2020 URBAN ARCH Annual Meeting

2020 URBAN ARCH Annual Meeting

Above, junior investigators meet with senior URBAN ARCH investigators during the Trainee Breakfast.

The 9th URBAN ARCH Annual Meeting was held on March 12th, 2020 on the Boston University Medical Campus. This year was unique in that most of the meeting occurred virtually due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, through videoconferencing, the meeting brought together approximately 60 investigators, staff, Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) members, and collaborators both domestically and internationally, to discuss the progress and future of the URBAN ARCH Consortium.

The meeting began on Wednesday March 11th with our annual Trainee Networking Breakfast co-sponsored by the Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Substance Use Research Core (SURC). At this breakfast, junior investigators met in-person and virtually to discuss their research ambitions with senior URBAN ARCH investigators including Sarah Bagley, Boston Medical Center; Shirish Barve, University of Louisville; Kendall Bryant, NIAAA; Allen Gifford, Boston University School of Medicine; Judy Hahn, Univeristy of California San Francisco; Karsten Lunze, Boston Medical Center; Dmitry Lioznov, Pavlov State Medical University; Richard Saitz, Boston University School of Public Health; Jeffrey Samet, Boston Medical Center; Michael Stein, Boston University School of Public Health; Kaku So-Armah, Boston University School of Medicine; and Judith Tsui, University of Washington, Seattle. Judy Hahn also led her annual specific aims critique sessions remotely via Zoom with URBAN ARCH junior investigators. Please see here for past year URBAN ARCH junior investigators.

Jeffrey Samet presenting at the Annual Meeting to both in-person and virtual attendees via Zoom

On Thursday, the day began with a welcome and overview of all URBAN ARCH studies by Jeffrey Samet, Principal Investigator (PI) of the consortium, and Kendall Bryant, Director of HIV/AIDS research at NIAAA and Scientific Collaborator of the Consortiums for HIV/AIDS and Alcohol Research Translation (CHAART). Debbie Cheng, PI of the Biostatistics and Data Management (BDM) Core, provided an overview of the BDM core’s work with all URBAN ARCH cohorts. Study updates and future directions were presented by study PIs: Judy Hahn, Uganda Cohort; Matthew Freiberg and Judith Tsui, Russia Cohort; and Richard Saitz, Boston Cohort. Baseline demographics are highlighted here. During the subsequent breakout sessions, study teams had the opportunity to work with a Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) member to discuss their study progress, findings, research and renewal ideas, and to address any questions the study team might have. In turn, SAP members provided thoughtful feedback and prepared questions of their own for the study teams. After the breakout sessions, Karsten Lunze represented the Providence-Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and shared information about important services available to investigators through the Substance Use Research Core (SURC). In addition, this year we celebrated our 20th anniversary of the U.S.-Russia collaboration (see below).

The URBAN ARCH Annual Meeting once again provided many opportunities for communication and collaboration, be that mostly virtually, for multi-institutional investigators and staff associated with the consortium. Thank you to everyone who participated and a special thank you to Drs. Muyindike, Emenyonu, Lioznov, Blokhina and Yaroslavsteva who traveled to Boston. We look forward to continuing to collaborate and share innovative research in the future and hope to see you at next year’s meeting.


This year marked the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-Russia collaboration.