Social Intervention Group | SIG

Columbia School of Social Work

What We Do
Who We Are


Completed Projects

Project ADVANCE (Advocacy and Assessment of Naloxone in Central Asia)
Funded by: Open Society Foundations

Project ADVANCE was a one-year funded initiative spearheaded by the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia (GHRCCA). The goal of the project was to support regional advocacy efforts for the peer distribution of naloxone to opiate users and their support network members in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

advance round tableDuring the year, the ADVANCE team worked with NGOs, governments, and donors in the region to further develop country-specific advocacy strategies.

They collected and analyzed data on overdose incidence rates, risk factors, and the use of naloxone by peers as well as access to emergency care, medical services, and trust points. This data is being further analyzed and more information will follow in the near future.

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Rule Your Life (Reducing Risks for Non-Communicable Diseases in Mongolia)
Funded by: The Millennium Challenges Corporation (MCC)

rule your life ulaanbaatar viewThe research team in partnership with the Wellspring NGO recently completed a study testing the feasibility of a health promotion intervention on reducing risks for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs are the most common causes of premature mortality and morbidity worldwide and an increasing public health problem in Mongolia. Concern about the global economic impact of NCDs suggests an urgent need to develop and implement low-cost NCD prevention programs.

This study tested the efficacy of a health promotion intervention among 200 male and female factory workers in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Preliminary findings show that the intervention increased days of fruit and vegetables consumption, physical activity, and reduced the number of alcoholic drinks per day and diabetes symptoms at 3-months post intervention. More information about this study will follow in the near future.

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connectwithprideConnect with Pride
Funded by: Center for Disease Control

This was a 3-year cooperative agreement study to adapt a couples-based HIV preventive intervention originally for heterosexual couples for a new target population of methamphetamine-involved African American men who have sex with men (MSM). The study involved qualitative work to revise and refine the intervention, followed by a pre-/post-test pilot study with couples from the target population.

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The Bridge Project
Funded by: National Institute on Drug Abuse

This was a longitudinal panel survey study with men and women attending alternative-to-incarceration programs in New York City.

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Safe Steps Project
Funded by: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

A randomized clinical trial examining a combined behavioral and medication intervention for women with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use disorder. Safe Steps is actively enrolling female participants into the study.  The study is located at St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital Center in the Behavioral Science Research Unit on the Upper Westside of Manhattan.

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Project Connect Two
Funded by: The National Institute on Drug Abuse

This couple-based prevention intervention aimed at reducing sexual and drug risk behaviors that increase the likelihood of HIV/STI transmission among drug-involved, low-income heterosexual couples. Findings indicated a significant reduction in these behaviors and a higher reduction of the same outcome in the couple group compared to the individual group. This outcome suggests that a relationship-based, HIV prevention intervention is more effective when delivered to both members of the couple together than separately.

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ebanProject Eban
Funded by: National Institute of Mental Health

This was the first multisite study aimed at delivering a health promotion intervention to African American heterosexual couples where one person was HIV-positive. Participants were recruited in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, and Philadelphia. The health promotion intervention was effective on multiple health behaviors including healthier food consumption and more physical activity.

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Dutchess County Juvenile Justice Feasibility Study
Completed 2007

Drs. Hien and Schwalbe (Assistant Professor at CUSSW) conducted a feasibility study at the Dutchess County Criminal Courts and Probation Offices for Children to rates of traumatic exposure in adolescents on probation as part of an acceptability for a future intervention project and collaboration. Data from this study was used in the preparation and submission of a R01 grant to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

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Project Renaissance Pilot
Funded by: National Institute of Mental Health

This pilot intervention trial tested the feasibility and effectiveness of a couple HIV/STI intervention with injecting drug users and their heterosexual intimate partners recruited from a needle exchange clinic in Chu, Kazakhstan.

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Women and Trauma
Funded by: National Institute on Drug Abuse

This was a national multisite randomized clinical trial testing the effectiveness of Seeking Safety, an integrated behavioral intervention for women with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorder, in seven community-based substance abuse treatment programs.

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Pilot Study with Migrant Market Workers in Kazakhstan
Completed 2006

This pilot study was initiated at the Barakholka Market in Almaty Kazakhstan. Interviews were conducted with 20 key informants, including: market administrators, pharmacists, transport workers, security guards, an accountant and a health care provider as well as a health official from the City AIDS Center and a representative of the City Department of Health in Almaty. Key informant interviews with 20 migrant market workers, 5 from each of the four CA countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan) were also conducted by local researchers who worked closely with the CU investigative team. 

Major findings:

  • A large majority of market workers are from Central Asia, often from rural areas who have migrated to cities for work
  • Migrants often turn to pharmacists in the market for medical advice and referrals
  • Only one clinic in Almaty provides limited health care for migrants
  • The majority reported little or no access to health care services or any information about HIV/STIs
  • Almost all workers reported not using condoms during sex with a female partner in the past 90 days
  • Several workers reported engaging in sex with sex workers

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SIG Established Partnership with the Republican AIDS Center (RAC) in Kazakhstan

SIG completed a pilot HIV prevention intervention study with RAC and conducted an epidemiological study on HIV risk among market vendors in Kazakhstan. SIG and RAC planned to submit two grants in 2006 to continue this partnership.

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The Father’s Project
Funded by: National Institute on Drug Abuse

This was a qualitative study that examined fathering dynamics, intimate partner violence, and drug use among men on methadone who have children under 18-years- old.

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The SUMMIT Project
Funded by: National Institute on Drug Abuse

This project examined patterns of service utilization among men on methadone who reported perpetrating intimate partner violence.

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Project Renaissance Pilot Trial
Funded by: National Institute of Mental Health
Completed 2004

The aim of this study was to develop and test the feasibility of a couples-based HIV/STI risk reduction intervention (CHSR), and to examine the preliminary effects of the CHSR on drug and sexual HIV risk behavioral outcomes among 40 IDUs and their main sexual partners in Shu, Kazakhstan.

Results showed that compared to participants assigned to the comparison condition, CHSR participants were significantly more likely to report a higher proportion of condom use during vaginal sex and fewer number of acts of unprotected vaginal sex as well as lower number and proportion of injection acts in which syringes or needles are shared from baseline to 3-month follow-up.

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The Women’s Wellness Project
Funded by: Edward S. Moore Foundation

A pilot intervention trial, which tested the feasibility and effectiveness of a 12-session integrated relapse and IPV prevention intervention with 38 abused, drug-involved women on methadone. The promising results led SIG to submit a grant to NIDA to test the efficacy of this intervention in a larger scale, randomized clinical trial.

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Project Reach
Funded by: National Institute of Mental Health

This study explored the relationship dynamics and sequences of events that culminate in the co-occurrence of partner violence and drug-related HIV risk-behaviors among women visiting an emergency department. Findings from this study increased the understanding of the relationship between partner violence and HIV risk behavior in order to inform assessment, referral, and treatment protocols used by ED staff to meet the diverse needs of women who are at risk of partner abuse and HIV infection.

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Project LIGHT (Living in Good Health Together)
Funded by: National Institute of Mental Health

This research was a multisite HIV prevention trial that tested the efficacy of an HIV risk reduction intervention with high-risk populations from seven sites across the United States. It was conducted as part of a cooperative agreement study that was the largest randomized controlled HIV prevention trial in the country.

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For more information on any of the above projects, contact: