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Former MHRP Leader Selected as Next U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
The White House has nominated Dr. Deborah Birx to be the new U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator succeeding Dr. Eric Goosby who left the position in November. Reporting to the Secretary of State, Dr. Birx will coordinate and oversee the U.S. global response to HIV/AIDS, specifically the programs of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Prior to this nomination, Dr. Birx served as the director of CDC's Global AIDS Program, overseeing the implementation of PEPFAR at that agency. Dr. Birx, trained as an allergist and immunologist and an Army officer, began working at WRAIR in the late 1980s and went on to lead MHRP from 1996 to 2005.
“In 2003, Dr. Birx had the foresight to see how the HIV prevention, care and treatment initiatives funded by PEPFAR could synergize with MHRP’s research programs in Africa,” said MHRP Director COL Michael. “She pursued funding through PEPFAR for our research sites, where we already had infrastructure and trained African researchers and health care workers in place. As a result, we were one of the first programs—and continue to this day—to provide efficient, top-quality care and treatment that saves lives and strengthens communities in Africa.”
The integration with research sites has created vibrant synergy that enhances clinical research and improves the public health infrastructure in Africa. In addition, the PEPFAR-funded services provide an ethical, non-coercive environment to conduct clinical research. As a result, MHRP has built strong and trusting relationships with the communities in which research is conducted, and has developed sustainable local healthcare capacity for HIV and other medical programs.
"Dr. Birx has always focused on improving the capacity and livelihood of individuals and communities as they battle HIV," said Dr. Tiffany E. Hamm, MHRP's Director of Global Health Programs. "She has been one of the clear leaders since the program was first announced by President Bush and her dedication has never wavered."
MHRP implements PEPFAR-funded programs at its research sites in Africa and with military communities in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria under the Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP).