UNC CFAR Spring 2017 Networking Event

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Congressman David Price

On May 8, 2017, the UNC CFAR Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Core hosted the Spring 2017 Networking Event. The theme of this month’s event was “HIV Research that Reaches Policymakers: Part I with Congressman David Price D-NC-04”.

David Price represents North Carolina’s Fourth District – a rapidly growing, research-and-education-focused district that includes parts of Orange, Durham, and Wake counties. He received his undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and went to Yale University to earn a Bachelor of Divinity and Ph.D. in Political Science. Before he began serving in Congress in 1987, Price was a Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University. He is the author of four books on Congress and the American political system. Price currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is the ranking member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Appropriations subcommittees covering homeland security, State Department, and foreign operations funding.

Congressman Price addresses attendees at the Networking Event

Congressman Price addresses attendees at the Networking Event

Congressman Price shared his perspective on how researchers can best focus their outreach efforts to inform policy makers about their research findings and shared personal examples of how he used research to inform policy.  He also shared the importance of having a broad viewpoint on health issues and working as a coalition to advocate for funding.

Following the talk, Dr. Ronald Strauss, Administrative Core Consultant for the UNC CFAR, moderated a question & answer session with Congressman Price and attendees. Attendees posed questions around the future of HIV research and prevention, with a specific focus on PrEP and HIV in the South. Congressman Price emphasized the importance of community partnerships and well-developed grassroots outreach efforts. Price discussed the value of seeking funding through the ACA to promote research and further inquiry in the field of health maintenance, diagnosis and wellness. A strong emphasis was placed on developing positive working relationships with community health centers, and Price encouraged attendees to think strategically about how we support the work of those combatting health challenges outside of the HIV/AIDS field. Congressman Price articulated that the most lasting impact is made when researchers work cooperatively to address health disparities. He encouraged attendees to connect with national advocacy groups like the Non-Defense Discretionary (NDD) United, an alliance of stakeholders from across the non-defense sectors, to call for a balanced approach to deficit reduction.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this event with Congressman Price in the fall!

Self-Swabbing Increases STD Screens

 

The number of cases of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea increased from 2014 to 2015 in North Carolina. This prompted a multidisciplinary group in the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic to introduce several interventions, including self-swabbing, to screen more patients for sexually transmitted diseases.

The ID Clinic inside the NC Memorial Hospital on Carolina’s campus is one of a few clinics in the state giving patients the option to screen themselves for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Self-swabbing is one of a handful of interventions created by a multidisciplinary quality improvement group including the clinic’s nurses, social workers, a certified medical assistant and a provider.

“Sex is normal and healthy,” says Ellen McAngus, LCSWA, a social work practitioner in the ID Clinic. “But we need to give our patients the right tools to protect themselves and their partners.”

UNC ID Clinic providers manage the care for 1,800 people living with HIV. In 2015, clinic nurse Anita Holt, RN, and Associate Clinic Director Amy Heine, FNP, noticed screening rates for syphilis in patients living with HIV were down, despite there being an increase in syphilis cases in North Carolina. In fact, the number of syphilis cases in the state increased by 64 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Through photos, an infographic and a video, learn more about the team’s progress in educating their patients about sexual health.

SYNChronicity 2017: The National Conference for HIV, HCV, and LGBT Health

SYNChronicity (or SYNC 2017) is HealthHIV’s national conference addressing HIV and HCV disease prevention, care and treatment. With the National Coalition for LGBT Health co-hosting SYNC 2017, the agenda is expanded to include LGBT health. The conference is titled SYNChronicity because the approach is to SYNC various audiences with a variety of topics with the intended outcome of advancing HIV, HCV and LGBT health.

Additionally, new track and institutes have been added to the 2017 Sync Agenda, including the Black Women’s Health Track and PrEP Preamble.

PrEP Preamble:
SYNCing CROI Data with PrEP Implementation
Sunday, April 23, 2017, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

HealthHIV is hosting the PrEP Preamble: SYNCing CROI Data with PrEP Implementation on Sunday, April 23 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

SYNC 2017 registration is not required to attend this event; all are invited to attend, including:
• Prescribing Providers (NP, PA, DO, MD);
• PrEP Advocates;
• Potential or Current PrEP Consumers;
• Health Department Staff; and
• Health Center Personnel

Please visit the conference website for more information. Click here to register. 

IRB Pop-Up Event at the UNC Clinical and Translational Research Center

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 10.16.18 PMCheck out this upcoming IRB pop-up event from our friends at UNC School of Medicine!

