Leadership

Nabila El-Bassel, Ph.D Director Executive Board Member ne5@columbia.edu Dr. Nabila El-Bassel is a professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work and the director of the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia. Over the past 18 years, Dr. El-Bassel has designed and tested HIV prevention strategies in clinical trials for women, men, and couples. She has also been funded to train junior faculty and research scientists on HIV prevention intervention science. Dr. El-Bassel has published more than 150 papers, and plays a prominent role in national and international leadership to combat the HIV epidemic.

Louisa Gilbert, Ph.D. Co-Director Executive Board Member  lg123@columbia.edu Dr. Louisa Gilbert is an Associate Professor at the Columbia School of Social Work and has served as a Co-Director of the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia since 2007. She has co-authored more than 100 articles with Dr. El-Bassel, and has presented papers at several international and national conferences on HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. Her specific area of research has concentrated on advancing a continuum of evidence-based syndemic-focused interventions to prevent intimate partner violence and HIV among substance-using women and women in the criminal justice system in the U.S. and Central Asia.  More recently, her funded research has also focused on identifying and addressing structural and organizational barriers in harm reduction programs to implementing evidence-based interventions to prevent overdose among drug users in Central Asia. She has served as Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on several NIDA and NIMH funded grants in Central Asia.

Elwin Wu, Ph.D. Co-Director Executive Board Member elwin.wu@columbia.edu Dr. Elwin Wu is an Associate Professor at the Columbia School of Social Work and is a Co-Director of the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia. He has authored or co-authored more than 60 articles and presented papers at many international and national conferences, with the majority focusing on HIV, drug abuse, and/or men who have sex with men (MSM). He has been funded to conduct studies encompassing prevention and treatment as well as patterns and predictors of service use among key populations

Regional and Country Directors: Susan Witte, Ph.D. Country Director – Mongolia ssw12@columbia.edu Dr. Susan Witte’s research focuses on the development and testing of prevention and treatment interventions targeting the co-occurrence of HIV/AIDS risk behaviors, substance abuse, and interpersonal violence among vulnerable populations. Dr. Witte’s special interests include dissemination of relationship-based interventions, promotion of female-initiated reproductive health technology, including the female condom, and a focus on highly vulnerable and underserved populations, including street-based sex workers and drug-dependent fathers. Currently, Dr. Witte is an Investigator on several NIMH, NIDA, and CDC-funded studies, including the Principal Investigator of an NIAAA-funded HIV prevention project with female sex workers in Mongolia.

Assel Terlikbayeva, M.D. Regional Director – Almaty, Kazakhstan Executive Board Member at2024@columbia.edu Regional site http://ghrcca.org Dr. Assel Terlkibayeva received her MD degree in internal medicine from Almaty Medical University in 2000, and her Master of Science in Social Work degree from Columbia University in 2003. She previously worked as a program coordinator for the American International Health Alliance in Almaty, and before that, she interned with the Social Intervention Group, Doctors of the World, and Human Services Center Inc. Dr. Terlikbayeva has conducted HIV research in Kazakhstan with GHRCCA and the Social Intervention Group for the past five years. Her current research projects include HIV/STI prevention for drug-involved couples in Almaty and HIV/STI risk patterns among migrant workers in Kazakhstan.

Sholpan Primbetova, M.S., M.Ph., Director of Operations – Almaty, Kazakhstan Executive Board Member sp2587@columbia.edu Sholpan Primbetova is a Director of Operations of the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia in Almaty. She received her M.S. degree in Pharmacy from South Kazakhstan Medical Academy in 1996, and her Master of Science in Social Work degree from Columbia University in 2009. Over the last 5 years, Sholpan has conducted epidemiological and intervention research on global health issues, such as HIV, STDs, migration, women, and violence in Kazakhstan and Central Asia with GHRCCA and the Social Intervention Group. Her current areas of research include stigma and discrimination toward women living with HIV; microfinance support for female sexual workers, and risk factors for TB in migrants from Central Asian countries. Ms. Primbetova has co-authored in about 10 publications.

Toivgoo Aira, M.D., Ph.D. Executive Director, WellSpring NGO in Mongolia tg_aira@yahoo.com