New England Science Symposium at Harvard Medical School Accepts Student’s Poster on Unmet Service Needs among HIV-Positive Individuals

Leandra Stubbs, a master’s student in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, has had a poster accepted to the New England Science Symposium. The fourteenth annual conference will be held on April 11 and is run through the Harvard Medical School Office of Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership and the Biomedical Science Careers Program (BSCP).

“I am very excited to share this research with students and faculty from across the country,” said Stubbs. “I look forward to growing my professional network, and I anticipate having the opportunity to refine my methodology and garner a fresh perspective on my research through interaction with other scholars in the field.”

Stubb’s poster, “Risk Factors Associated with Unmet Service Needs among HIV-Positive Individuals in the Florida Medical Monitoring Project,” explores the unmet service needs among HIV-positive individuals in Florida. Stubbs analyzed secondary data from the 2009 and 2010 CDC Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) for Florida, and found that 53 percent (n=426) of all participants reported at least one unmet service need, with majority of participants reporting need for dental services, financial assistance, and shelter services. Low income, depressive symptoms, and inadequate social support were significantly associated with the report of at least one unmet service need in the past year.

Since prior studies have demonstrated that HIV-positive individuals who have unmet service needs, whether HIV-related or ancillary, are more prone to non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy medication and poor health outcomes, this study has implications for the way in which we address barriers to supportive services among HIV-positive individuals in Florida’s marginalized communities.

“Leandra’s research exemplifies some of the strengths of our department, especially in its emphasis on vulnerable populations and understanding barriers to access to care,” said Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy and Stubb’s mentor. “We are proud of her participation in this conference, and I am confident she will represent the department and UF well at this national venue.”

The poster was co-authored by Maldonado-Molina, Nicole E. Whitehead, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UF Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Robert L. Cook, M.D., MPH, professor in the UF Department of Medicine, Jeffrey Harman, Ph.D., professor in the UF Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy, and Christa Cook, Ph.D., MSN., assistant professor in the UF College of Nursing.