New $4M grant to study IT's effect on tracking HIV/AIDS in Africa

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A consortium led by Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in the Bronx, N.Y., has received a $4 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, to spearhead the Central Africa International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (CA-IeDEA).

CA-IeDEA researchers will work directly with the governments of Burundi and Cameroon, as well as with non-governmental organizations in Rwanda, to collect and analyze the data of nearly 40,000 patients on advanced antiretroviral therapy (ART).

The International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) is a research consortium established in 2005 to address the evolving questions in global HIV/AIDS research through regional and intra-regional observational data. Kathryn Anastos, MD, co-director of Einstein's Global Health Center and co-principal investigator of the grant, and her team will be among the global team analyzing and publishing the data produced.

CA-IeDEA will create a database that will enable researchers to examine the real-world practice and results of ART—including its impact on reducing cancer and interactions of HIV with other major, deadly diseases that afflict the region, such as malaria.

Donald Hoover, PhD, of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., is co-principal investigator of the grant and will lead and monitor activities pertaining to data development and analysis. Dominic Duggan, PhD, of Stevens Institute of Technology, is designing the IT component.

In clinics around Central Africa, the team will deploy and extend OpenMRS, an open-source EMR that is the focus of an open-source community.

Anastos will be responsible for the overall administration and leadership of CA-IeDEA, including developing the research team within each country, building capacity and stimulating epidemiologic brainstorming. As a professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health at Einstein, she will continue to oversee and lead a range of HIV/AIDS research projects in Rwanda and the Bronx.