University of Minnesota School of Public Health Professor Dr. Alan Lifson was recently honored by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) with its 2016 Partnership Award. NASTAD gave Dr. Lifson the award for his hands-on work helping people living with HIV in Ethiopian communities and beyond.
[Photo: Dr. Alan Lifson (center) and colleagues conducting support worker training in Ethiopia]
“I find the greatest satisfaction when I am in the field and ‘on the ground’ in the community,” said Dr. Lifson. “For me, that is where public health truly happens.”
Since 2008, Dr. Lifson has collaborated with NASTAD on a variety of HIV-related studies, including research on the barriers to HIV care and treatment in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Lifson and NASTAD are currently conducting a 32-site study evaluating a community support worker intervention to improve the health status of HIV patients in rural Ethiopia.
Dr. Lifson’s work in HIV dates back to the emergence of the disease. “I have been involved with HIV/AIDS since 1980, when I saw some of the first cases as a medical intern in San Francisco,” said Dr. Lifson.
Since then, Dr. Lifson has focused much of his HIV research on disadvantaged or marginalized populations recruited from community-based settings, including gay and bisexual men, injection drug users, and rural Africans. Dr. Lifson has also taught and consulted on HIV topics and conducted related research across Asia, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and South America.