As a global health practitioner and researcher, I have conducted clinical, epidemiological, and implementation research throughout the United States and Africa since 1985. One of the key lessons I have learned is that even a small investment of time and money can go a long way when helping those in need, particularly those in low-and middle-income countries. It is through research that we can bring together diverse perspectives and add new dimensions to problem solving that make the most impact.
A complete list of my published work can be found in my PubMed bibliography.
Early in the AIDS epidemic, I demonstrated that the first generation of ELISA serologic screening tests for the detection of HIV infection was of lower sensitivity than the HIV confirmatory Western blot test, in early seroconversion to HIV infection. Finding the most sensitive way to detect HIV infection, especially early after exposure to HIV, was important then and now.
Senegal-Boston Research Team in 1980s, outside the laboratory of Prof. Souleymane M’Boup
HIV-2 in Senegal
With our group’s discovery of the existence of a second human AIDS virus, HIV-2, our collaborative Senegalese, French and U.S. team began to intensely study this new human epidemic and virus in Senegal. I documented the first clinical and hematologic descriptions of those infected in Senegal. I also established the definitive evidence in our cohort study that this new human retrovirus, HIV-2, had a dramatically reduced incidence rate of AIDS compared to HIV-1.
Greeting a friend from one of our studies in Dakar, Senegal, outside her home with her two sons.
ART in Africa
As it became clear that the vast majority of people living with HIV were not going to have access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART), I helped establish scientific and clinical studies in Africa to improve access while studying how to best use ART in African settings. With a large-scale randomized controlled trial (RCT), we showed for the first time in any setting, that a specific two-drug nucleoside reversal transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) combination, ZDV/ddI, used in Africa at that time, was distinctly inferior to other combinations.
PEPFAR and Project HEART: Scaling-up Care and Prevention Efforts
Several years prior to the United States government creating PEPFAR and the United States and other governments contributing funds to create the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, I was able to mobilize new and innovative financing to help begin the scale-up HIV/AIDS care, treatment and prevention in Africa and other resource-poor regions. (See: eci.harvard.edu, www.securethefuture.com, and www.ACHAP.org).
Multivitamin Therapy Slows AIDS Progression
My colleague, Dr. Wafaie Fawzi, had found in Tanzania in a nutritional study of post-partum women living with HIV, but not on ART, that the progression to AIDS seemed to be slowed with a specific multivitamin combination that excluded the use of Vitamin A in the preparation.