Pamina Gorbach

Dr. Pamina M. Gorbach focuses on the biobehavioral epidemiology of infectious disease, especially how HIV transmission, acquisition and progression is affected by substance abuse. She is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and in the Division of Infectious Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Gorbach's work in HIV prevention, treatment and care involves research in Los Angeles with long time partners the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the UCLA Vine Street Clinic she helped establish. Dr. Gorbach is MPI of a Los Angeles cohort: Minority Men Who have Sex With Men Cohort at UCLA Linking Infections Noting Effects (MASCULINE) (U01DA036267 NIDA) known as “The mSTUDY” that has established a diverse cohort and biorepository to support research on the mechanisms of HIV acquisition and transmission for substance using minority men.  She has led the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded consortium of nine North American HIV/AIDS cohorts entitled Collaborating Consortium of Cohorts NIDA Producing Opportunities (C3PNO) for the past five years.  Dr. Gorbach heads the Biobehavioral Assessment Research Center in the Fielding School of Public Health.  Her research grants are well balanced between public health and medicine with co-investigators from both schools. Dr. Gorbach provides guidance on measurement and harmonization of sexual behavior, substance use, and social adversity, methods to research people who are hardly reached, cohort design, and research the integrates behavioral, laboratory, and clinical data. Her global health experience includes Cambodia, Vietnam, South Africa, Peru, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Mali, Malawi, and Ghana.   Dr. Gorbach teaches Behavioral Epidemiology (EPI 270), Methods of Research with Marganilized and Hidden Populations (Epi 232), The International HIV/AIDS Seminar, and HIV/AIDS: A Global Perspective (EPI 227).  


  • DrPH, University of North Carolina, North Chapel Hill, NC
  • MHS, Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University
  • BA, Brown University, Providence, RI

Areas of Interest

  • Behaviors associated with the transmission of infectious diseases with a focus on sexually transmitted infections including HIV
  • Behaviors associated with the prevention and control of global HIV epidemics internationally (especially SE Asia)
  • Methodologies to study sexual behavior
  • Measurement of substance use
  • Cohort studies

Committee Participation

The Biobehavioral Assessment Research Center (BARC) promotes research on high impact science in NIH identified high priority areas of public health research. With a team of multi-disciplinary investigators, we utilize and develop innovative biobehavioral and technological approaches that integrate behavioral measures/markers into intervention studies, prevention trials, and clinical science and incorporate clinical and basic biomarkers into behavioral research and prevention science. The Center works to expand the toolboxes of clinical and behavioral researchers across these divides. The BARC has unique expertise in the areas of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, substance use, HIV clinical care, microbiome/metabalome assessment, epidemiological methods, qualitative assessments and analysis, laboratory-based biomarkers, and mobile technologies. Led by Pamina Gorbach and Dr. Marjan Javanbahkt, the BARC leverages existing projects and has a proven record of accomplishment of sustained funding from multiple sources. Drs. Gorbach and Javanbahkt and other Center members are committed to training the next generation of public health researchers and support trainees at different levels. The BARC provides a platform for junior investigators to develop the skills necessary for an independent research career in biobehavioral assessment.

Selected Publications