Opportunities for Students and Volunteers

The Center for Dissemination and Implementation Sciences offers opportunities for students and volunteers to receive experience working on projects that promote health equity in three thematic areas:

  • Dissemination and Implementation Sciences
  • Urban and Global Health
  • Community-Engaged Research

Our team offers specific expertise in the areas of:

  • HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health
  • Mental Health
  • Homelessness
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Youth and Families

If you are interested in working with CDIS, please complete the CDIS Student And Volunteer Application and email it to Claire Corcoran (cbridg4@uic.edu).

Psychology Internship Opportunities


Program Summary: The Healthy Youths Program (HYP) is involved in basic and applied research on HIV/AIDS risk and prevention for youth and families. Populations of particular focus include youth with psychiatric illness, juvenile offenders, African American women and girls, and youth in international settings experiencing a high HIV prevalence.


Supervisors: Geri Donenberg, Ph.D., Erin Emerson, M.A., Erin McCarville, M.P.H.
PHAT Life is an HIV and alcohol/drug use prevention program, for urban 13 – 17 year-old male and female juvenile offenders. In the original efficacy trial, youth were recruited from juvenile probation settings and participated in an 8-session program (either PHAT Life or a health promotion intervention) over two weeks. Teens completed baseline, 6- and 12-month interviews, and they were tested for biological STIs at baseline and 12-month follow up. Treatment was provided for all participants who test positive. The current study is designed to identify an implementation strategy that is both sustainable and cost-effective by comparing peer-led vs. probation staff-led PHAT Life in juvenile probation’s Evening Reporting Centers. Opportunities for psychology interns: (1) observe the manualized intervention with juvenile offenders, (2) conduct assessments, and (3) write manuscripts.

Supervisor: Geri Donenberg, Ph.D., Erin Emerson, M.A., Kelly McCabe, M.P.H
IMARA is an HIV prevention program for women and their African American daughters. In the original trial, families are recruited from outpatient mental health clinics and street outreach in Chicago. Mothers and daughters participated in a two-day workshop, randomized to either IMARA or FUEL. IMARA targeted sexual behavior, emotion regulation, substance use, healthy relationships, HIV-risk, mother-daughter communication and mother-daughter relationships. Mothers and daughters completed baseline, 6-, and 12-month interviews to evaluate treatment outcomes and they were tested and treated for biological STIs at baseline and 12-months. The current study is examining how best to integrate IMARA into community-based organization – COIP – and expand services to include a brief substance use computer-based intervention, HIV testing and counseling, and Hep C testing. Opportunities for psychology interns: (1) conduct assessments if female, (2) deliver substance use intervention, and (3) write manuscripts.

Supervisors: Geri Donenberg, Ph.D., Dave Jimenez, Ph.D.
The Community Outreach Intervention Projects (COIP), founded in 1986, addresses HIV/AIDS among substance users operating from storefront sites in Austin, Humboldt Park, West Englewood, South Chicago, and Uptown, and its mobile units which extend services into other neighborhoods including inner-ring suburbs. COIP’s interventions are known for their use of the Indigenous Leader Outreach Model, which employs former drug users to deliver services and assist in conducting research. COIP’s services include street outreach, diabetes and blood pressure screening, HCV screening, counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS, syphilis and other infectious diseases associated with substance use, case management for persons living with or at high risk for HIV infection, syringe exchange, drug abuse and risk reduction counseling, support groups, educational activities, and projects that enhance linkages to care for HIV-positive men and women exiting jail. COIP also conducts research to better understand and prevent HIV/AIDS in Chicago communities. Opportunities for psychology interns include 1) community-based mental health service provision, (2) substance use treatment provision, (3) mental health services for HIV infected adults, and (4) street outreach for HIV prevention.


Supervisor: Geri Donenberg, Ph.D., Erin Emerson, M.A.
GIRL TALK tests a framework of HIV-risk that emphasizes the interplay of family, peer and partner mechanisms and proposes that family processes (mother-daughter relationships and communication, maternal attitudes and beliefs, mothers’ risk behavior and partner relationships) influence sexual risk behaviors directly and indirectly through peer and partner relationships among AA 12 to 18-year-old girls seeking psychiatric care. Mothers and daughters (N=266) were recruited from seven urban mental health clinics in Chicago and followed for 2 years (baseline, 6-, 12-, 18-, and 24-months). Participants complete questionnaires, participate in interviews, and engaged in three structured videotaped interaction tasks. Data collection and entry are complete. Opportunities for psychology interns include secondary data analysis and manuscript preparation.

