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.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.
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!