IRB Pop-ups provide on-campus IRB consultations for researchers. IRB Analysts will have access to your IRB application and can answer questions about existing or proposed research.

Apr 19, 2017, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Clinical and Translational Research Center
Burnett-Womack 1042
Contact Phone: 919-966-3113

If you can’t make the next Pop-up but have questions, please call IRB at 919-966-3113 or email irb_questions@unc.edu.

Blog: ID Clinic Director Claire Farel, MD, MPH, Answers Most Common Patient Questions

Claire Farel, MD, MPH, medical director of the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic.

Claire Farel, MD, MPH, medical director of the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic.

Claire Farel, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor of medicine in the UNC School of Medicine and medical director of the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic. In answering the most common questions she is asked as a clinician, Dr. Farel illustrates the vast prevention and treatment services available at the clinic, and how they can be accessed.

I love it when patients ask questions. Being able to partner with patients in their care keeps all of us in the UNC Infectious Diseases (ID) Clinic going. Asking questions shows that patients and their families are engaged in what all of us find most important: a healthier life, an understanding of illness and treatment, reliable information to pass along to others, support during stressful times, options for prevention of infection, maybe even a lasting contribution to science.

There are some questions I get more than others. The following are some of the perennial favorites:

“My significant other has HIV. What can I do to keep from getting it?”
We love to get the word out about HIV prevention resources. If your loved one is on HIV medications already and doing well with an “undetectable” amount of virus on blood tests, their risk of passing HIV on to anyone else is greatly reduced by somewhere between 92-100 percent. We call this “treatment as prevention,” but there are other ways to use HIV medications to keep from getting the virus. You can take a pill every day to prevent HIV before an exposure, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. Using PrEP consistently creates a “shield” in your body against possible infection, dropping the risk of acquiring HIV by at least 90 percent. In an emergency situation (for example, if a condom breaks during sex or in cases of sexual assault), you can take a combination of medications called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent infection after an exposure. There’s a fixed window of time for PEP medications to have a benefit, however – so it’s important to start those emergency medications within three days of the exposure. Our emergency department has expertise in providing this care and our clinic team can assist in accessing preventative medicine if needed.

We are happy to see folks who are interested in HIV prevention in our clinic and can offer lots of resources to make taking preventative medicine manageable and affordable – as well as advice on protecting yourself in other ways.

“How can I arrange to be seen in your clinic?”
We have special programs for HIV-positive patients that allow self-referral – just give us a call (information is included below) to arrange an appointment. We require that most other patients get a referral from a medical provider (such as a primary care provider or another specialist). Having your medical records and the initial workup for your problem allows us to provide a focused, expert consultation. We advise that anyone at risk gets testing for HIV and hepatitis C as recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), either through regular healthcare provider, free testing events, or local health departments. We take referrals from all of these sources and provide hepatitis C treatment through our clinic if you have a new or longstanding diagnosis.

Our contact information is below, or many practices can send referrals electronically.

UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic
101 Manning Drive, 1st floor Memorial Hospital
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Phone: 984-974-7198
Fax: 984-974-4587
http://www.med.unc.edu/infdis/clinical-care/infectious-diseases-clinic

Our mission is to provide excellent clinical care and education for all of our patients, whatever their concern, and to offer them every advance and advantage in our field to keep them healthy. Keep asking questions!

For more information and commonly asked questions, please visit the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases Blog!

FHI 360 / CFAR Brown Bag Event

CFAR Director Dr. Ronald Swanstrom welcomes everyone to the event!

CFAR Director Dr. Ronald Swanstrom welcomes everyone to the event!

On October 14th, senior researchers from FHI 360 and the UNC CFAR gathered for a brown bag lunch event to explore ways that the two organizations can expand their collaborations and offer support to each other in their HIV research and clinical efforts.

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Katie Mollan explains the services offered by the CFAR Biostatistics Core.

Kate MacQueen, Senior Scientist at FHI 360 and Core Director of the CFAR Developmental Core, shared that the idea for the event grew out of conversations with Ron Swanstrom on how “we could foster more engagement between FHI 360 scientists and UNC CFAR leadership”. MacQueen commented, “At FHI 360 we have a long-standing tradition of brown bag lunches to communicate with each other about our work as well as to introduce established and potential partners to our in-house colleagues. This seemed a perfect mechanism to showcase what the UNC CFAR has to offer FHI 360 researchers engaged in HIV work or interested in pursuing such work.”

