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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Drexel: Researcher Receives NIH Grant to Investigate Approach to HIV Surveillance Data

Dr. Neal D. Goldstein, an assistant research professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, has received a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to take a unique approach to improving human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) surveillance. The goal is to help policymakers address the challenge of properly identifying people in need of services.

When deploying public health resources for HIV surveillance in an urban environment, health departments need accurate information for identifying at-risk groups. For those HIV positive yet unaware, public health frequently needs to engage hard to reach populations.

For those HIV positive and aware, connection to appropriate care is needed to treat and prevent future transmission. Public health departments therefore rely upon epidemiology to inform their surveillance activities.

“The goal of our work is to improve HIV surveillance epidemiology in several complementary ways,”says Dr. Goldstein of the $607, 215, five-year grant. “First, we will define the optimal placement of HIV screening locations in Philadelphia. Next, we aim to understand how the concept of a ‘neighborhood’ impacts health department surveillance activities. Last, we will develop predictive mathematical models to inform future epidemiological needs. Our work is unique as we are bringing multiple disciplines – epidemiology, health geography, spatial statistics, and programmatic and policy evaluation – together to help connect vulnerable and potentially stigmatized groups with public health services. We hope our work will help reduce the number of new cases of HIV and connect more individuals to treatment, particularly among groups that have historically been marginalized,” says Dr. Goldstein.

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