S‌teven Safren, Ph.D., ABPPDr. Steven Safren


I joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami in the Fall of 2015 after 18 years working in the Harvard Medical School system at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where I was the founding Director of the current Behavioral Medicine Service and track Director of the Behavioral Medicine Internship track. During this time I was also an Affiliated Investigator at Fenway Health where I led studies related to HIV prevention for men who have sex with men (MSM). I am a clinical health psychologist with expertise in health-related behavior change and a particular focus on psychosocial (mental health and substance use) comorbidities related to HIV prevention and treatment in both domestic and international settings. I have been PI or protocol chair of 12 federally funded studies (via NIMH, NIDA, and NIAID), and, in addition to studies where I am PI, I have regularly served as co-PI, co-investigator, or mentor on studies related to HIV prevention and treatment.

I work with other medical illnesses, and I work on cognitive behavioral approaches to managing adult and adolescent ADHD. My international studies have been via the NIAID-funded AIDS networks (i.e. HIV Prevention Trials Network - HPTN, and the AIDS Clinical Trials Network -ACTG), which span multiple countries, via my own NIH-funded studies, and via the work of my mentees K and R level funded studies in India and Africa. Much of my work on HIV focuses on prevention and treatment with men who have sex with men (MSM), though I have worked extensively with other populations including individuals with depression and those who have struggled with substance use disorders. Finally, during my time at MGH, I worked on studies of cognitive-behavioral therapy for ADHD in adulthood and adolescence.

Currently, my funded work includes a preliminary study involving treating syndemics (intertwined psychosocial problems such as depression, childhood sexual abuse, substance use, interpersonal violence) in HIV-infected individuals with uncontrolled virus, a study on HIV prevention in men who have sex with men in two sites in India, and an effectiveness study on treating depression and improving adherence in HIV-infected individuals in South Africa who have failed first line antiretroviral therapy. Anticipated future studies, based on prior collaborative pilot work, involve pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) adherence in high risk MSM, interventions to reduce crystal meth and increase safer sex (condoms or PrEP) in MSM who use crystal meth, and additional studies addressing syndemics in individuals with HIV and uncontrolled virus.

For an almost-comprehensive view of my publications, please click: CV - Dr. Steven Safren