MEASURE Evaluation: Translating Data into Health Recommendations

Zambia-Visitors-Sept-2016-02_with-banner-768x485By Kathy Doherty, Senior Research Writer MEASURE Evaluation

Health data are essential to understanding what is working in a health system and what is not. Data alone, however, are just numbers, unless transformed into compelling information products that communicate and lead to action to improve health care.

For the past year MEASURE Evaluation—a $180 million program housed in the Carolina Population Center at UNC and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—has provided technical assistance to 14 health professionals from Zambia’s Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Council, the Ministry of Community Development, and the University of Zambia. They spent three weeks last fall in Chapel Hill working on data products, such as posters, data dashboards, and trend lines, and then flew home, certificates of achievement in their baggage and a vetted health communication product on their laptops.

Take, for instance, Boyd Kaliki, a provincial monitoring and evaluation (M&E) officer with the health ministry in Lusaka – Zambia’s capital. He supports programs to prevent HIV transmission and uses the country’s data software to generate visuals that illustrate what health data are saying. For this training, he focused on merging data sets to discover why only 37 percent of HIV-positive women of childbearing age are using modern contraceptives.

He compared women living with HIV, who do use contraceptives, with other data and discovered that HIV-positive women with more education were more likely to use contraceptives, and that rural women were less likely to use them. His analysis led to three conclusions:

  1. The government should offer HIV testing, counseling, and treatment along with family planning services and incentives in rural and urban areas.
  2. The government should improve health education so women living with HIV understand how to take precautions for their health during and after pregnancy.
  3. The government should help families keep their girls in school, because education correlates with contraceptive use and delayed childbearing.

To learn more, visit the IGHID blog here.

38th Annual Minority Health Conference

The Annual Minority Health Conference was launched by the Minority Student Caucus in 1977 and has been conducted nearly every year since then. Major objectives are to highlight health issues of concern to people of color and to attract students interested in minority health to the School.

Planning and implementation of the Conference are led by the School’s Minority Student Caucus, which designates the chair of the Planning Committee each year.

This year’s event these is “Systems of Power: Recalling Our Past, Restructuring Our Future”. This conference is the largest student-led health conference, and it aims to raise awareness around health disparities.

To register, visit the website.

HPTN 083 Webinar – Give PrEP a Shot!

The HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) has launched a new study, HPTN 083, to evaluate whether injectable cabotegravir (CAB) can safely protect cisgender men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) who have sex with men from acquiring HIV as well as Truvada, an oral tablet taken daily for HIV prevention, also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). If found to be safe and effective for HIV PrEP, injectable CAB may be easier for some people to adhere to than daily oral Truvada.
 
This webinar will provide a comprehensive overview of HPTN 083 by explaining why the study is being done and what will happen during the study. Additionally, the HPTN’s commitment to community participation at all levels of research will be described by detailing the many community involvement and engagement activities used in preparation for the study and now during its implementation.
 
For more information about the HIV Prevention Trials Network and HPTN 083, please visit www.HPTN.org.

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
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!

PrEParing for the Future: An Update on HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

Speaker: Christopher Hurt, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Division of Infectious Diseases
UNC School of Medicine

Christopher B. Hurt, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Over the past several years, Dr. Hurt has worked extensively on issues related to the expansion of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) services in North Carolina. He established the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic’s PrEP program in 2014 and coordinates PrEP-related education and outreach efforts of the North Carolina AIDS Training and Education Center (NCATEC), housed at UNC. Dr. Hurt also serves as the site principal investigator for HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) Study 083, the first study to compare oral PrEP to a long-acting, injectable medication (the integrase inhibitor, cabotegravir) for HIV prevention in at-risk men who have sex with men and transgender women. 

Special Note: This Friday Morning Conference will be presented as a North Carolina AIDS Training and Education Center (NCATEC) event and advanced registration is requested. Registration is free and simple and involves filling out an online Participant Information Form, the brief documentation required by HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration). For questions about registration or general questions about the NCATEC, please contact Megan Katsaounis mkats@med.unc.edu.

CFAR represented at World AIDS Day Events Around the Triangle

Dr. David Wohl speaks on HIV Therapy at the 2016 Red Tie Affair

World AIDS Day, started in 1988, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, increase awareness, combat stigma, and improve education. Each year, the UNC Center for AIDS Research and the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases host a World AIDS Day Symposium featuring presentations by UNC faculty members, expert research and medical professionals, and panel discussions.

This year, morning session keynote speaker Michael Mugavero, MD, MHSc, from the University of Alabama spoke on “Ending AIDS in Alabama”. The afternoon session keynote speaker Elizabeth Connick, MD, University of Arizona, spoke on “The Role of the B Cell Follicular Sanctuary in HIV Immunopathogenesis”.

