Geri R. Donenberg, Ph.D.

Department of Psychiatry
University of Illinois at Chicago
1747 W. Roosevelt Road (MC 747),
Chicago, IL 60608
Office Phone: 312-996-8602
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Representative Publications

Donenberg, G., Emerson, E., Brown, L., Houck, C., & Mackesy-Amiti, M.E. (in press). HIV-Risk Among Youth in Therapeutic Schools: The Role of Families, Peers and Partners. Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Seth, P., Lang, D., DiClemente, R., Braxton, N., Crosby, R., Brown, L.K., Hadley, W., & Donenberg, G. (2012). Gender Differences in HIV/STI Risk Behaviors and Sexually Transmitted Infections among Adolescents in Mental Health Treatment. Sexual Health, 9, 1-7.

Donenberg, G., Brown, L.K., Hadley, W., Kapungu, C., & Lescano, C. (2012). Family-Based HIV-Prevention Program for Adolescents with Psychiatric Disorders. In W. Pequegnat and C. Bell (Eds.) Families and HIV/AIDS: Culture and Contextual Issues in Prevention and Treatment. Springer: NY.

Brakefield, T., Wilson, H., & Donenberg, G. (2012). Maternal Models of Risk: Links between Substance Use and Risky Sexual Behavior in African American Mothers and Daughters. Journal of Adolescence, 35, 959-68.

Wilson, H., Woods, B., Emerson, E., & Donenberg, G. (2012). Patterns of Violence Exposure and Sexual Risk in Low-Income, Urban African American Girls. Psychology of Violence, 2, 194-207.

Emerson, E., Donenberg, G., & Wilson, H. (2012). Health Protective Effects of Attachment Among African American Girls in Psychiatric Care. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 124-132.

Starr, L., Donenberg, G., & Emerson, E. (2012). Bidirectional Linkages Between Psychological Symptoms and Sexual Activities Among African American Adolescent Girls in Psychiatric Care. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Donenberg, G., Emerson, E., & Mackesy-Amiti, M. (2011). Sexual Risk Among African American Girls: Psychopathology and Mother-Daughter Relationships. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 153-158.

Udell, W., Donenberg, G., & Emerson, E. (2011). The impact of mental health problems and religiosity on African American girls HIV-risk. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17, 217-224.

Donenberg, G., Emerson, E., Bryant, F., & King, S. (2006). Does drug use moderate the effects of parents and peers on risky sex? AIDS Care, 18, 194-200. PMC1414643

Donenberg, G., & Pao, M. (2005). Youths and HIV/AIDS: Psychiatry’s Role in a Changing Epidemic. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 44, 1-20. PMC1634829

Donenberg, G., Schwartz, R., Emerson, E., Wilson, H., Bryant, F., Coleman, G., & Clark, S. (2005). Applying a Cognitive-Behavioral Model of HIV-Risk to Youths in Psychiatric Care. AIDS Education and Prevention, 17, 200-216. PMC1237132.

Donenberg, G., Bryant, F., Wilson, H., & Emerson, E. (2003). Tracing the roots of Early Sexual Debut Among Adolescents in Psychiatric Care. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 42, 594-608. PMC1201420.

Donenberg, G., Wilson, H., Emerson, E., & Bryant, F. (2002). Holding the line with a watchful eye: The impact of perce\ived parental monitoring and parental permissiveness on risky sexual behavior among adolescents in outpatient psychiatric service. AIDS Education and Prevention, 14, 138-157. PMC1226305.

Donenberg, G., Emerson, E., Bryant, F., Wilson, H., & Weber-Shifrin, E. (2001). Understanding AIDS-risk behavior among adolescents in psychiatric care: Links to psychopathology and peer relationships. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 642-653.


Geri R. Donenberg, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of Research, School of Public Health
Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry

Dr. Geri Donenberg received her Bachelor Degree in Psychology and Political Science at the University of Michigan and her Master of Arts and Doctoral Degree in clinical psychology from UCLA. She completed her psychology internship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, and was a recently Fulbright Scholar in South Africa.

Dr. Donenberg directs the Community Outreach Intervention Projects (COIP) and the Healthy Youths Program (HYP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. COIP addresses HIV/AIDS among substance users operating from five storefronts and mobile units in Chicago. COIP is based on the Indigenous Leader Outreach Model and provides numerous services, including street outreach, diabetes, HCV, and blood pressure screenings, counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS, syphilis, and other infectious diseases associated with substance use, case management for persons living with or at high risk for HIV infection, syringe exchange, drug abuse and risk reduction counseling, support groups, education, and projects that enhance linkages to care for HIV-positive men and women exiting jail. HYP includes a number of HIV/AIDS risk and prevention studies for families and youth with mental health problems, teens involved in the juvenile justice system, and in international settings. Dr. Donenberg's research focuses on understanding the underlying mechanisms of risky sexual behavior and substance use among youth and designing specially targeted interventions to prevent HIV transmission. She supervises and mentors psychology interns, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty, is a fellow of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program and a licensed clinical psychologist, and she has served on numerous review panels for the National Institutes of Health and the CDC since 1998.


HIV/AIDS risk and prevention; Adolescent mental health; Juvenile justice; International research; Families and youth



(1) “An Integrative HIV Prevention Program for African American Mothers and Daughters” (R01MD006198) is a 5-year 2-arm randomized controlled trial to reduce HIV-risk among African American women and daughters receiving mental health services.
(2) “PHAT Life: Preventing HIV Among Juvenile Offenders” (R01MD005861) is a 5-year 2-arm randomized controlled trial to reduce risky sexual behavior, substance use, and mental health problems among juvenile offenders on probation.
(3) “South Africa STYLE: HIV Prevention for South African Youth and Families” (R34MH092251) is a 3-year developmental project to adapt and test an family-based HIV prevention program for South African teens in psychiatric care.
(4) “HIV/STD Prevention Program for African American Males” (R01MD004125; PI: S. Kennedy) is a 4-year 2-arm randomized controlled trial to increase condom use among African American 18 – 24 year old males.
(5) “Building AIDS Research Capacity for Indonesia at Atma Jaya Catholic University” (R24 HD056642; PI: Judith Levy) includes a pilot study to design, adapt, and test an HIV prevention program for street youth in Jakarta.
(6) “Violence Exposure and HIV Risk in Adolescent Women of Color” (PI: Helen Wilson; R03MH086361) explores the history of violence exposure among African American girls.
(7) “Psychiatric Diagnoses Among IV Drug Users” (PI: Larry Oullett; R01DA020368) is a 4-year study to examine the severity of psychiatric illness among 18 – 24 year old injection drug users.
(8) “HIV Prevention for Youth with Severe Mental Illness” (PI: Larry Brown; R01MH63008) is a 9-year, multisite, 3-arm randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of a family-based HIV prevention program for youth with serious mental health problems.
(9) “Therapeutic Schools: Affect Management & HIV Prevention” (R01MH066641) is a 5-year multi-site 3-arm randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of a school-based affect management HIV prevention program.




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