Sikkema Lab

Kathleen J Sikkema’s Lab

Kathleen J. Sikkema, Ph.D., Gosnell Family Professor of Global Health, Psychology and Neuroscience, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, is a clinical psychologist with emphases in health and community psychology. She is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), Director of the Social and Behavioral Science Core in Duke's Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and Director of the Global Mental Health Initiative at DGHI. Her team’s extensive research program focuses on the conduct of HIV prevention and mental health intervention trials, in a variety of populations, both in the U.S. and in South Africa. Dr. Sikkema’s expertise is in community-level primary prevention interventions, mental health interventions, global mental health, and university-community collaboration. Scientific contributions from her lab have significant implications for the allocation of HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention resources, and add to our understanding of the psychological correlates of transmission risk behavior, supporting the importance of mental health treatment in HIV prevention.

Dr. Sikkema’s interdisciplinary HIV research has been funded by the NIH for over twenty-five years. Dr. Sikkema’s recent research agenda includes five NIH-funded grants to develop and/or test the efficacy of innovative interventions to:

  1. Reduce traumatic stress and improve engagement in care among HIV positive women initiating ART in South Africa
  2. Reduce HIV-related risk behavior and improve mental health among women who frequent drinking venues in South Africa
  3. Reduce transmission risk behavior among newly HIV-diagnosed men who have sex with men (MSM)
  4. Promote adaptive coping among men and women with HIV and a history of childhood sexual abuse
  5. Promote adaptive coping among individuals over the age of 50 living with HIV

Her team has been involved in the implementation, analysis and dissemination of findings from these studies. Please visit her projects page for more information. Her team's LIFT (Living in the Face of Trauma) intervention for HIV-infected adults with histories of childhood sexual abuse was named a CDC Best Evidence intervention in 2008 and a SAMHSA NREPP (National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices) intervention in 2011. It has been manualized to facilitate dissemination to community-based organizations and the manual is available upon request.