Kartika Palar, PhD

Associate Professor

My research focuses on addressing the drivers and consequences of health inequity in HIV and chronic disease. One stream of research investigates the impact of food insecurity and other unmet subsistence needs on health. A new stream of research examines the intersection of HIV, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and social determinants of health. Within these areas, I have a special interest in developing equitable community partnerships to design and evaluate program and policy solutions. I am interested in both safety-net interventions that address immediate needs, as well as policies that address upstream root causes of health inequity.

Current studies fall within one or more of the above research streams. I am PI of the 5-year NIH-funded Women, HIV/AIDS and Diabetes Study, or WAND Study, based within the US national Women’s Interagency HIV Study. WAND is using both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the impact of social and economic barriers on HIV and diabetes health among women living with both conditions, with the goal of developing an intervention to improve HIV/diabetes co-management among women experiencing multiple vulnerabilities. I am also co-PI of the Changing Health through Food Support (CHEFS) Study, an RCT of comprehensive, medically appropriate food support to low-income, people with HIV in the San Francisco Bay Area in collaboration with Project Open Hand. I am co-leading the development of a community-based collaboration to evaluate urban gardens as a strategy to improve health among low-income people with diabetes in the Bay Area, and am involved with an urban garden intervention for people with HIV in the Dominican Republic. I am a co-investigator or collaborator on several other projects addressing food insecurity and health, and/or HIV/NCD co-morbidity, domestically and abroad.

My international work is largely based in Latin America, in collaboration with the World Food Programme and others. Finally, I have a strong commitment and passion for mentoring students and others with interest in issues of health equity, particularly those with backgrounds underrepresented in scientific research.
Education
Postdoctoral Fellowship - Social/Behavioral HIV Research, 2015 - Division of HIV, ID and Global Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Postdoctoral Fellowship - Health Services Research, 2014 - UCLA School of Public Health, Dept of Health Policy and Mgmt, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
PhD - Policy Analysis, 2012 - Pardee RAND Graduate School, RAND Corporation
MA - International Affairs, 2006 - Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
BA - Development Studies & Ethnic Studies, 2001 - , Brown University
Honors and Awards
  • Early Career Award of Excellence in Behavioral Research, UCSF-Gladstone Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), 2017
Publications
  1. Derose KP, Han B, Armenta G, Palar K, Then-Paulino A, Jimenez-Paulino G, Sheira LA, Acevedo R, Lugo C, Veloz I, Donastorg Y, Wagner G. Exploring antiretroviral therapy adherence, competing needs, and viral suppression among people living with HIV and food insecurity in the Dominican Republic. 2021. PMID: 34581230


  2. Sheira LA, Frongillo EA, Hahn J, Palar K, Riley ED, Wilson TE, Adedimeji A, Merenstein D, Cohen M, Wentz EL, Adimora AA, Ofotokun I, Metsch L, Turan JM, Tien PC, Weiser SD. Relationship between food insecurity and smoking status among women living with and at risk for HIV in the USA: a cohort study. 2021. PMID: 34489299


  3. Chandran A, Edmonds A, Benning L, Wentz E, Adedimeji A, Wilson TE, Blair-Spence A, Palar K, Cohen M, Adimora A. Longitudinal Associations Between Neighborhood Factors and HIV Care Outcomes in the WIHS. 2020. PMID: 32170507


  4. Weiser SD, Sheira LA, Palar K, Kushel M, Wilson TE, Adedimeji A, Merenstein D, Cohen M, Turan JM, Metsch L, Adimora AA, Ofotokun I, Wentz E, Tien PC, Frongillo EA. Mechanisms from Food Insecurity to Worse HIV Treatment Outcomes in US Women Living with HIV. 2020. PMID: 32941054


  5. Nagata JM, Palar K, Gooding HC, Garber AK, Tabler JL, Whittle HJ, Bibbins-Domingo K, Weiser SD. Food Insecurity, Sexual Risk, and Substance Use in Young Adults. 2020. PMID: 32682597


  6. Whittle HJ, Wolfe WR, Sheira LA, Frongillo EA, Palar K, Merenstein D, Wilson TE, Adedimeji A, Cohen MH, Wentz EL, Tien PC, Weiser SD. Associations between food insecurity and psychotropic medication use among women living with HIV in the United States. 2020. PMID: 32248873