Supervisor: Geri Donenberg, Ph.D., Erin Emerson, M.A.
Project Balance was a 3-arm randomized controlled trial for adolescents in therapeutic day schools. Participants (N=418) were adolescents with psychiatric disorders in Rhode Island and Chicago. Project Balance evaluated an affect management and a skills-based intervention and compared the efficacy of these treatment conditions to a general health promotion control group. The Affect Management intervention included non-cognitive factors to target distress in sexual situations. Each intervention involved 12 45-minute sessions delivered in a classroom setting and co-facilitated by trained research assistants. The intervention used role-plays, games, videos, discussions, and specially tailored experiential activities to delay sexual debut and reduce risky sexual behavior. Assessments were conducted at baseline, 3-, 6-, and 12-months post intervention. A booster session was implemented one month after the 12th session. Data collection and entry are complete. Opportunities for psychology intern include secondary data analysis and manuscript preparation.

Supervisor: Geri Donenberg, Ph.D., Erin Emerson, M.A.
CARES explores HIV/AIDS risk determinants among 325 ethnically diverse teenagers seeking outpatient mental health services. Study aims were to (a) determine rates of risky sexual behavior and drug use among youth in psychiatric care and compare these rates to rates among teens in the general population; (b) test and compare the utility of two theoretical models in explaining HIV-risk — the Information-Motivation-Behavior model (Fisher & Fisher, 1992) and a social-personal model (Donenberg & Pao, 2003); and (c) test and compare the two models for theoretically important subgroups of youth (internalizing, externalizing, substance abusing). Teens and parents were recruited from four outpatient mental health clinics and interviewed at baseline, 6- and 12-months. Family members completed a combination of interviews and questionnaires to assess HIV/AIDS information, motivation, and behavioral skills, and teens’ personal attributes, relationship concerns, and risky sexual behavior and substance use. Parents and teens also participated in two structured videotaped interaction tasks. Opportunities for psychology interns include secondary data analyses and manuscript preparation.

Supervisors: Geri Donenberg, Ph.D., Erin Emerson, M.A. This developmental study is adapted and pilot tested an HIV and alcohol/drug use prevention program for South African caregivers and their teens receiving outpatient mental health services. Stage 1 included extensive formative work (e.g., focus groups, feedback groups, in-depth interviews, theater testing) followed by curricular revisions. In Stage 2, we piloted the revised intervention with two groups of 14 – 18-year-old parent-teen dyads receiving mental health services. Teens were male and female from all ethnic groups. In Stage 3, we tested the revised program with 90 parent-teen dyads randomly assigned to SASTYLE versus a control group and re-interview families at 3-, 6-, and 9 months. Opportunities for psychology interns include secondary data analyses and manuscript preparation.

Supervisors: Geri Donenberg, Ph.D., Erin Emerson, M.A.
This project is implementing a 2-arm RCT to test and compare the efficacy of adherence-enhanced TI-CBT (i.e., TI-CBTe) to usual care in increasing ART adherence among 350 Rwandan 14 – 21 year olds from the two clinics caring for the largest number of youth with HIV in Rwanda. Based on the Indigenous Leader Outreach Model, we will train 20 HIV+ indigenous youth leaders who are > 95% ART adherent (IYL) and supervising psychologists to deliver the intervention. Youth, caregivers, and IYL will complete baseline, 6-, and 12-month follow-up assessments to assess effects on adherence and important mediators (trauma, depression, gender-based violence).

Pearls of IMARA
Supervisor: Geri Donenberg, Ph.D., Anna Hotton, Ph.D.
This is a small pilot study to adapt IMARA (see above) for 11-13 year-old African American girls and their female caregivers. The project will involve focus groups, community advisory board meetings, curricular changes, and pilot testing. Opportunities for psychology interns: (1) assist with curricular adaptations, (2) conduct baseline assessments if female, and (3) observe focus groups and intervention sessions.

Employing electronic Screening and Brief Intervention (eSBI) in a Community-based HIV Testing Environment for At-Risk Youth
Supervisor: Geri Donenberg, Ph.D., Erin Emerson, M.A.
This study will test assess the feasibility, acceptability and initial efficacy of electronic Screening & Brief Intervention (eSBI) + Seek, Test, Treat and Retain (STTR) compared to STTR-only to reduce alcohol and other substance use among 450 Young Men who have Sex with Men and Young Transgendered Women in Chicago, ages 16-25. Opportunities for psychology interns to be determined.

Other Training Resources