Letter from the Directors

2017 Reflections, 2018 Expectations

What a year! 2017 was the most ambitious 365 days we’ve had to date. Our collaborative India-JHU research enterprise led by Dr. Amita Gupta is certainly our largest area of focus. It currently employs 180 people who in 2017 designed and implemented 90 studies on HIV, tuberculosis, and antimicrobial resistance across four clinical sites in India. We are particularly excited to be researching a new tuberculosis vaccine candidate. Findings were published on our longstanding work on HIV in Uganda in which a prevention strategy was developed that reduces new infections by 42%. Emocha, the mobile health platform developed by CCGHE researchers, received national recognition as a remote patient engagement and management platform—particularly for its role in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Researchers on the miLAB handheld diagnostic team led by Dr. Bob Bollinger presented a processing technique for lens-free imaging that shows great promise for being able to count and detect blood cells using mobile technology. This has potential for enormous impact on the world’s most common test, the complete blood count (CBC).

And what a year. In the midst of progress, we watched as health—at the global, national, and patient levels—was downgraded on the list of national priorities. The NIH’s Fogarty International Center came under fire, but through advocacy and evidence of impact, our group along with many others successfully made the case to preserve a program that’s integral to domestic and global health. We are anxious about what measures like this portend. Clinical research and training is federally supported because it is a core component of the public welfare; research yields changes in patient care, and improved patient outcomes elevate the health of society. In an era of stagnant and diminishing federal resources, we are profoundly grateful for philanthropy and support from donors who put their trust in us to continue to make a difference.

We were able to balance the highs and lows of 2017 by keeping keenly focused on our mission and the people it serves. 2018 will be no different. We are working on a number of really exciting areas we expect will yield more effective options for infectious disease prevention, treatment, and management. We wish all our friends and colleagues a happy and hopeful new year.