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Photo of Donenberg, Geri R.

Geri R. Donenberg, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Psychology, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics Co-Vice Chair of Research

Department of Medicine Director, Healthy Youths Program Director, Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science



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Dissemination and implementation science; HIV/AIDS risk and prevention; Adolescent mental health; Juvenile justice; International research; Families and youth.


  1. “An Integrative HIV Prevention Program for African American Mothers and Daughters,” known as IMARA, (R01MD006198) is a 5-year 2-arm randomized controlled trial to reduce HIV-risk among African American women and daughters receiving mental health services.
  2. “PHAT Life: Preventing HIV Among Juvenile Offenders” (R01MD005861) is a 5-year 2-arm randomized controlled trial to reduce risky sexual behavior, substance use, and mental health problems among juvenile offenders on probation.
  3. “Peer Versus Adult-Led HIV Prevention for Juvenile Offenders: Effectiveness and Costs” (R01MD010433) is a 5-year study to identify the most effective and sustainable way to implement the PHAT Life program within juvenile justice settings.
  4. “Improving Adherence to Treatment Regimens for HIV-Positive Adolescents and Young Adults,” known as Kigali Imbereheza Project (KIP) (R01HD074977), is a randomized controlled trial based in Kigali, Rwanda that seeks to test an adherence-enhanced, developmentally appropriate, culturally adapted trauma informed cognitive behavioral intervention (TI-CBTe) on antiretroviral therapy adherence among HIV+ Rwandan youth.
  5. “Employing eSBI in a Community-Based HIV Testing Environment for At-risk Youth,” known as Step Up Test Up (R01DA041071; PIs: Rob Garofalo and Niranjin Karnik), is a randomized controlled trial to test whether an electronic brief intervention will reduce alcohol and other substance use among youth aged 16-25, recruited from HIV testing locations throughout the city of Chicago and including men who have sex with men, transgender women, and transgender men.
  6. “Evaluating a Group-Based Intervention to Improve Mental Health and ART Adherence Among Youth Living with HIV in Low Resource Settings” (Sponsor: International Maternal Pediatric And Adolescent Clinical Trials (IMPAACT) network, co-chairs: Dorothy Dow and Geri Donenberg) is a multi-site, 2-arm, randomized controlled trial to evaluate whether an Indigenous Leader Outreach Model (ILOM) of trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy (TI-CBT), adapted to local contexts, is associated with improved mental health outcomes and ART adherence among 15-19 year-olds youth living with HIV and mental health distress.
  7. “South Africa STYLE: HIV Prevention for South African Youth and Families” (R34MH092251) is a 3-year developmental project to adapt and test a family-based HIV prevention program for South African teens in psychiatric care.
  8. “Building AIDS Research Capacity for Indonesia at Atma Jaya Catholic University” (R24 HD056642; PI: Judith Levy) includes a pilot study to design, adapt, and test an HIV prevention program for street youth in Jakarta.
  9. “Violence Exposure and HIV Risk in Adolescent Women of Color” (PI: Helen Wilson; R03MH086361) explores the history of violence exposure among African American girls.
  10. “Psychiatric Diagnoses Among IV Drug Users” (PI: Larry Ouellet; R01DA020368) is a 4-year study to examine the severity of psychiatric illness among 18 – 24 year old injection drug users.
  11. “HIV Prevention for Youth with Severe Mental Illness” (PI: Larry Brown; R01MH63008) is a 9-year, multisite, 3-arm randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of a family-based HIV prevention program for youth with serious mental health problems.
  12. “Therapeutic Schools: Affect Management & HIV Prevention” (R01MH066641) is a 5-year multi-site 3-arm randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of a school-based affect management HIV prevention program.


Dr. Geri Donenberg is a Professor of Medicine, Psychology, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is the Co-Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine, directs the Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science and Healthy Youths Program, and codirects the UIC/Indonesia Fogarty Training Program. Dr. Donenberg has been involved in national and international HIV-related research for 20 years, with continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1999. Dr. Donenberg has expertise in longitudinal research, prevention and intervention development and adaptation, evidence-based program delivery and testing, and the conduct of randomized controlled trials with diverse populations of children, adolescents and adults. With over 110 peer-reviewed publications, her research focuses on family factors, individual attitudes and beliefs, and peer and partner characteristics related to youth sexual behavior and substance use. In 2016, she was recognized as UIC’s Distinguished Clinical Researcher of the Year. Previously, Dr. Donenberg directed the Community Outreach Intervention Projects and served as Associate Dean of Research in the UIC School of Public Health. A former Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Donenberg works internationally throughout Africa and Indonesia, and has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to capacity development and enhancing diversity and inclusion at the local, national, and international levels. She has trained more than 70 Doctorate, Masters and Bachelor-level students throughout the United States, Africa, and Indonesia, and she actively mentors junior faculty through national initiatives for traditionally underrepresented minority scholars. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Illinois.


Graduate School: UCLA
Internship: UCLA

Licensures and Certifications

2017 Member, Adolescent HIV Prevention and Treatment Implementation Science Alliance
2015 Researcher of the Year, Distinguished Clinical Scientist, University of Illinois at Chicago