UZ-UCSF Collaborative Research Program

Investigator: Suellen Miller, PhD, CNM, MHA
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Location(s): Zimbabwe


UZ-UCSF Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) conducts clinical trials in HIV prevention and treatment that are carried out at 6 clinic research sites in Harare and Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. Every year for the past 10 years the CTU conducts a two day annual research conference in Harare to provide a high quality platform to promote its scientific agenda. The goal of this conference is dissemination of new research findings from completed and ongoing protocols, facilitating collaborations with other researchers, and stimulating new research questions in HIV prevention and treatment. The two day annual conference in Harare offers a unique opportunity to bring together distinguished researchers from both within and outside the CTU. Representatives of DAIDS, Community Advisory Board members, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare representatives, local stakeholders, and international investigators from collaborating institutions such as University of Zimbabwe, UCSF, Stanford University, and Wake Forest University attend the annual conference as key note speakers, presenters, session chairs, or guests. The Community Advisory Board (CAB), established in 2000 by the CTU, represents a cross section of local stakeholders e.g. health professions, disadvantaged groups, women, and adolescents, among others. Therefore inviting CAB members to the annual conference offers a unique opportunity for these various groups to take part in a large scientific meeting. Significant contributions in the global fight against HIV/AIDS are discussed and presenters are invited to make either oral or poster presentations during the annual conference. Proceedings of the conference are disseminated through the organization's website: Funds permitting, organizers of the conference intend to produce conference booklets to ensure the availability of proceedings to the scientific community as well as to other stakeholders that may not have access to the internet. The CTU Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Thulani Magwali, will work with Dr Suellen Miller to plan, direct and execute the conference. To assist him, the unit has created a conference organizing committee drawn from senior research members with the required expertise. There is also a subcommittee that reviews abstracts submitted for the annual conference that ensures that those abstracts selected for inclusion are of high quality. Members of the subcommittee reflect diversity in their areas of research and practice. Zimbabwe has experienced one of the largest HIV epidemics in the world and thus HIV prevention, treatment and study dissemination is of paramount importance in Zimbabwe. The estimated HIV prevalence was 20.1% in 2005 among the adult population age 15-49 years (1); the prevalence is now 13%. Therefore it is crucial to have a high quality local scientific meeting to disseminate research findings as well as discuss future promising research areas.