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Louisa Gilbert, Ph.D. ( is an Associate Professor with 25 years of experience developing, implementing and testing multi-level interventions to address HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, trauma, partner violence and other co-occurring issues among vulnerable communities in the U.S. and Central Asia. She has served as the Co-Director of the Social Intervention Group since 1999 and the Co-Director of the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia since 2007. Her specific area of research interest has concentrated on advancing a continuum of evidence-based interventions to prevent intimate partner violence among drug-involved women and women in the criminal justice system.  More recently, her funded research has also focused on identifying and addressing structural and organizational barriers in harm reduction programs to implementing evidence-based interventions to prevent overdose among drug users in Central Asia.

Assel Terlikbayeva, MD, M.S.W. ( is the Regional Director of the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia (GHRCCA) in Kazakhstan since 2007. Her research interests have focused on behavioral interventions related to HIV, TB, STIs, substance use and mental health in Central Asia. Currently, she is leading three large RO1s in Kazakhstan focusing on linkage to HIV care and improving HIV treatment outcomes among three key population groups: injection drug users, sex workers, and men who have sex with men (MSM). In previous years, GHRCCA has completed several NIH-funded grants focused on HIV among injection drug users and migrants, including an R01 focused on adapting a couple-based HIV risk reduction intervention for people who inject drugs. Over the past 10 years, she has implemented substance use and HIV/STI prevention and intervention studies in Kazakhstan and created strong community partnerships, established close cooperation with governmental agencies, and trained and supervised local research teams in recruitment and retention of research participants. Dr. Terlikbayeva received her MD from the Almaty Medical University in 2001 and Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University School of Social Work in 2003.

Dr. Nabila El-Bassel is the Willma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work at the Columbia University School of Social Work and Director of the Social Intervention Group (SIG), which was established in 1990 as a multi-disciplinary center focusing on developing and testing HIV, drug use, and gender –based violence effective prevention and intervention approaches and disseminating them to local, national, and global communities. Dr. El-Bassel is also the Director of the Columbia University Global Health Research Center of Central Asia(GHRCCA), a team of faculty, scientists, researchers, and students in both New York and Central Asia committed to advancing solutions to health and social issues in Central Asia through Research, Education, Training, and Policy and Dissemination.

Timothy Hunt, Ph.D ( is Director of Training and Capacity Building for Columbia University School of Social Work’s Social Intervention Group (SIG), the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia (GHRCCA), and former executive director for Middle East and Gulf projects for CSSW where he has provided extensive leadership for health and social service organizations in the adaption and integration of evidence-based strategies and research methods both in the US and internationally.  He brings over 26 years of clinical experience as a family/couples’ therapist, licensed clinical social worker, and addiction specialist to the project and has personally trained over 9,000 healthcare staff. Dr. Hunt has also developed and disseminated curriculum and technical assistance in three Central Asian nations to build medical and social service staff capacity to engage high risk populations while enhancing adherence to treatment and care, and preventing overdose funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USAID.

Tina Jiwatram-Negrón, Ph.D ( is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Her research and teaching focuses on different intersections of gender-based violence, including HIV and HIV risk behaviors (sex work, substance use), and related trauma/mental health outcomes. She specializes in intervention research among individuals and couples in these specific topical areas, both domestically and internationally, with emphasis on low-resource settings. Previously, she served as a Project Director at the Columbia University Social Intervention Group and Global Health Research Center of Central Asia on multiple HIV risk reduction and gender-based violence prevention intervention projects. Also thoroughly grounded in the non-profit sector for over a decade, Dr. Jiwatram-Negrón previously worked at multiple community mental health and domestic violence non-profits within the U.S., and was recently identified a Gender Expert by the United Nations

Dawn Goddard-Eckrich, MSS, EdD – Project Director – has over 14 years experience in project management at the Social Intervention Group. She is responsible for implementation, overseeing data collection and adherence of various study protocols and has also assisted in some intervention development and adaptation. Since 2003, Dawn has been involved in project coordination and management of the African American Couple’s Study, (Project EBAN) and three NIDA-funded studies, Project WINGS, Project WORTH and is currently managing Project PACT. She has completed a doctorate in Health & Behavior Studies at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College (2017). Dawn holds a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from University of Colorado, Denver (2000) and BA in Journalism from CUNY (1998).

Danil Nikitin
Since 2007 Danil Nikitin has been representing the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia, and heading the Global Research Institute (GLORI Foundation) since 2011. He earned his Masters in Social Work from Columbia in 2006. Internship with the UJA-Federation, Open Society Institute, and Social Intervention Group at Columbia University contributed a lot to his professional development. Prior to the graduate studies, he worked with Osh Regional Narcological Center as a program administrator. After graduating from Columbia, Danil returned to Kyrgyzstan and as a Director, PI and co-investigator, led intervention research focused on GBV and HIV prevention in drug-using communities.

Pemu Doma Bhutia ( is a community development worker with more than 10 years of experience working in the field of HIV/AIDS and its related challenges. She has vast experience working with and for Key Populations (KPs) most affected by HIV/AIDS in the Asia Pacific region. Her area of work has been program and partnership management, Resource mobilisation/fund raising for KP NGOs and CBOs, Donor relations, capacity building of KPs for effective response towards HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment care and support. She is also Master trainer on Stepping Stones (UGANDA) module related to HIV/AIDS and Gender and the WINGS SBIRT module on GBV and IPV. In the past she has worked with international organisations like VSO UK, TSF South Asia UNAIDS. She also has hands on experience on facilitating workshops/trainings of Global Fund Risk management and PR management Dashboard. Pemu is currently working in Technical Support Hub at India HIV/AIDS Alliance as a Senior Officer for the Asia Pacific Region based in India.