Research

Research Expertise

Denver Public Health has long been a leader in research on the prevention, surveillance, and treatment of HIV, STIs, and tuberculosis, as well as the provision of family-planning services and health promotion in public health settings. Denver Public Health has study sites for international research groups including the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), the international Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials (INSIGHT), the Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC), and Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC). In addition, Denver Public Health has been the site of multiple epidemiological, programmatic, and behavioral intervention research studies such as the AIDS Community Demonstrations Project, Project RESPECT I and RESPECT II, Strengthening the US Response to Resistant Gonorrhea (SURRG), and the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) system. This background of participation in research brings expertise in rigorous program evaluation, data management and analysis, and the presentation and publication of our findings.

Listed below are current Denver Public Health staff who are actively engaged in research activities and a brief description of their expertise and training. All research experts have academic appointments in their respective departments at the University of Colorado Denver and extensive publication records. View a comprehensive list of our publications.

Alia Al-Tayyib, PhD, MSPH

Alia Al-Tayyib, PhD, MSPH
Associate Research Scientist
Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Alia Al-Tayyib’s primary research interests are in behavioral risks for acquiring and transmitting infections, such as HIV and hepatitis C, with a focus on the social and structural determinants of risk. Since 2007, she has served as the site PI for the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) system in the Denver metro area. More recently, Dr. Al-Tayyib has focused on social network studies examining the transition from oral ingestion of prescription opioids to injection drug use among at-risk youth and on developing interventions to keep people engaged in care for substance use disorders. The overarching goal of her work is to reduce the spread of infections, decrease substance use, and improve public health. Dr. Al-Tayyib currently leads the research efforts for the Denver Health Center for Addiction Medicine. She received her PhD and MSPH degrees in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is an alumna of the Clinical Faculty Scholar and the Leadership for Innovative Team Science programs at the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

Robert Belknap, MD

Robert Belknap, MD
Director, Denver Metro TB Control Program
Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Bob Belknap’s main research interests are in identifying better ways to diagnose and treat active and latent tuberculosis. He is actively involved in the CDC-funded Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC) which investigates new treatment regimens for TB, and the Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC) which works to improve tuberculosis control and elimination through a better understanding of the epidemiology and barriers to TB prevention. Dr. Belknap completed medical school at the Ohio State University College of Medicine before moving to Denver for residency in General Internal Medicine. After residency, he worked in Denver as a hospitalist for a year before completing his Infectious Diseases fellowship at the University of Colorado Denver.

William J Burman, MD

William J Burman, MD
Director, Denver Public Health
Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. William Burman’s primary research interest is in evaluating the impact of innovative partnerships for improving health across the community (medical care, behavioral care, social and economic support). Dr. Burman helped found the Metro Denver Partnership for Health, a collaboration of public health departments, medical care systems, and human services departments in the Denver-Boulder metro area. Dr. Burman received his medical degree from the Mayo Medical School and completed his residency at the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center. Following his residency, Dr. Burman completed an Infectious Diseases Fellowship at the University of Colorado Denver.

Edward M Gardner, MD

Edward M Gardner, MD
Director, Infectious Diseases Clinic and the Center for Positive Health
Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Gardner’s main areas of research interest are clinical trials for HIV and other infectious diseases, engagement in HIV care and adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Dr. Gardner is the Principal Investigator for the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Division. We participate in clinical trials sponsored by NIAID though the International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials (INSIGHT) including START (Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment) and the COVID-19 studies ACTIV-3 (Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines) and ICOS (An International Observational Study of Outpatients with COVID-19). Through the NIAID sponsored Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), we are participating in REPRIEVE (Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV). Through the NCI Sponsored AIDS Malignancy Consortium (AMC), we are participating in ANCHOR (Anal Cancer/HSIL Outcomes Research Study). We also participate in several industry sponsored HIV treatment clinical trials. Dr. Gardner completed medical school at the University of Chicago - Pritzker School of Medicine and his internal medicine training at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, NC. After four years in community health and correctional medicine he completed his infectious diseases training at the University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Gardner received his Certificate in Public Health Sciences from the University of Colorado Denver.

Kellie Hawkins, MD

Kellie Hawkins, MD
Attending Physician, Denver Public Health
Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Hawkins’s research interests involve HIV treatment optimization and associated outcomes. Additionally, she is interested in engagement of individuals living with HIV, particularly those that historically have been difficult to engage. Dr. Hawkins completed medical school and a master’s in public health at New York Medical College and her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital- Columbia University. After residency, she completed an Infectious Disease fellowship at the University of Colorado Denver.

Sarah Rowan, MD

Sarah Rowan, MD
Associate Director, HIV and Viral Hepatitis Prevention
Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Rowan’s research focuses on optimizing public health efforts to diagnose, treat, and prevent HIV and hepatitis C (HCV). She is the co-PI for DETECT HCV, an NIH-funded multisite trial to assess screening and linkage strategies for patients with HCV in emergency department settings. She has recently led industry- and CDC-funded trials to assess screening and linkage to care approaches for HCV, HIV, and hepatitis B in community health centers, adult probations, and opioids treatment centers. She also led a same-day start HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis study that established the safety and feasibility of the same-day start approach. Dr. Rowan’s research also includes evaluation of various aspects of Covid-19 testing and the impact of Covid-19 on communities. Dr. Rowan attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Yale-New Haven Hospital and her fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado.

Kenneth Scott, PhD

Kenneth Scott, PhD
Senior Epidemiologist
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Scott has a broad background in public health, injury epidemiology, and informatics with specific training and expertise in using electronic health records for public health surveillance and research. Dr. Scott received his PhD in epidemiology from the Colorado School of Public Health and his MPH from the University of Washington. He completed an Applied Public Health Informatics fellowship at Denver Health.

Judith C Shlay, MD, MSPH

Judith C Shlay, MD, MSPH
Associate Director, Denver Public Health
Professor, Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Shlay has directed several projects focusing on focusing on health promotion and disease prevention, HIV-related metabolic and neurologic disorders, immunization delivery, reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections, substance misuse, teen pregnancy prevention, and tobacco prevention. She leads the Denver Health Center for Addiction Medicine. Dr. Shlay received her medical degree from Rush Medical College and completed residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, IL. She received her MSPH from the University of Colorado Denver.

Karen Wendel, MD

Karen Wendel, MD
Director, HIV/STD Prevention and Control
Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver

Dr. Wendel’s research is focused on the evaluation of the epidemiology of antibiotic resistant sexually transmitted infections and the efficacy of clinical STI/HIV prevention programs. Dr. Wendel works with the Denver Health STD Clinic and Denver Prevention Training Center to promote STD education and care in our region and improve access to HIV testing and HIV prevention services locally and nationally. Dr. Wendel received her medical degree at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and completed an internal medicine training and infectious disease fellowship at John Hopkins Hospital.