Duke/Tanzania HIV Partnership Responds to Other Pressing Health Concerns

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This post is by Center Director Christine Lubinski, who attended the Sept. 14-15 conference at the NIH of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health. This is her final post from the session.

If the Obama Administration needs a blueprint for integrated global health care as it fleshes out its Global Health Initiative, this Duke/Tanzania collaboration might be a good place to start.

As part of a panel on interdisciplinary innovation, John A. Bartlett, MD, of Duke University, reported on an exciting north-south interdisciplinary partnership between Duke, the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College, and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Tanzania.  Calling HIV research inherently multi-disciplinary, Bartlett described a research program that began as an exclusively HIV-focused enterprise, but that has now evolved into a broader effort with community linkages that address women’s health issues as well as mental health issues. Duke faculty and students, in disciplines ranging from infectious diseases to ob-gyn to psychiatry, work alongside Tanzanian health care workers in hospitals, outpatient clinics, regional health care centers and in the local community to provide services and conduct research.

HIV research has served as a foundation for an expansion of the research infrastructure to respond to other high priority community health problems. For example, prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV infection, as a research and clinical priority, has now branched out to include cervical cancer screening, fistula repair, and fistula-associated stigma.  And a mental health focus on HIV-related orphans has now been broadened to address cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as the role of depression in HIV infection.

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