May 29, 2012

First JHU–Clinton Health Access Initiative fellows named

The Johns Hopkins University and the Clinton Health Access Initiative have joined forces to develop two fellowships for Johns Hopkins students to work in CHAI’s in-country programs.

CHAI is a global health organization committed to strengthening integrated health systems in the developing world and expanding access to care and treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Its solution-oriented approach focuses on improving market dynamics for medicines and diagnostics, lowering prices for treatment, accelerating access to lifesaving technologies and helping governments build the capacity required for high-quality care and treatment programs.

Established in 2002 by former President Bill Clinton as the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, CHAI was drawn to Johns Hopkins because of the strength of its School of Public Health and its undergraduate public health major, but the program is open to all JHU students.

The fellowship involves a three- to six-month placement at a CHAI site overseas. Students are supported by the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health travel grant program and also receive support from the CHAI site.

The first two fellows in the program are Lauren Brown and Emily Chien. Brown received a bachelor’s degree in public health, with a minor in economics, last week. Chien received a master’s degree in public health from the Bloomberg School and an MBA from the Carey Business School; she also holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular, cell and developmental biology from UCLA and worked at Deloitte Consulting as a business technology analyst and a consultant.

Both Chien and Brown will be working on the evaluation of implementation of point-of-care CD4 counting technology for HIV care programs. CD4 is the crucial diagnostic test to determine eligibility for antiretroviral therapy. Access to CD4 testing is key in guiding appropriate scale up of HIV treatment. The POC CD4 technology, which is smaller and significantly easier to use than traditional CD4 machines, will allow lower-level facilities to monitor CD4 without having to send blood samples to larger facilities. This new technology, if optimized, is expected to reduce mortality and significantly extend life for HIV-infected people.

Brown will be working in Lesotho in southern Africa, and Chien will be in Uganda in East Africa.