NIH/NIAID Award Funds UCLA-CDU CFAR
CDU has been awarded funding in the amount of $2.2 million over 5 years to support the UCLA-CDU Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Community Engagement and Clinical Informatics Core (CECIC). CECIC aims to accelerate positive outcomes for vulnerable populations within Los Angeles County and diasporic communities across Africa and Latin America.
CECIC will engage academic partners, community partners, LA County clinics, and global partners in a multidirectional and collaborative effort to imagine and implement new ways to decrease the incidence of HIV, improve treatment outcomes of people living with HIV/AIDS, and ensure ART-free remission in communities of color disproportionately impacted by HIV. An alternative to a classic cure, ART-free remissions do not involve eradicating the HIV reservoir, but rather allowing a person living with HIV to keep latent virus suppressed without daily medication.
“The mission of the UCLA-CDU CFAR is to STOP HIV in Los Angeles County and beyond,” said Dr. LaShonda Spencer, one of the multiple Principal Investigators (MPI) and Director for CDU’s Drew CARES. “CDU will leverage its expertise in community participatory research and community involvement along with its expertise in HIV care/prevention and research in biobehavioral factors related to HIV.”
The heart of the CECIC is CDU’s Community Faculty, a unique program in which community leaders who have impacted the health outcomes of their communities receive a faculty appointment at CDU. They act as intermediaries between academic researchers and community members.
CECIC will be housed here at CDU. It will provide technical assistance, support, and training in research development, implementation and community engagement to both academics and community providers who are interested in HIV research, and to develop the infrastructure for conducting clinical-informatics-supported research that informs evidence-based practice to address HIV disparities by providing clinical data extraction and retrieval, as well as data management training and support to community HIV providers.
“The Community Advisory Board will also be housed here,” said Dr. Spencer. “An important goal is to increase the number of under-represented minority researchers in Los Angeles in order to impact the high rates of HIV that affect communities of color.”