Ron Swanstrom, CFAR Director, welcomed the group to start the meeting. Kate MacQueen discussed the funding opportunities and support for researchers offered by the Developmental Core. Marcia Hobbs (pictured below), VIM Core Co-Director, discussed STI testing capacity. Jeff Stringer, CFAR International Core Director, shared about the CFAR’s commitment to women’s reproductive health locally and globally. Carol Golin, Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Core Director, discussed the social and behavioral instrument database, a valuable tool produced by the core. Katie Mollan (pictured above), Biostatistics Core Manager and Cam Bay, Statistician, offered information about the statistical consulting services the core provides.

Marcia Hobbs addresses the group about the VIM core and STI testing capacity at the UNC CFAR.

MacQueen noted that they had a “great turnout for lunch” and “the people who attended were very engaged, asking a lot of questions”. The feedback she received from her FHI 360 colleagues is that “they discovered a lot about the UNC CFAR resources and gained a much better appreciation for how the CFAR can support their work”.

Plans are in the works to invite FHI 360 HIV researchers and program managers to UNC to describe their work and brainstorm about opportunities for scientific collaboration between the two organizations. Stay tuned!

Connected Health Conference

December 11-14, 2016
National Harbor, MD

The 8th annual Connected Health Conference (formerly the mHealth Summit), provides the global platform for leadership, innovation and opportunity to achieve our new and ambitious vision of personal connected health for all. The theme is Personal Connected Health for All: Expanding Reach, Accelerating Impact.

Registration details here.

Dr. Lisa Hightow-Weidman Will Develop Mobile Technology to Prevent and Treat HIV in Adolescents

People under the age of 30 account for the majority, or 40 percent, of new HIV infections in the United States. This age group is also more likely than adults to own a smartphone and use this device to download apps and access health information. Recognizing adolescents’ connection with mobile technology, a research team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with colleagues at Emory University, has secured $18 million in funding over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health to form the UNC/Emory Center for Innovative Technology or iTech.

“iTech will facilitate the execution of six research studies. Each study will use technology to address a barrier to the HIV care continuum,” said Lisa Hightow-Weidman, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine and principal investigator of the Behavior and Technology (BAT) Lab at UNC. “For youth at risk of becoming infected with HIV, we will develop apps that aim to increase HIV testing, and use of and adherence to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV. For youth who test positive for the virus, we will develop electronic health interventions to engage them in care and improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy.”

Click here to learn more about Hightown-Weidman’s background in mobile technology and health interventions.

Click here to learn more about iTech, one of three U19 applications funded by the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to support the new Adolescent Medicine Trials Network (ATN).

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: 2016 Inter-CFAR Collaboration on HIV Research in Women Symposium

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Deadline for Abstract Submission: Sunday, October 2, 2016

Conference: December 6 & 7, 2016

Birmingham, AB

The CFAR Joint Symposium on HIV Research in Women is soliciting abstracts for posters and oral presentations from investigators at CFAR-affiliated institutions in each of the below three areas:

  • Vulnerable Populations
  • Microbiome in HIV-Infected Women and its Impact on Health Outcomes
  • The HIV Continuum of Care Across the Lifespan of Women

Priority given to junior and mid-level investigators from doctoral students through assistant professor titles.  Abstracts must be no more than 350 words in length.  Review criteria include overall impact, contribution to the field of HIV in women, and relevance to one or more of the three session topics. Some travel support will be available based on need. There will be no registration fee for this symposium.

The goal of the CFAR Joint Symposium on HIV Research in Women is to identify gaps in knowledge in HIV and women’s research and develop strategies that will move the field forward.

Click here to submit abstracts.

Click here to learn more about the symposium.

Please email Julia Dettinger with questions regarding abstract submission.

Ending Gender Inequalities Conference

April 12–13, 2016
The Friday Center
Chapel Hill, NC

You are invited to join the Ending Gender Inequalities conference to:

~Enhance knowledge of evidence-based research and practice to reduce HIV, drug use, and gender-based violence

~Expand collaborative networks to identify successes and challenges in evidence-based research and practice

~Create a roadmap for facilitating greater implementation success in local and global markets

This is a profound opportunity to spotlight successful evidence-informed gender research and practice, create stronger collaborations, and advance a new action agenda.

The Ending Gender Inequalities conference will include international speakers, panel discussions, and breakout sessions to address challenges and strategize solutions. A poster session will also highlight emerging work.

Visit the website for more information, or email here.