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

PhD, University of Pittsburgh

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 chair of the Boston University School of Medicine Faculty Development and Diversity Committee, I have 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.

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. 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;
  2. 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;
  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. 2022 Apr 27. PMID: 35481701
  4. Bailin SS, Kundu S, Wellons M, Freiberg MS, Doyle MF, Tracy RP, Justice AC, Wanjalla CN, Landay AL, So-Armah K, Mallal S, Kropski JA, Koethe JR. Circulating CD4+ TEMRA and CD4+ CD28- T cells and incident diabetes among persons with and without HIV. AIDS. 2022 03 15; 36(4):501-511. PMID: 34860194; PMCID: PMC8881388; DOI: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000003137;
  5. Pierre F, Forman LS, Winter M, Cheng D, Ngabirano C, Emenyonu N, Hunt PW, Huang Y, Muyindike W, Samet J, Hahn JA, So-Armah K. Alcohol Consumption and Tryptophan Metabolism Among People with HIV Prior to Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation: The Uganda ARCH Cohort Study. Alcohol Alcohol. 2022 Mar 12; 57(2):219-225.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34027552; PMCID: PMC8919408; DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agab033;
  6. Bourgi K, Kundu S, Stewart JC, So-Armah K, Freiberg M, Gupta SK. Associations of HIV and Depression with Incident Diabetes Mellitus: Veterans Aging Cohort Study. Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Feb 03. PMID: 35134838
  7. Freiberg MS, Duncan MS, Alcorn C, Chang CH, Kundu S, Mumpuni A, Smith EK, Loch S, Bedigian A, Vittinghoff E, So-Armah K, Hsue PY, Justice AC, Tseng ZH. HIV Infection and the Risk of World Health Organization-Defined Sudden Cardiac Death. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 09 21; 10(18):e021268. PMID: 34493058; PMCID: PMC8649505; DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.121.021268;
  8. Sico JJ, Kundu S, So-Armah K, Gupta SK, Chang CH, Butt AA, Gibert CL, Marconi VC, Crystal S, Tindle HA, Freiberg MS, Stewart JC. Depression as a Risk Factor for Incident Ischemic Stroke Among HIV-Positive Veterans in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 07 06; 10(13):e017637. PMID: 34169726; PMCID: PMC8403311; DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.119.017637;
  9. Duncan MS, Alcorn CW, Freiberg MS, So-Armah K, Patterson OV, DuVall SL, Crothers KA, Re VL, Butt AA, Lim JK, Kim JW, Tindle HA, Justice AC, Brittain EL. Association between HIV and incident pulmonary hypertension in US Veterans: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet Healthy Longev. 2021 Jul; 2(7):e417-e425. PMID: 34296203; PMCID: PMC8294078; DOI: 10.1016/s2666-7568(21)00116-1;
  10. Chichetto NE, Kundu S, Freiberg MS, Koethe JR, Butt AA, Crystal S, So-Armah KA, Cook RL, Braithwaite RS, Justice AC, Fiellin DA, Khan M, Bryant KJ, Gaither JR, Barve SS, Crothers K, Bedimo RJ, Warner A, Tindle HA. Association of Syndemic Unhealthy Alcohol Use, Smoking, and Depressive Symptoms on Incident Cardiovascular Disease among Veterans With and Without HIV-Infection. AIDS Behav. 2021 Sep; 25(9):2852-2862. PMID: 34101074; PMCID: PMC8376776; DOI: 10.1007/s10461-021-03327-4;
Showing 10 of 64 results. Show More

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

Bar chart showing 64 publications over 12 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

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  • Co-Mentor or Peer Mentor
  • Diversity Mentor
  • Research / Scholarly Mentor
Contact for Mentoring:
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