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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Pitt Center Awarded $23 Million to Improve the Health of People Living with HIV/AIDS

PITTSBURGH, June 29, 2010 – A $23 million grant to the University of Pittsburgh will support the training and education of health professionals who care for the thousands of people infected annually with HIV in the United States. The five-year award from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s HIV/AIDS Bureau, through the Ryan White Comprehensive Care Act, supports the continuing work of the Pennsylvania/MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC), headquartered at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) since 1988.

Led by principal investigator Linda Frank, Ph.D. M.S.N., associate professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at GSPH, the Pennsylvania/MidAtlantic AETC provides HIV/AIDS-related training to health professionals in Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. The center’s purpose is to reduce barriers to HIV care by improving knowledge and skills through education, consultation and technical assistance.

“HIV/AIDS remains one of the most significant public health issues of our time,” said Dr. Frank. “It is extremely challenging and rewarding to participate in improving access to quality HIV/AIDS care by assisting individual clinicians, agencies and programs throughout our region. Given the health disparities that exist within our care system, continued stigma associated with this disease and the need for more timely HIV testing and treatment intervention, I am pleased that this funding will allow us to continue this important work.”

Training focuses on clinical treatment, prevention and support for people with HIV and emphasizes the medically underserved, including women, men who have sex with men, minorities, prisoners, youth and substance users. Training is based on a continuous assessment of needs and is implemented through on-site, web-based and other distance-based training technologies. Topics covered include anti-retroviral treatment, drug resistance, comorbidities associated with hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, substance use, and the increasing impact of HIV on minority and vulnerable populations. A primary goal of the center is to increase the number of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and other health professionals who can competently provide care to HIV-infected patients.

The Pitt center is one of 11 AETC programs established around the country, representing a network of clinician educators and trainers with expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with HIV/AIDS and its related health conditions.

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), founded in 1948 and now one of the top-ranked schools of public health in the United States, conducts research on public health and medical care that improves the lives of millions of people around the world. GSPH is a leader in devising new methods to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases, HIV/AIDS, cancer and other important public health problems. For more information about GSPH, visit the school’s Web site at http://www.publichealth.pitt.edu.  

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