  7. Flórez KR, Payán DD, Palar K, Williams MV, Katic B, Derose KP. Church-based interventions to address obesity among African Americans and Latinos in the United States: a systematic review. 2020. PMID: 31539069


  8. Mendel P, Green HD, Palar K, Kanouse DE, Bluthenthal RN, Mata MA, Oden CW, Derose KP. Congregational involvement in HIV: A qualitative comparative analysis of factors influencing HIV activity among diverse urban congregations. 2019. PMID: 31931449


  9. Nagata JM, Palar K, Gooding HC, Garber AK, Whittle HJ, Bibbins-Domingo K, Weiser SD. Food Insecurity Is Associated With Poorer Mental Health and Sleep Outcomes in Young Adults. 2019. PMID: 31587956


  10. Nagata JM, Palar K, Gooding HC, Garber AK, Bibbins-Domingo K, Weiser SD. Food Insecurity and Chronic Disease in US Young Adults: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. 2019. PMID: 31576509


  11. Palar K, Lemus Hufstedler E, Hernandez K, Chang A, Ferguson L, Lozano R, Weiser SD. Nutrition and Health Improvements After Participation in an Urban Home Garden Program. 2019. PMID: 31601420


  12. Nagata JM, Weiser SD, Gooding HC, Garber AK, Bibbins-Domingo K, Palar K. Association Between Food Insecurity and Migraine Among US Young Adults. 2019. PMID: 31233123


  13. Whittle HJ, Sheira LA, Wolfe WR, Frongillo EA, Palar K, Merenstein D, Wilson TE, Adedimeji A, Weber KM, Adimora AA, Ofotokun I, Metsch L, Turan JM, Wentz EL, Tien PC, Weiser SD. Food insecurity is associated with anxiety, stress, and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in a cohort of women with or at risk of HIV in the United States. 2019. PMID: 31127819


  14. Tuthill EL, Sheira LA, Palar K, Frongillo EA, Wilson TE, Adedimeji A, Merenstein D, Cohen MH, Wentz EL, Adimora AA, Ofotokun I, Metsch L, Kushel M, Turan JM, Konkle-Parker D, Tien PC, Weiser SD. Persistent Food Insecurity Is Associated with Adverse Mental Health among Women Living with or at Risk of HIV in the United States. 2019. PMID: 30753638


  15. Palar K, Frongillo EA, Escobar J, Sheira LA, Wilson TE, Adedimeji A, Merenstein D, Cohen MH, Wentz EL, Adimora AA, Ofotokun I, Metsch L, Tien PC, Turan JM, Weiser SD. Food Insecurity, Internalized Stigma, and Depressive Symptoms Among Women Living with HIV in the United States. Volume 22 of Issue 12. 2018. PMID: 29948333


  16. Galaviz KI, Schneider MF, Tien PC, Mehta CC, Ofotokun I, Colasanti J, Marconi VC, Palar K, Wingood G, Adimora AA, Alcaide M, Cohen MH, Gustafson D, Karim R, Konkle-Parker D, Merenstein D, Sharma A, Ali MK. Predicting diabetes risk among HIV-positive and HIV-negative women. 2018. PMID: 30289812


  17. Whittle HJ, Sheira LA, Frongillo EA, Palar K, Cohen J, Merenstein D, Wilson TE, Adedimeji A, Cohen MH, Adimora AA, Ofotokun I, Metsch L, Turan JM, Wentz EL, Tien PC, Weiser SD. Longitudinal associations between food insecurity and substance use in a cohort of women with or at risk for HIV in the United States. 2018. PMID: 30109752


  18. Colasanti J, Galaviz KI, Christina Mehta C, Palar K, Schneider MF, Tien P, Adimora AA, Alcaide M, Cohen MH, Gustafson D, Karim R, Merenstein D, Sharma A, Wingood G, Marconi VC, Ofotokun I, Ali MK. Room for Improvement: The HIV-Diabetes Care Continuum Over 15 Years in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. 2018. PMID: 29942823


