Global Mental Health

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Behavioral Research Center for HIV (BIRCH) at the University of Washington. This developmental Center, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, will provide infrastructure and support for high-impact science on HIV and mental health and a research home for like-minded scholars. The Center will emphasize interdisciplinary research on the behavioral aspects of the epidemic, especially how we can better integrate mental health treatment into HIV prevention and treatment strategies. In addition, the Center will offer technical assistance, training, and pilot funding as well as nurture the next generation of diverse HIV researchers through training and mentorship. Our goal is to facilitate the dissemination of the latest advances, not just within academic circles, but to HIV service providers, affected communities, and policymakers as well. The Center is led by Drs. Jane SimoniPamela Collins, and Susan Graham, with support from Deepa Rao (Developmental Core Director), Lydia Chwastiak (Integrated Care Core Director), and Brian Flaherty (Methods Core Director). The Center is supported by Administrative Director Susan Mello and Program Manager Angela Marler.

UW BIRCH will prioritize partnerships with our university, community, and global partners, without whose support we cannot succeed. We look forward to working closely with our partners and building this Center together. 


Center Organization

UW BIRCH includes four cores: the Administrative Core, Developmental Core, Integrated Care Core, and Methods Core.

Mission, Vision, and Cross-cutting Themes


Our mission is to catalyze research that integrates mental health and HIV prevention and care, guided by communities and practitioners seeking to end the epidemic. We aim to support and apply the science of dissemination and implementation, to bring such interventions to scale. 


We envision an end to the HIV epidemic by addressing the determinants and symptoms of mental illness and HIV, through holistic person-centered prevention and care. 

Cross-cutting themes 

  • Nurturing local and global partnerships for learning and innovation by engaging communities of providers 
  • Addressing inequities by testing research solutions that reduce disparities. 

Become a BIRCH member

UW BIRCH members are faculty, research scientists, clinicians, staff, trainees, and other personnel involved in HIV, mental health, or related behavioral science research or practice at the University of Washington, as well as partners and affiliates in the U.S. and across the globe who are interested in these topics. Complete the BIRCH membership request to join.

BIRCH members are entitled to:

  • Attend BIRCH events and trainings
  • Access Core services at little or no cost
  • Apply for Developmental Core funding opportunities*
  • Apply for BIRCH supplemental funding opportunities*
  • Receive email notices of HIV and mental health-related symposia, conferences, seminars, trainings, funding opportunities, employment opportunities, and other useful information

*Additional eligibility criteria may be required for specific funding opportunities. Please see RFAs for additional details.

BIRCH Funding Awards

SPARC awards 

HIV prevention and treatment should optimally be delivered within integrated systems of mental health and HIV primary care that can be implemented at scale. Through this integration, programs can optimize HIV prevention, medication adherence, and engagement in treatment – critical for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) vision of “Getting to Zero” and the US “Ending the HIV Epidemic” priorities. To succeed, integrated programs need to incorporate innovative ideas and consider a range of diverse perspectives applied to rigorous research methods. Well-trained mental health and HIV researchers with lived experiences, including from groups underrepresented in research, are necessary to innovate, effectively implement, incorporate community knowledge, and expand research and community networks. Through this RFA for pilot awards, the UW BIRCH aims to support researchers to conduct work that ‘sparks’ research in mental health and associated conditions in the context of HIV.

Successful awardees will be included in the University of Washington Behavioral Research Center for HIV (UW BIRCH) Synergistic Pilot AIDS Research Center (SPARC) Scholars program which includes monthly fellowships meetings, access to mentors across the UW BIRCH network, and opportunities to collaborate with other SPARC scholars.

Some key details (please see the full RFA below)

  • Direct costs: $30,000 in a one-year award with option to extend for one year
  • Eligibility check due February 14, 2022
  • Consultation with the Methods Core due February 18, 2022
  • Letter of intent due February 21, 2022
  • Final application due March 14, 2022 at 11:59 PM PT
  • Notice of award approximately March 28, 2022

Download the 2022 BIRCH SPARC RFA

C-PARC awards

Mental and substance use disorders are leading causes of morbidity and excess mortality among people living with or at risk for HIV around the globe. Optimal responses to the needs of people at risk for and living with these conditions require an understanding of the determinants of mental health (psychological, sociocultural, economic, environmental, and biological), knowing how and where to intervene, and identifying critical periods across the life course for effective intervention. UW BIRCH invites pilot study applications that support its mission to catalyze research that integrates mental health and HIV prevention and care, guided by communities and practitioners seeking to end the epidemic. UW BIRCH aims to support and apply the science of dissemination and implementation to bring integrated care for HIV and mental health to scale. We envision an end to the HIV epidemic by addressing the determinants and symptoms of mental illness and HIV, through holistic person-centered prevention and care. Pilot grants will support activities in the U.S. and internationally.

