Kaku So-Armah, PhD Hear my name
Associate Professor
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
General Internal Medicine

PhD, University of Pittsburgh
BA, Amherst College

Pronouns: he/him/his

Dr. So-Armah is an epidemiologist with expertise in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of cohort studies and use of electronic health record data for research. His lab uses molecular biology coupled with data on health behaviors, risk factors and disease diagnoses to identify and explain novel epidemiological associations and identify novel intervention targets. His research focuses on substance use and chronic infections like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and tuberculosis (TB) and how these exposures impact the heart, liver and lungs.

His work uses data from the Russian cohort of the Uganda Russia Boston Alcohol Network Alcohol Research Collaboration on HIV/AIDS (URBAN ARCH) as well as the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS).

His long-term goal is to translate the growing understanding of the mechanisms of excess HIV-related comorbid disease risk into effective, sustainable interventions for HIV populations bearing the brunt of the HIV epidemic.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

The populations and problems on which my lab is focused has attracted scientists to our lab from groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce. We encourage people to come to our lab bringing their full authentic selves in our pursuit of inclusive excellence.

We recognize, value and leverage the power of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives in solving complex problems. To this end, I am the founding Director of the Inclusion Diversity & Equity In Addiction medicine, Addiction health professions, and Addiction research (IDEAAA) program. Through strategic partnerships with existing Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs, IDEAAA engages earlier stage learners (high school, undergrad, med students) motivating them to consider addiction-related careers. IDEAAA also supports early stage faculty to successfully compete for addiction-related funding by linking people with great ideas to people with existing grants eligible for supplemental NIH funding.

The IDEAAA workforce development initiative complements my work on the leadership team of the Grayken Center for Addiction Anti-racist Approach to Substance Use Treatment working group. Our working group is building the evidence base from published literature and the expertise of people with lived experiences of substance use to 1) identify ways to improve substance use treatment for minoritized populations at Boston Medical Center and beyond; 2) identify and prioritize gaps in research which, if filled, could catalyze the improvement of substance use treatment for minorities populations.

I co-direct the Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging Program. This initiative provides teaching, research experiences and mentorship to earlier and later stage learners interested in the field of HIV/AIDS.

As a past chair of the Boston University School of Medicine Faculty Development and Diversity Committee, I led, helped organize, and participated in the Boston University site for Bias Reduction in Internal Medicine clinical trial; the Conversations on Race/Equity discussion series; and the DOM Reads book club.

I am currently an Assistant Chair for Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility in DOM. In this role, I work with the different sections in our department on developing, implementing and improving equitable recruitment and hiring practices.

As a Black, African, man, I benefit from every second I invest pushing Boston University towards inclusive excellence. More importantly, my children, and children that look like my children, and people who think differently from me and my children will also benefit from this investment.

Let's do this, together.

Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit

Providence/Boston CFAR Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Program
06/20/2022 - 08/26/2022 (Subcontract PI)
The Miriam Hospital NIH NIAID

Kaku So-Armah ZINC Diversity Supplement-Vanderbilt
04/30/2016 - 07/31/2016 (Co-Investigator)
PI: Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MA, MPH
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Kaku So-Armah ZINC Diversity Supplement: Vanderbilt
02/01/2015 - 04/29/2016 (Co-Investigator)
PI: Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MA, MPH
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Microbiome, metabolites, and alcohol in HIV to reduce CVD (M
09/10/2021 - 08/31/2026 (PI)
Vanderbilt University Medical Center National Institute o

CFAR: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Init
07/01/2021 - 06/30/2022 (PI)
The Miriam Hospital National Institute o

Novel Mechanisms Driving Excess Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk in the Context of HIV…
08/01/2016 - 01/31/2022 (PI)

HIV, alocohol use and intestinal dysbiosis, gastrointestinal barrier function and microbial transloc
12/01/2017 - 05/31/2019 (PI)
Miriam Hospital NIH-NIAID


Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

iCite Analysis       Copy PMIDs To Clipboard

  1. Oursler KK, Marconi VC, Wang Z, Xu K, Montano M, So-Armah K, Justice AC, Sun YV. Epigenetic Age Acceleration Markers Are Associated With Physiologic Frailty and All-Cause Mortality in People With Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Clin Infect Dis. 2023 Feb 08; 76(3):e638-e644. PMID: 35970820
  2. Basukala B, Rossi S, Bendiks S, Gnatienko N, Patts G, Krupitsky E, Lioznov D, So-Armah K, Sagar M, Cheng C, Henderson AJ. Virally Suppressed People Living with HIV Who Use Opioids Have Diminished Latency Reversal. Viruses. 2023 Feb 01; 15(2).View Related Profiles. PMID: 36851631; PMCID: PMC9961149; DOI: 10.3390/v15020415;
  3. Polanka BM, Gupta SK, So-Armah KA, Freiberg MS, Zapolski TCB, Hirsh AT, Stewart JC. Examining Depression as a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease in People with HIV: A Systematic Review. Ann Behav Med. 2023 Jan 02; 57(1):1-25. PMID: 35481701; PMCID: PMC9773373; DOI: 10.1093/abm/kaab119;
  4. Berg CJ, Patel B, Reynolds M, Tuzovic M, Chew KW, Sico JJ, Bhattacharya D, Butt AA, Lim JK, Bedimo RJ, Brown ST, Gottdiener JS, Warner AL, Freiberg MS, So-Armah KA, Nguyen KL. Left Atrial Mechanics and Diastolic Function Among People Living With Human Immunodeficiency Virus (from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study). Am J Cardiol. 2023 Jan 01; 186:50-57. PMID: 36343446
  5. Kundu S, Freiberg MS, Tracy RP, So-Armah KA, Koethe JR, Duncan MS, Tindle HA, Beckman JA, Feinstein MJ, McDonnell WJ, Justice A, Doyle MF. Circulating T Cells and Cardiovascular Risk in People With and Without HIV Infection. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Oct 25; 80(17):1633-1644. PMID: 36265959
  6. Titanji BK, Lee M, Wang Z, Chen J, Hui Q, Lo Re Iii V, So-Armah K, Justice AC, Xu K, Freiberg M, Gwinn M, Marconi VC, Sun YV. Epigenome-wide association study of biomarkers of liver function identifies albumin-associated DNA methylation sites among male veterans with HIV. Front Genet. 2022; 13:1020871. PMID: 36303554; PMCID: PMC9592923; DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2022.1020871;
  7. Tindle HA, Freiberg MS, Cheng DM, Gnatienko N, Blokhina E, Yaroslavtseva T, Bendiks S, Patts G, Hahn J, So-Armah K, Stein MD, Bryant K, Lioznov D, Krupitsky E, Samet JH. Effectiveness of Varenicline and Cytisine for Alcohol Use Reduction Among People With HIV and Substance Use: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Aug 01; 5(8):e2225129.View Related Profiles. PMID: 35930287; PMCID: PMC9356316; DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.25129;
  8. Titanji BK, Wang Z, Chen J, Hui Q, So-Armah K, Freiberg M, Justice AC, Ke X, Marconi VC, Sun YV. Soluble CD14-associated DNA methylation sites predict mortality among men with HIV infection. AIDS. 2022 Sep 01; 36(11):1563-1571. PMID: 35979830; PMCID: PMC9394925; DOI: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000003279;
  9. Bahji A, Li Y, Vickers-Smith R, Crystal S, Kerns RD, Gordon KS, Macmadu A, Skanderson M, So-Armah K, Sung ML, Bhondoekhan F, Marshall BDL, Edelman EJ. Self-Reported Cannabis Use and HIV Viral Control among Patients with HIV Engaged in Care: Results from a National Cohort Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 06; 19(9). PMID: 35565045; PMCID: PMC9101884; DOI: 10.3390/ijerph19095649;
  10. Kholodnaia A, So-Armah K, Cheng D, Gnatienko N, Patts G, Samet JH, Freiberg M, Lioznov D. Impact of illicit opioid use on markers of monocyte activation and systemic inflammation in people living with HIV. PLoS One. 2022; 17(5):e0265504.View Related Profiles. PMID: 35511802; PMCID: PMC9070930; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265504;
Showing 10 of 71 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 71 publications over 13 distinct years, with a maximum of 11 publications in 2020


2021-2023 Boston University School of Medicine: Evans Junior Faculty Merit Award
2013 Delta Omega Honors Society in Public Health
2013 University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology: Outstanding Doctoral Student Award
2012 University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health: Dean’s Day Competition First Place
2012 Delta Omega Award For Best Poster
2012 Rosenkranz Award for most significant contribution to public health
2012-2013 Young Investigator Award
In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

Liver Fibrosis
Cardiovascular Diseases
Longitudinal data analysis
Alcohol Consumption
Opioid-Related Disorders
Microbiome, Human

Available to Mentor as: (Review Mentor Role Definitions):
  • Career Mentor
  • Co-Mentor or Peer Mentor
  • Diversity Mentor
  • Research / Scholarly Mentor
Contact for Mentoring:
  • Email (see 'Contact Info')

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