Institute of Human Virology Awarded $138M to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa & Launches Center for International Health, Education, & Biosecurity

The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine announced today more than $138 million in multiple five-year grants awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat HIV/AIDS in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Nigeria. The Institute concurrently announced the formation of the IHV Center for International Health, Education, & Biosecurity (CIHEB), and its newly appointed director, Deus Bazira Mubangizi, DrPH, MBA, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director, Center for Health, Education, & Biosecurity, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine. The Center, in addition to the significant new funding, is the culmination of more than a decade of designing and implementing successful global health programs through unparalleled leadership and a talented team who dedicate their lives to ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

"Since 2004, the IHV has been awarded close to an astonishing $926 million from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program initiated by President George W. Bush and continued by President Barack Obama," said Robert C. Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-founder, Director, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, who is most widely known for his co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS, and for the development of the HIV blood test. Dr. Gallo is also Co-founder and Scientific Director of the Global Virus Network (GVN).

"It goes without saying that the establishment of our Center for International Health, Education, & Biosecurity is long overdue," said Dr. Gallo. "Dr. Mubangizi has led much of our recent PEPFAR program success, and I have no doubt he will continue to build upon the Institute's expertise and extend our reach in other regions of the world to end HIV/AIDS and related illnesses. I am proud of our faculty and staff who are committed to helping developing nations prevent and address infectious diseases, and build infrastructures that better protect humanity from biosecurity threats."

"Our global program's success is attributed to the bold vision of my colleagues and IHV co-founders, Dr. Robert Redfield and Dr. William Blattner, who is now retired," said Dr. Gallo. "They have led teams who dreamt big, achieved immense success including caring for well over one million individuals overseas, and pioneered programs that now serve as public health models worldwide. I congratulate both on the launch of this new and already prominent Center."

"Building a team at the IHV which will continue to make a significant impact on global health through this new Center is a great source of personal pride for me and all of my colleagues involved," said Robert Redfield, MD, Professor of Medicine, Co-founder, Associate Director, Director, Division of Clinical Care and Research, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Seeing Dr. Mubangizi take the reins of our varying global programs ensures that the strong foundation that we laid since 2004 is just the beginning of the IHV's impact on international health, education, and biosecurity."

Dr. Mubangizi's research interests include diffusion of health innovations, interdependence between public-private health partnerships, private health insurance, health financing under decentralized systems, pharmaceutical regulation, hospital governance and efficient models for delivery of primary care services in resource-limited settings. His experience comprises ten countries from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

In his role as the Institute's CIHEB Director, Dr. Mubangizi will facilitate unique partnerships between academia, foreign governments, and community organizations to help developing nations learn how to diagnose, treat, and prevent their own AIDS and related epidemics.

"I look forward to building upon the work done over the past twelve years within the IHV's Division of Clinical Care and Research and Division of Epidemiology and Prevention to strengthen public health infrastructures overseas through strategic international, national, and local collaborations," said Dr. Mubangizi. "Through the design and implementation of our combined evidence-driven unique education, training, and treatment service delivery programs, we will better address each country's complex HIV/AIDS and other public health epidemics with an integrated approach that will extend into overall infectious disease protection."

Dr. Mubangizi continued, "The next era of our work will be built on a foundation of strong scientific evidence, leveraging technology in all its forms to improve efficiency and undertake key implementation science research that will ensure effectiveness of interventions across the three pillars of health, education and biosecurity. Most importantly everything we do will start with the end in mind - promoting solutions that are home grown and sustainable. Further, I hope to seek opportunities that will foster collaboration between the Institute and other departments and Schools at the University of Maryland, Baltimore with similar interests."

Over the past twelve years, the IHV has partnered with the governments of Botswana, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia to coordinate a global response to the AIDS pandemic.

CIHEB's new $138 million in PEPFAR funding will build upon the IHV's existing programs, including $97.5 million awarded to the IHV in the previous 18 months to combat infectious disease in Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia. Click here for a list of the projects comprising the new $138 million in grant funding.

Source: Eastern Standard Time