Some key details (please see the full RFA below)

  • 1 award will be funded at up to $40,000 total costs.
  • Final application due December 1, 2021 at 11:59 PM
  • Notice of award by December 20, 2021
  • Period of performance: January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022

2021 UW BIRCH C-PARC RFA final

M-PARC awards

UW BIRCH invites pilot study applications focused on research methodologies to help understand and ameliorate the confluence of challenges created by mental health and substance use disorders with HIV risk and infection.

Mental health and substance use disorders are leading causes of morbidity and excess mortality among people living with or at risk for HIV around the globe. Optimal responses to the mental health needs of people living with or at risk for HIV require an understanding of the determinants of and processes underlying mental health, as well as knowing how, where, and when to intervene.

The purpose of the BIRCH M-PARC awards is to advance new methods in research related to mental health and HIV.  Responsive applications will propose either a new methodological approach, or a novel application of existing methods. Proposed methods may be qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods. We expect that this pilot work will lead to a larger extramural grant application.

Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be a current member of the UW faculty or a PI-eligible research scientist at UW. This mechanism is open to both early-career investigators as well as more senior researchers. All Applicants must become BIRCH members.

Some key details (please see full RFA and application template below):

  • RFA Released: January 25, 2022
  • Applications Due: March 31, 2022 at 11:59pm PST
  • Notification of Award: April 20, 2022
  • Estimated Period of Performance: May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023

Download full 2022 M-PARC RFA and Download 2022 M-PARC Application Template

Travel awards

Through this RFA for trainee support grants, the University of Washington Behavioral Research Center for HIV (UW BIRCH) Development Core aims to provide support to enhance career development of trainees and junior investigators pursuing research careers in integrating mental health into HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment. For more information about eligibility and guidelines, please download the full RFA. Eligible activities must relate directly to advancing an applicant’s HIV/AIDS research career development plans, collaborations and dissemination. Examples of eligible activity expenses include scientific meeting registration fees, and travel costs for educational activities supporting research collaborations.

Upcoming Semi-Annual Deadlines:June 6, 2022 at 11:59 pm PDTDecember 5, 2022 at 11:59 pm PDT

Grant Amount: Up to $1,000 for conference registration and travel

If you have questions, please contact

CFAR New Investigator Awards

Please check back for next years CFAR NIA.

The purpose of the UW/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) New Investigator Awards (NIAs) is to encourage junior investigators (at a senior stage of training or recently independent) to conduct independent research, acquire preliminary data to use for exogenous grant submissions, publish, receive mentorship, and write one or more grants to obtain funding to continue their HIV research careers.  The application process is designed to help you formulate a research proposal consistent with National Institute of Health (NIH) requirements for your future grant applications and includes opportunities to consult with experts to strengthen the study design and public health reach of your work. We are available to answer your questions throughout the process.

BIRCH Consultations and Acknowledgement

Methods consultations 

Methods Core faculty consult with BIRCH members (sign up here) on research design, measurement, and data analysis, including standard and novel approaches. Researchers in the planning phase are encouraged to schedule a consultation sooner, rather than later. We can also consult on research that is in progress, as well as on secondary data analysis. Furthermore, consulting requests should fit broadly with UW BIRCH’s focus on integrative HIV and mental health care.

If interested, please fill out a consulting request form.

General consultations 

If you would like to request a consultation from another core in the center, or are unsure which core is most suitable for your query, please fill out a general consultation form. 

Acknowledgement of BIRCH support or services

If your research has benefited from UW BIRCH support, please acknowledge UW BIRCH in your publications and presentations using the following text. You can download the UW BIRCH logo here.

To acknowledge support in the form of UW BIRCH pilot funding:
This research was funded by a 20XX [enter appropriate year of award] developmental award from the University of Washington Behavioral Research Center for HIV (BIRCH), a NIMH-funded program (P30 MH123248).


To acknowledge any other form of UW BIRCH support, e.g., Core services:
This work was supported by the University of Washington Behavioral Research Center for HIV (BIRCH), a NIMH-funded program (P30 MH123248).

Contact Information

Contact Information 

We would like to hear from you! You can email to send us a message.