Skip to Main Content

Current Projects


In collaboration with the University of Georgia, the goal of #MVMNT, Men’s Voices on Mapping, Neighborhoods, and Technology, is to learn more about how social environments impact men’s health.

The purpose of the project is to focus on how locations and social networks influence the health of young men who have sex with men. Our goal is to understand how in-person and online social networks an locations individuals spend their time influence substance use and HIV risk behaviors. In 3-month the study will gather GPS collection, in-person interviews, and brief surveys sent through an app. The study will collect location updates, app use frequency and reported relationships to identify health outcomes. We want to use the findings of this study to inform in-the-moment risk reduction interventions throug h technology. The study will take place over four years in non-metropolitan towns in the Northeast and Southeast.

We hope to learn to improve health care and services for young men, by ultimately developing a real-time phone app intervention using the data collected in this research study.

If you are interested in enrolling as a participant, please see our Facebook page for more information!

Project RENEW

Project RENEW, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is a new project being led by Professor Trace Kershaw and Professor Jessica Muilenburg from the University of Georgia. Project RENEW aims to look at ways cell phones can be used to monitor how social determinants of health influence health behaviors, and specifically how neighborhoods and places people go can influence their alcohol-related treatment programs. The findings from this research will then go into developing a novel intervention using mobile phone tracking and applications to help prevent relapse.

Impact of COVID-19 Related Isolation on Individuals in Treatment for Substance Use

Ashlin Ondrusek1, B.A., Emily Townsend2, B.S., Ash Warnock2, B.S., MPH, Sarah R. Lowe1, PhD, Jessica Muilienberg2, PhD, Trace Kershaw1, PhD


1Yale School of Public Health

2University of Georgia College of Public Health

Background: For individuals in treatment for substance use, supportive social networks are essential to protect against a return to use. Objective: This study aimed to explore the impact of this swift and severe isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically for individuals in treatment for SUD by exploring the relationships amongst social connectedness and isolation to treatment accessibility, mental health, and substance use.

Methods: Twenty-four semi-structured interviews were conducted from May 2020 to August 2020 with participants engaged in substance use treatment asking about the impact of the pandemic on social networks, substance use, access to treatment, and mental health. Interviews were coded and analyzed using grounded theory.

Results: Results centered around two main themes, 1) Access to support (e.g. formal and informal networks) and 2) individual outcomes regarding substance use and worsened mental health.

Conclusions: This research suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted access to resources for individuals in treatment for substance use, and calls for treatment centers and governing bodies to put more resources into telehealth and alternative treatment plans in the event of major disruptions, such as national disasters and global pandemics.


Connect-2-PrEP is a research study where we are interviewing men who have sex with men who have used crystal meth to find out about their experiences with HIV prevention services generally and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention specifically. The ultimate goal of these interviews is to use this information to design an intervention to promote PrEP use in this group.