Team Members

Maria Jose Miguez, MD, Ph.D., Director

Dr. Miguez Dr. Mguez was appointed the Director of the Health Behavior and Policy Initiative (HBPI) in 2011, and as a Professor in the School of Integrated Health and Science (SISH). Prior to joining FIU, Dr. Mguez was a faculty member and researcher at the University of Miami (Department of Psychiatry). Dr. Mguez is a physician and medical immunologist with over 20 years of research experience with HIV infected individuals. In the last decade, her research has been focused on the etiology, consequences, development, and prevention of alcohol and tobacco use in PLWH. Her research portfolio includes several national and international grants. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of an HIV/Alcohol research Center. Dr. Mguez has served on numerous review and advisory panels for the National Institute of Health. She is on the editorial board of some scientific journals in her field of research. She has over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals including Lancet, Lancet of Infectious diseases, JID, and Platelets.

Deshratn Asthana Ph.D., MBA

Dr. Asthana Dr. Deshratn is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, and Director of the Laboratory for Clinical and Biological Studies at the University of Miami – Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Asthana has served for several years as a member of the NIH/NIAID/DAIDS adult and pediatric ACTG committees on the assay development for studies. He has been member of the Surrogate Marker Subcommittee of the Immunology – RAC of the ACTG for the past eight years. Dr. Asthana is a member of the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards (NCCLS), subCollection and Handling for Molecular Methods, Quality Assessment Programs for Molecular Methods, Quantitative Molecular Diagnostics for Infectious Diseases and Genotyping for Infectious Diseases. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Bioanalysis and is certified as high-complexity clinical laboratory director.

Luis Espinoza Ph.D., MBA

Dr. Espinoza Dr. Espinoza is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine with a fellowship in Special Immunology HIV/AIDS. He is the Director of Inpatient Adult HIV Services in the Department of Medicine at the Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami. He has been providing care to HIV infected patients since 1992, and his current interests are HIV and aging, malignancies in HIV, and chronic hepatitis. Since 2006, he has been part of the faculty of the Florida/Caribbean AETC and has been a speaker in several HIV/AIDS related topics in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Diana La Forest

Ms. La Forest Ms. La Forest holds a Bachelor degree in social work, and has been working in the team for the past 3 years. During this time she has received extensive HIV, tobacco and neuropsychological assessments. In her current position, she also provides care of patients referral and assure our participants received the needed HIV services.

John Lewis, Ph.D.

Dr. Lewis Dr. Lewis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Director of Research for the Division of Complementary and Alternative Medicine and. Dr. Lewis has been collaborating with Dr. Miguez in several HIV research projects providing his statistical and nutritional support. Dr. Lewis has been as a statistician in other NIH and non-NIH funded grants. In addition to his involvement in analyses Dr. Lewis work involves investigating the combined roles of nutrition education, physical activity, and behavioral strategies to reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.

Robert Malow, Ph.D.

Dr. Malow Dr. Malow is a Professor at the Florida International University (FIU) School of Public Health and the Director of the AIDS Prevention Program at FIU. Dr. Malow was formerly at the University of Miami and still closely collaborates with many investigators at UM. Dr. Malow brings broad experience in HIV/AIDS prevention, intervention research, and an extensive background in designing, implementing and evaluating substance use and HIV risk reduction interventions with higher risk populations in community based settings. He also has strong expertise in measurement and analysis of behavioral and psychosocial constructs.

Clery Quiros

Clery Quiros Ms. Quiros holds a Master degree in Public Health. She has been the Research Coordinator for important FIU’s research studies such as the AIDS Prevention Program. With more than 7 years of working in HIV/AIDS research, and extensive experience with behavioral interventions, she plays a key role coordinating our clinical trial studies.

Mayra Vargas

Mayra Vargas Mayra Vargas received her Medical Basic Sciences training at the Universidad Autnoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine, Guadalajara, and Doctoral degree at Ross University School of Medicine, Portsmouth, Dominica. Dr. Vargas has also a Masters of Public Health. She has been immersed in research for 5 years in both HIV and non-HIV related studies. She is actively involved in HIV Prevention through direct education and as Project coordinator of ROBIM.