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The UNC/Emory Center for Innovative Technology (iTech) aims to lower the burden of HIV infection by developing and evaluating innovative, interdisciplinary research on technology-based interventions across the HIV prevention and care continuum for at-risk or infected youth aged 15-24 years in the United States. The overall goals seek to decrease the impact of HIV on the lives of adolescents and young adults in the US, particularly young men who have sex with men.

iTech will foster collaborations between academic research institutions, health care providers, impacted communities and youth by providing scientific leadership and expertise on state-of-the-art HIV prevention and care research for adolescents. iTech will serve as the first NIH-funded center to use technology in innovative way to engage HIV infected or at-risk youth.

The necessary resources and support for HIV/AIDS investigators addressing these goals will be provided by the iTech Cores:

  1. Management (led by Dr. Lisa Hightow-Weidman

The Management Core provides infrastructure and operational support as well as support communication and collaboration between the research within as well as between the U19s and the ATN Executive Committee (EC).

  1. Analytic (led by Dr. Travis Sanchez and Dr. Kate Muessig

The Analytic Core provides expertise and systems for the conduct and analysis of qualitative studies, pilot intervention studies, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and economic studies. The Analytic Core works with the Technology and Management Cores to set up systems to manage participant recruitment and retention and ensure data quality and security.

  1. Technology (led by Dr. Patrick Sullivan and Dr. Lisa Hightow-Weidman)

The Technology Core provides services for technology related fields, including mobile technologies, web-based platforms, laboratory platforms, online recruitment and technology-related ethics issues. The Technology Core serves as a service center, to which individual investigators or site PIs can request specialized assistance or request to use shared resources.

Specific Aims of iTech are:

Aim 1 : To provide scientific leadership with expertise and experience in technology-based research to address fundamental questions related to the HIV prevention and care continuum, guide the overall research strategy and foster collaboration and synergy both within iTech and with the broader ATN scientific community.
Aim 2 : To support the development and assessment of innovative technology-focused interventions addressing the HIV prevention and care continuum for at-risk or infected youth aged 15-24 years.
Aim 3 : To support the overall ATN scientific agenda by participating on the ATN Executive Committee and collaborating with other U19s stimulating new synergistic and responsive grants applications and research to respond to emerging issues in this field.
Aim 4 : To develop and nurture partnerships that will ensure community input at all stages of conceptualization, design, implementation, and interpretation of the research.
Aim 5. To develop, mentor and train clinicians and researchers to stimulate innovative HIV/AIDS research focused on technological innovation across the care continuum.

Current iTech protocols can be found here.