The Third Coast CFAR began with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) as a founding partner organization alongside our universities, with a vision shared by all partners that more interactive research could help stop the HIV epidemic. Led by Nanette Benbow, the CFAR’s Scientific Working Group (SWG) has grown over the past several years to provide critical resources and expertise to researchers and their public health partners to develop funded research that aims to improve the cascades of HIV prevention and care in Chicago and Illinois. Prior to joining Northwestern and the CFAR, Benbow was a local and national public health leader, enabling her to be a “honest broker” between researchers and both CDPH and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Benbow’s role in stewarding relationships has been critical for catalyzing a number of key successes for CFAR faculty, CDPH, and IDPH. Accomplishments include three NIH-funded projects, two pending submissions, and ongoing growth in research collaborations and data sharing.

Faculty interested in collaborating on research with CDPH/IDPH, or working with HIV surveillance data, should contact Nanette Benbow, as she coordinates/facilitates all interactions on HIV-related research with the health departments. Based on health department priorities, the SWG is starting new working groups on PrEP and HIV prevention/treatment for African American women. All are welcome to participate in the SWG.