining the iTech team Kristina worked at the Durham VA Medical Center managing research projects within the Cooperative Studies Program Epidemiology Center and as a family violence case manager at a local domestic violence agency.
In her spare time Kristina enjoys playing with her dog, reading, and trying new restaurants in the Triangle area.
Elijah Grossman, MSW
Systems & Communications Manager
Elijah joins the iTech team as the Systems & Communications Manager. In 2016, he graduated from the University of Washington’s Master of Social Work program with a focus on community-centered integrative practice. He previously earned a B.S. in Sociology from Virginia Tech and worked in crisis stabilization services for three years. Most recently, Elijah worked as a researcher and community advocate for Susan G. Komen Puget Sound, where he developed an initiative to train healthcare providers on LGBTQ breast health and cultural sensitivity. In his “spare time” Elijah is a transcriptionist for upcoming documentaries and generates social media content for a student housing property.
Cheryl has worked in research for 20 years, previously with industry sponsors. She has been at UNC as a Regulatory Coordinator for four years, working on investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored trials in the areas of global women’s health and infectious diseases.
Dania is a regulatory coordinator and has been with the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases since January of 2008. Dania handles all UNC IRB and NC Department of Corrections/Department of Public Safety submissions, queries, and issues to ensure that studies are IRB and DOC/DPS approved. She works primarily with the iTech/BATLab, Acute HIV Infection/Cure, and Prison groups. She enjoys event planning, knitting, arts and crafts projects, and doing mosaics.
Afua Osei, MSW, LCSW
Recruitment and Retention Specialist
Afua joins iTech as the Recruitment and Retention Specialist, working to support the SRVs to meet recruitment goals on their iTech studies. Afua has over seven years of experience working on a variety of social change initiatives aimed to improve public health outcomes. She has a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Afua is passionate about helping people break down the barriers that prevent them from living their best lives. She has experience building programming, providing counseling, and educational services in regards to HIV prevention. In 2013 while working for Philadelphia FIGHT, an HIV/AIDS services organization, Afua collaborated with a colleague to create an international program between FIGHT and the Ghana AIDS Commission called FIGHT for Ghana. This program worked to build awareness, reduce stigma, and raise funds to support the initiatives of the Ghana AIDS Commission.
In her free time she enjoys watching indie flicks, going to art shows, and all things related to African food, dance, and culture.
Jessica Mitchell Roberts, MS
Jessica Mitchell Roberts joins the iTech and BATLab teams as a Protocol Specialist. Jessica has over seven years of public and global health experience, including in project management, monitoring and evaluation, and grant and contract management. Before joining BATLab, Jessica worked on a chronic disease program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, supported global sexual and reproductive health and rights programs at Pathfinder International and Population Services International, and worked on monitoring and evaluation for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Sri Lanka. She holds an MS in Development Management from American University’s School of International Service, where she specialized in project monitoring and evaluation, and a BA in English from Tulane University.