RTI International Expands Global Health Capabilities

18-Feb-2008 9:10 AM EST

RTI International

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    Credit: Jimmy Crawford, RTI International photographer.

    Nancy Padian, Ph.D., who was director of WGHI while at UCSF, has now joined RTI International.

Newswise — In an effort to strengthen and broaden its global health research and project implementation capabilities, RTI International has hired an internationally recognized team of researchers who together comprise the Women's Global Health Imperative formerly at the University of California at San Francisco.

The Women's Global Health Imperative (WHGI) will be a focus area within RTI, conducting a wide range of research on topics including HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, reproductive health, gender and economic inequities, contraceptive technologies, and community-based interventions among vulnerable populations in low-resource settings.

Although no longer affiliated with UCSF, WGHI researchers will continue to collaborate on projects with colleagues at UCSF and the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health. Nancy Padian, Ph.D., who was director of WGHI while at UCSF, will retain her role as senior director of prevention at Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation.

RTI and Pangaea will collaborate on HIV/AIDS projects under Padian's leadership.

"These scientists and the Women's Global Health Imperative will play a key role as we expand our global health research program," said RTI President and CEO Victoria Franchetti Haynes, Ph.D. "Together they bring a tremendous amount of energy, talent and experience to RTI in the area of HIV/AIDS and women's health. We are very pleased and proud that these well-respected and accomplished researchers have chosen to join us."

"We are excited about the opportunity to continue and expand the work of the Women's Global Health Imperative at RTI," Padian said. "RTI has a great team of researchers and a tremendous project management capacity with many new opportunities that will help us expand the reach of our programs, interventions and training."

For more than three decades, RTI has been committed to improving the health of people around the world. RTI offers technical expertise in HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tropical disease prevention and control.

RTI is spearheading one of the first large-scale global efforts to integrate the control of neglected tropical diseases which afflict millions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. RTI's current HIV/AIDS programs focus on prevention, treatment, and care -- including routine and voluntary counseling and testing, community mobilization and health education, mother-to-child transmission, development of vaginal microbicides and promotion of behavior change.

Among the researchers joining RTI as part of WGHI are

Nancy Padian, Ph.D., an internationally recognized expert in the epidemiology and prevention of HIV, particularly in the use of female-controlled methods for HIV prevention. Padian recently became senior director of prevention at Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation. Padian will also retain her leadership roles in National Institutes of Health-sponsored research networks including the HIV Prevention Trials Network, Microbicide Trials Network, and the Sexually Transmitted Infection Clinical Trials Network.

Megan Dunbar, Dr.PH, whose current research includes developing and evaluating interventions that address socioeconomic factors and HIV risk among adolescents in Zimbabwe and Tanzania and developing programs for young people in sub-Saharan Africa that combine care and prevention. Dunbar also serves as a prevention consultant for Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation.

Suneeta Krishnan, Ph.D., an epidemiologist who conducts community-based research on the links in India between gender and other social inequalities and reproductive and sexual health, including intimate partner violence. She is also an expert on ethical issues in biomedical research.

Alexandra Minnis, Ph.D., an epidemiologist whose research focuses on adolescent reproductive health, measuring adherence to contraception, and the association between migration and reproductive health in Mexico and the Mission District of San Francisco.

Freya Spielberg, M.D. whose research focuses on computer-assisted, rapid HIV testing, as well as in the development and evaluation of interactive computer counseling tools and community health worker educational tools, rapid testing diagnostics, and the implementation and evaluation of behavioral interventions.

Ariane van der Straten, Ph.D., whose current research includes designing studies to evaluate methods, such as the diaphragm and vaginal microbicides, for the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections with a particular focus on adherence.

These researchers will be based at RTI International's newly expanded regional office at 114 Sansome Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, California.

For more infromation on WGHI and staff bios, please visit www.rti.org/wghi.

*Although WGHI is no longer affiliated with UCSF, they look forward to continued and future collaborations as part of RTI International.

About RTI International RTI International is one of the world's leading research institutes, dedicated to improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice. With projects in more than 40 countries and a staff of more than 2,600, RTI offers innovative research and technical solutions to governments and businesses worldwide in the areas of health and pharmaceuticals, education and training, surveys and statistics, advanced technology, democratic governance, economic and social development, energy, and the environment. For more information, visit www.rti.org.

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