Behavioral, Social, and Implementation Sciences Core

The Behavioral, Social, and Implementation Sciences (BSIS) Core provides training, consultation, and custom services to support the work of faculty and collaborators throughout the Third Coast CFAR. Services draw on the BSIS Core’s expertise in intervention development, biostatistics, health department collaborations, and community engagement. The Third Coast CFAR’s new voucher program was developed to support HIV research through use of services offered by the Biostatistics and Computational Resources Team (BCRT).

Services and Resources


Biostatistics and Data Analysis

The Biostatistics and Computational Resources Team provides consultation and direct core services in a range of quantitative methodologies to Third Coast CFAR members. Consulting with a research navigator during the proposal development phase is encouraged. Doctoral- and masters-level services are provided on fee-for-service basis. There is no fee for initial consultation.

View a recorded workshop on a new set of services available, including advanced psychometrics, systems science, agent-based modeling, and high-performance computing for public health applications. In addition, an entirely new workshop was recently held that highlighted other areas of expertise.

Areas of expertise include:

  • Power analysis for multiple types of study designs
  • Methodology and experimental design, including stepped wedge and hybrid trials
  • Survey construction
  • Traditional statistical modeling (e.g., ANOVA, regression, or survival analysis)
  • Latent variable modeling
  • Network analyses
  • Market research (discrete choice modeling and conjoint analyses)
  • Referral to non-CFAR expertise at Northwestern or University of Chicago 


Implementation Science

Training and consultation in HIV implementation science is available through the BSIS Core for CFAR members investigators who work in implementation research or who wish to integrate these methods into their HIV research portfolio. The Third Coast CFAR is home to experts in HIV implementation science and creates resources available throughout the CFAR network. Recorded workshops and slide decks on fundamentals and methods in implementation science are available:

Additional resources, links to training opportunities, and presentations on essential elements of HIV implementation science are also available via the Inter-CFAR Implementation Science Resources section of the Third Coast CFAR website.


Public Health Data

The Chicago and Illinois Departments of Public Health work closely with the BSIS Core to form and enhance scientific partnerships with CFAR members. These collaborations often leverage existing surveillance data and CDC-funded data resources, including National HIV Behavioral Surveillance and Medical Monitoring Project, for use in HIV research. The BSIS Core provides consultation to investigators as they develop new projects and need navigation to create formal data requests, Data Use Agreements, Memoranda of Understanding, Releases of Information, and other agreements.

The Clinical Sciences Core provides navigation through health department and single IRB processes, as needed. With collaboration and approval from CDPH or IDPH, the Third Coast CFAR may also facilitate retrieval and analysis of health department data. See the slide deck from a CDPH-CFAR workshop that details data resources available for HIV research partnerships. In addition, a recent Clinical Sciences Core workshop demonstrates how to apply technology design and data innovation principles to public health and clinical HIV research projects. The BSIS Core also navigates users to the Getting to Zero-Illinois HIV data dashboard.


Geospatial Analyses (ArcGIS)

Geospatial analyses visualize trends in data, such as HIV incidence relative to location or other contextual factors. Using ArcGIS software, the BSIS Core provides custom static or interactive maps to faculty across disciplines of HIV research. Geocoding services and expert navigation to non-CFAR resources are also available. View examples of tailored maps using local data.


Community Engagement

The BSIS Core works closely with community partners throughout Chicago. Faculty and staff are available to connect investigators to key community members for input on projects in development or to establish a new CAB for a long-term project. This service is available in addition to accessing the CFAR’s standing Community Collaboration Board, which is also available for consultation. View a workshop presented in 2021, Developing Community-Academic Research Partnerships, for tips and guidance from current and former teams engaged in collaborative HIV research.


Participant Recruitment

The BSIS Core offers consultation for participant recruitment into HIV studies through online platforms (e.g., apps, social media) or community events. Experienced faculty or study staff will provide feedback on recruitment strategies and materials. The BSIS Core can also connect investigators to community organizations that may share research opportunities with their clients or staff.


Social, Behavioral, and Person-Reported Outcome Measures

Behavioral and social scientists in the BSIS Core are available to help investigators select relevant and well-validated surveys and scales for HIV research across disciplines. In addition to existing measures for HIV research, the core can also navigate users to non-CFAR resources available to support the development of new instruments. 

The BSIS Core also provides navigation to well-validated measures of person-reported outcomes that can be easily integrated into many data collection tools (e.g. electronic medical records, research survey instruments, study visits) for research on the HIV care continuums or management of non-AIDS comorbidities. Existing measurement systems, such as PROMIS and NIH Toolbox, are frequently utilized in research on other conditions and present an opportunity for CFAR members to leverage the expertise of nationally-recognized experts based at Northwestern University. The BSIS Core convened local experts in PROs for an introductory workshop in September 2021. View the recording and slides.

Request Services

Request BSIS Core services on the Find a Service page. Contact Angel Aviña with questions about the BSIS Core.

BSIS Core Leadership

Michael Newcomb, PhD, Northwestern University
BSIS Core Director

Nanette Benbow, MAS, Northwestern University
BSIS Core Co-Director

Russell Brewer, DrPH, University of Chicago
BSIS Core Co-Director