  19. Spinelli MA, Frongillo EA, Sheira LA, Palar K, Tien PC, Wilson T, Merenstein D, Cohen M, Adedimeji A, Wentz E, Adimora AA, Metsch LR, Turan JM, Kushel MB, Weiser SD. Food Insecurity is Associated with Poor HIV Outcomes Among Women in the United States. Volume 21 of Issue 12. 2017. PMID: 29119474


  20. Derose KP, Payán DD, Fulcar MA, Terrero S, Acevedo R, Farías H, Palar K. Factors contributing to food insecurity among women living with HIV in the Dominican Republic: A qualitative study. 2017. PMID: 28742870


  21. Derose KP, Ríos-Castillo I, Fulcar MA, Payán DD, Palar K, Escala L, Farías H, Martínez H. Severe food insecurity is associated with overweight and increased body fat among people living with HIV in the Dominican Republic. 2017. PMID: 28681631


  22. Palar K, Napoles T, Hufstedler LL, Seligman H, Hecht FM, Madsen K, Ryle M, Pitchford S, Frongillo EA, Weiser SD. Comprehensive and Medically Appropriate Food Support Is Associated with Improved HIV and Diabetes Health. 2017. PMID: 28097614


  23. Whittle HJ, Palar K, Seligman HK, Napoles T, Frongillo EA, Weiser SD. How food insecurity contributes to poor HIV health outcomes: Qualitative evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area. 2016. PMID: 27771206


  24. Whittle HJ, Palar K, Napoles T, Hufstedler LL, Ching I, Hecht FM, Frongillo EA, Weiser SD. Experiences with food insecurity and risky sex among low-income people living with HIV/AIDS in a resource-rich setting. 2015. PMID: 26546789


  25. Palar K, Kushel M, Frongillo EA, Riley ED, Grede N, Bangsberg D, Weiser SD. Food Insecurity is Longitudinally Associated with Depressive Symptoms Among Homeless and Marginally-Housed Individuals Living with HIV. Volume 19 of Issue 8. 2015. PMID: 25351185


  26. Palar K, Derose KP, Linnemayr S, Smith A, Farías H, Wagner G, Martinez H. Impact of food support on food security and body weight among HIV antiretroviral therapy recipients in Honduras: a pilot intervention trial. 2014. PMID: 25429691


  27. Martinez H, Palar K, Linnemayr S, Smith A, Derose KP, Ramírez B, Farías H, Wagner G. Tailored nutrition education and food assistance improve adherence to HIV antiretroviral therapy: evidence from Honduras. 2014. PMID: 24788781


  28. Weiser SD, Palar K, Frongillo EA, Tsai AC, Kumbakumba E, Depee S, Hunt PW, Ragland K, Martin J, Bangsberg DR. Longitudinal assessment of associations between food insecurity, antiretroviral adherence and HIV treatment outcomes in rural Uganda. 2014. PMID: 23939234


  29. Linnemayr S, Ryan GW, Liu J, Palar K. Value for Money in Donor HIV Funding. 2012. PMID: 28083209


  30. Palar K, Wagner G, Ghosh-Dastidar B, Mugyenyi P. Role of antiretroviral therapy in improving food security among patients initiating HIV treatment and care. 2012. PMID: 22948270


  31. Linnemayr S, Ryan GW, Karir V, Liu J, Palar K. Negotiation Strategies for Antiretroviral Drug Purchasers in the United States. 2012. PMID: 28083266


  32. Bluthenthal RN, Palar K, Mendel P, Kanouse DE, Corbin DE, Derose KP. Attitudes and beliefs related to HIV/AIDS in urban religious congregations: barriers and opportunities for HIV-related interventions. 2012. PMID: 22445157


  33. Derose KP, Mendel PJ, Palar K, Kanouse DE, Bluthenthal RN, Castaneda LW, Corbin DE, Domínguez BX, Hawes-Dawson J, Mata MA, Oden CW. Religious congregations' involvement in HIV: a case study approach. 2011. PMID: 20953903


  34. Bentley TG, Effros RM, Palar K, Keeler EB. Waste in the U.S. Health care system: a conceptual framework. 2008. PMID: 19120983