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Yale-UPR Integrated HIV Basic and Clinical Sciences Initiative

Since the first diagnosis in the United States in the early 1980s, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has gone on to become a global pandemic with over 35 million people around the world now living with the infection, including more than 1 million people in the US.

The Yale-University of Puerto Rico collaboration is rooted in the strong ties between New Haven, Connecticut and Puerto Rico. Yale University is located in New Haven, CT, where 30 percent of the 2017 population is Latinx/Hispanic vs. 15 percent in Connecticut as a whole (disproportionately of Puerto Rican heritage). In fact, CT has the highest percent Puerto Rican population of any US state. The New Haven Black, Non-Hispanic population represents 32 percent vs. 10 percent in the rest of CT. As other CT cities, New Haven experiences extreme economic disparities. PR has a population that is 99 percent Hispanic/Latinx, 12.4 percent of whom self-identify as Black, but 60 percent of whom have significant African genetic ancestry. Experts estimate that economic conditions of PR are even worse due to Hurricanes Irma and María that hit the island in September 2017. As such, CT cities and PR face similar economic disparities.

This collaboration between Yale and UPR allows us to be deeply engaged in research, training and service in response to HIV and related conditions such as addiction, HCV and tuberculosis and to complement the work of the NIMH-funded Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale that focusses on behavioral and mental health that affect implementation of HIV prevention, treatment and disparities worldwide.


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  • Co-director

    Ann Kurth, PhD, CNM, MPH, FAAN is Dean and Linda Koch Lorimer Professor, Yale University School of Nursing, and Professor of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Kurth is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Medicine, and of the American Academy of Nursing; and is a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering. She served on the US Preventive Services Task Force which sets screening and prevention guidelines for the nation. An epidemiologist and clinically-trained nurse-midwife, Dean Kurth’s research focuses on HIV/reproductive health and global health system strengthening. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIAID, NIDA, NIMH, NICHD), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNAIDS, CDC, HRSA, and others, for studies conducted in the United States and internationally. She chairs the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH), the 190+-university member academic global health association. Dr. Kurth has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and scholarly monographs. She has received awards for her science and leadership including Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research Award and Sigma Theta Tau International Researcher Hall of Fame award. She chairs the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Board on Global Health, and is a member of the NAM Climate and Health Initiative.
  • Director

    Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health

    Dr. Sten Vermund is a pediatrician and infectious disease epidemiologist focused on diseases of low and middle income countries. His work on HIV-HPV interactions among women in Bronx methadone programs motivated a change in the 1993 CDC AIDS case surveillance definition and inspired cervical cancer screening programs launched within HIV/AIDS programs around the world. The thrust of his research has focused on health care access, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, and prevention of  HIV transmission among general and key populations, including mother-to-child.  Dr. Vermund has become increasingly engaged in health policy, particularly around sustainability of HIV/AIDS programs and their expansion to non-communicable diseases, coronavirus pandemic response and prevention, and public health workforce development. His recent grants include capacity-building for public health in Chad, molecular epidemiology for HIV in Kazakhstan, and COVID-19 vaccine studies in Dominican Republic and Connecticut. He has worked with schools and arts organizations for COVID-19 risk mitigation and institutional safety.
  • Administrative Director

    She is an associate professor in health education at the University of Puerto Rico School of Public Health and Nova Southeastern University College of Pharmacy. She received a BA from Mount Holyoke College, and MA and EdD from Harvard University. She directs the Puerto Rico Mentoring Institute for HIV and Mental Health Research which supports junior researchers. She has published about public health education, mentoring, research capacity building, and sociobehavioral aspects of drug use.She is mainly involved in three areas of scholarship:• HIV/Health Disparities Research Development and Mentoring• Sociobehavioral Aspects of Pharmacy• History of the Health Sciences