Dilara Üsküp began working on HIV/AIDS as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. As part of  Dr. Nesha Haniff’s Pedagogy of the Action program, she taught Dr. Haniff’s peer health HIV module to individuals who were low-literate and illiterate in South Africa. Upon graduating early from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at Michigan, Dilara directed her efforts on addressing race and gender-related HIV related disparities at the federal level. As an intern in the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) at the White House, she observed that the federal government lacked a comprehensive strategy to specifically address gender and race-based health disparities in the domestic fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Dilara led the effort to co-author a presidential memorandum, entitled “Establishing a Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence Against Women and Girls, and Gender-related Health Disparities,” that was then signed by former President Barack Obama in March 2012.

Dilara earned a PhD in theology and a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago. Her research empowers women to optimize their sexual health through a multidisciplinary approach at the intersection of health behavior, social science, and religion. Currently, she is working on several projects including the incorporation of technology into PrEP delivery and increasing PrEP access among African American women. Dilara is also committed to dismantling institutionalized racism in the health care setting and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in the health. Dilara is a Turkish-African American, and one of her personal life goals is mastering her family’s prized rice pilaf and börek recipes. As a self-identified creative-trapped-in-an-academic’s-body Dilara hopes to complete her fantasy fiction novel, pursue her photography, and other concept creations.

Each month, we’re featuring a member of our CHIPTS family and their work! To see past spotlights, check them out on the spotlights page  and make sure to check back to see who we feature next!