November 8, 2022

School of Social Work assistant professor Jane Lee is part of a multidisciplinary research team that recently received a grant from the UW Population Health Initiative to explore methamphetamine use among cisgender men and transgender people who have sex with men.

The use of methamphetamine, an addictive psychostimulant, can drive HIV & STI transmission, undermine HIV prevention and care engagement, and lead to debilitating health outcomes and personal loss.

Earlier studies estimated the burden of methamphetamine use among men who have sex with men, a group that accounts for about two-thirds of the new HIV cases each year in the U.S., but the history and patterns of methamphetamine use have not been thoroughly documented. Prior studies also tended to ignore transgender people who have sex with men.

The team will draw on established relationships with Seattle-based community partners that are part of, and serve, cisgender men and transgender people who have sex with men, and have personal experience with the psychostimulant. Findings will help generate a methamphetamine-use continuum model and a quantitative study instrument that can identify specific risk factors as well as support gender-specific and gender-inclusive prevention and harm reduction efforts.

At the School of Social Work, Lee’s area of expertise centers on reducing health disparities among racial and ethnic minority immigrant populations. For this project, she will be joined by colleagues from the UW departments of Epidemiology and Global Health as well as from Project NEON and Peer Seattle. The team is led by Dr. Arjee Restar, assistant professor, Department of Epidemiology.

In total, nine faculty-led teams from seven different UW schools and colleges received $300,000 from the Population Health Initiative to develop innovative solutions based on research. A hallmark of the program is its reliance on interdisciplinary collaboration and the inclusion of community partners.