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Focus: Neurology and Mental Health in People Living with HIV

Affiliation: Research Care and Training Programme (RCTP) - KEMRI


Site and Background:

Kenya (Kisumu): This site will provide training opportunities in Neurology and Mental Health in people living with HIV. The training site will be based at the Research Care and Training Programme (RCTP), Centre for Microbiology Research CMR) of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). KEMRI is a state corporation established in 1979 as the national body responsible for carrying out health research in Kenya under the Ministry of Health. KEMRI has become a regional leader in human health research, and ranks as one of the leading centres of excellence in health research both in Africa as well as globally.

The Research, Care Training Programme:

The RCTP has an administrative office in Nairobi and conducts research in Nyanza region. RCTP has three complementary arms namely: research, care and training. Under the care arm, RCTP run a U.S. Presidential Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)/CDC funded program known as the Family AIDS Care and Education Services (FACES). FACES works collaboratively with the Kenya Ministry of Health and other local partners to support and strengthen local capacity for quality HIV prevention, care, and treatment services in Nyanza province and Nairobi. FACES works to provide family-centered, comprehensive, compassionate care, and build the foundation for long-term, sustainable treatment. Under the training arm, RCTP sponsor and provide mentorship to doctorate, post graduate courses in partnership with various universities, mainly: University of Nairobi: Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology; University of California, San Francisco; and University of Washington.

RCTP has a vibrant history of training fellows, post-graduates, and medical. RCTP has served as a site for the GloCal Health Fellowship (University of California Global Health Institute) and hosted 12 fellows between 2012-2016, including Dr. Linnet Ongeri who will serve as faculty as part of this new collaboration. This collaboration focused on neurology and mental health will complement and synergize with the ongoing relationship between GloCal and RCTP which has historically focused on infectious disease and reproductive health.

Dr. Meyer began her work in Kenya in 2009 as a Fogarty Fellow supported by the Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellowship (Vanderbilt University) and has conducted NIH-funded research at RCTP for the last seven years. She has mentored Kenyan and American fellows (Dr. Judith Kwasa, Dr. Kristyn Feldman), Master’s degree candidates (Dr. Stella Njuguna, Caroline Kendi, and Dr. Laura Saucier) as well as Medical Students (Dr. Deanna Cettomai Saylor). Dr. Kwasa is now a lecturer at University of Nairobi, Dr. Njuguna a Research Officer at KEMRI and was a GloCal Fogarty Fellow, Dr. Saylor is an Instructor in Neurology at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Saucier is a resident in Pediatric Neurology at Stanford, and Dr. Feldman and Ms. Kendi are consultants. Nearly all have first-authored publications from their mentored research, and the remainder are working on manuscripts currently. Dr. Meyer’s ongoing projects include a NIH funded collaboration with Dr. Susan Meffert exploring the effect of Interpersonal Psychotherapy [IPT] on depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and cognition among HIV-infected women exposed to gender based violence at FACES.