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September 2008
Vol. 18, No. 9
Global ID
IDSA, HIVMA Launch Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy and Advocacy

IDSA and the HIVMA Medicine Association (HIVMA) are establishing a new center to support and promote U.S. efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis throughout the world. The Infectious Diseases Center for Global Health Policy and Advocacy is made possible by a $1.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It will be housed within the IDSA Education and Research Foundation.

The Center will promote effective use of U.S. funding for addressing the global HIV/AIDS and TB epidemics by providing scientific and policy information to policymakers, federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the media. The Center will ensure that key decision-makers have access to input and guidance from IDSA/HIVMA physicians and scientists and their colleagues from developing countries.

To get the Center’s work underway, IDSA and HIVMA will survey members next month to identify and organize individuals who are working in HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis in developing countries. Those individuals will be kept informed about key federal policy issues and the role they can play in bringing their expertise to the table. Specific activities of the Center will include hosting congressional and press briefings, and producing issue briefs and profiles of successful HIV and TB programs that merit scale-up and expansion.

The Center’s work will be overseen by a scientific advisory committee of leading physicians and scientists with expertise on global HIV and TB. Co-chairs of the committee will be Kenneth H. Mayer, MD, director of the Brown University AIDS Program and medical research director of the university’s Fogarty AIDS International Research and Training Program, and Carol Dukes Hamilton, MD, associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center and IDSA’s representative to the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development. Daniel R. Kuritzkes, MD, FIDSA, of Partners AIDS Research Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will serve as the liaison to the IDSA and HIVMA boards of directors. Other members of the Scientific Advisory Committee will include Henry Blumberg, MD, FIDSA, Tom Quinn, MD, FIDSA, Sten Vermund, MD, PhD, FIDSA, Deborah Cotton, MD, MPH, FIDSA, Veronica Miller, PhD, Renee Ridzon, MD, Eric Goosby, MD, Richard Chaisson, MD, FIDSA, Gerald Friedland, MD, FIDSA, and William Burman, MD.

“The United States has been a bold leader in fighting HIV/AIDS worldwide, but it is now time to take that commitment to the next level by ramping up the U.S. response to the twin epidemics of tuberculosis and HIV, and by aggressively supporting research and programmatic measures to combat HIV-TB co-infection,” Dr. Hamilton said. 

“The U.S. must support comprehensive, science-based global HIV prevention strategies, including making HIV screening routine for everyone, and incorporating prevention into the care and treatment of people who test positive for HIV,” added Dr. Mayer.

The Center will be led by Christine Lubinski, who assumes the role of vice president for global health at IDSA. Lubinski previously served as executive director of HIVMA, where she spearheaded the Association’s advocacy efforts including its support for reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Andrea Weddle becomes executive director of HIVMA, after having served as associate director since HIVMA’s inception in 2001.

“The Center will allow IDSA and HIVMA to bring the voices and insights of physician scientists to policymakers and U.S. government program implementers to ensure that the U.S. government is supporting efficacious, evidence-based programs and policies to address HIV and tuberculosis,” Lubinski said. “At a time when HIV/TB co-infection is threatening to undermine the progress made by antiretroviral therapy, that voice is more crucial now than ever before.”

“The experience of IDSA and HIVMA members, coupled with the breadth of their medical knowledge and technical expertise, will prove invaluable to discussions among policymakers and civil society organizations,” Weddle said.
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