Attendees enjoyed a lively panel discussion on Access to HIV Care and presentations on a wide variety of relevant topics to the field, including “HIV Epidemiology” from Erica Samoff, PhD, MPH, North Carolina Division of Public Health and “The Role of the Immune Response in Curing HIV” from Nilu Goonetilleke, PhD, UNC Chapel Hill. Allison Matthews, PhD, UNC Chapel Hill, spoke on “Crowdsourcing Contests and Community Engagement for HIV Cure Research: A Mixed Methods Evaluation” and Sarah Joseph, PhD, UNC Chapel Hill, shared information on “HIV in the Brain: Observations from Throughout Infection”.

The UNC CFAR was represented at a number of other WAD events around the triangle this year, including the Red Tie Affair at UNC and the Durham County WAD Commemoration.

In addition to the World AIDS Day Symposium, the UNC CFAR supported a variety of community events around the triangle. One such event was the annual Red Tie Affair, hosted by UNC organization GlobeMed, a group of students dedicated to fighting for global health equity.

The benefit gala united students and health professionals to engage in a compassionate dialogue about HIV/AIDS. The UNC CFAR was represented by Myron S. Cohen, MD and David Wohl, MD. Dr. Cohen, Associate Director of the CFAR, presented on HIV prevention efforts in 2016 and offered suggestions on how to continue propelling these efforts forward. Dr. David Wohl, Professor of Medicine in the UNC Division of Infectious Diseases, presented on HIV Therapy and the incredible strides that have been made in the search for a cure.

Proceeds for the event will support GlobeMed’s partnership with Young Love, an organization based in Botswana with a mission to implement life-saving sexual health education programs for youth in Southern Africa.

The UNC CFAR CODE office was represented by Office Director Caressa White at the Durham County World AIDS Day Commemoration. The event was held in Durham Central Park, featuring remarks from Michael Wilson and Virginia Mitchell, Chairs of the HIV/STI committee. Caressa White shared a timeline of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and attendees enjoyed artistic performances by TAKIRY Dance Group from El Centro Hispano and Voices from the Heart from Triangle Empowerment Center. Following a candle lighting ceremony in remembrance of those we have lost to the epidemic, the crowd walked to the LGBTQ Center of Durham for a group viewing of an HIV/AIDS-themed photography exhibit “I Still Remember” and reception.

2016 UNC-Duke Viral Oncology & AIDS Malignancy Symposium

Click here to register!

Featuring:

Dr. Frederick Wang, Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Sallie Permar, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Duke Global Health Institute,“Maternal antibody protection against congenital cytomegalovirus infection”

Dr. Corey Casper, Head of Global Oncology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, “Impact of HIV on Strategies to Prevent Infection and Associated Cancers”

Directions to the Carolina Club are available here.

2016 World AIDS Day Symposium

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE MORNING AND/OR AFTERNOON SESSIONS!

 

Registration 8:00AM-8:30AM

Morning Session: HIV Clinical Epidemiology 8:30AM-12:00PM

8:30-8:40am – Introduction – Claire Farel, MD, MPH, UNC Chapel Hill
8:40-9:10am – David Wohl, MD, UNC Chapel Hill – “Spotlight on HIV Clinical Care”
9:10-10:10am – KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Michael Mugavero, MD, MHSc, University of Alabama – “Ending AIDS in Alabama”
10:10-10:40am – Erica Samoff, PhD, MPH, North Carolina Division of Public Health – “HIV Epidemiology in North Carolina”
10:40-11:00am – BREAK
11:00am-12:00pm – Patient Panel: Perspectives on Access to HIV Care

Lunch 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Afternoon Session: HIV Reservoirs 1:00PM-3:00PM

1:00-1:10pm – Introduction – Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque, DDS, PhD, UNC Chapel Hill
1:10-1:30pm – Nilu Goonetilleke, PhD, UNC Chapel Hill – “The Role of the Immune Response in Curing HIV”
1:30-1:50pm – Allison Mathews, PhD, UNC Chapel Hill – “Crowdsourcing Contests and Community Engagement for HIV Cure Research: A Mixed Methods Evaluation”
1:50-2:10pm – Sarah Joseph, PhD, UNC Chapel Hill – “HIV in the Brain: Observations From Throughout Infection”
2:10-2:55pm – KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Elizabeth Connick, MD, University of Arizona – “The Role of the B Cell Follicular Sanctuary in HIV Immunopathogenesis”
2:55-3:00pm – Evaluations

 

World AIDS Day, started in 1988, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, increase awareness, combat stigma, and improve education. The World AIDS Day Symposium features presentations by UNC faculty members, expert research and medical professionals, and panel discussions. The event is sponsored by the UNC Center for AIDS Research and the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases.