Global Health

Global Health Research

Factors that support health and health-delivery systems are complex and embedded in cultural, linguistic, social, economic, political, historical and environmental contexts that cross traditional academic disciplines. Interdisciplinary teams at IU School of Medicine are exploring complex health problems throughout the world in an effort to address them and improve population health.

With more than $40 million in research funding and over 50 active research protocols with international partners, IU School of Medicine has one of the strongest programs in Global Health Research in the United States. Sharing a vision to eliminate health disparities and improve the health of people in resource-limited settings, both in Indiana and around the world, these investigators generate evidence about what works in health care in order to influence policies that save lives.

IU Center for Global Health

The IU Center for Global Health, directed by Bob Einterz, MD, supports global health research that improve health in under-served communities and prepares the next generation of health leaders. Rachel Vreeman, MD, leads the Center’s global health research programs, including a robust research infrastructure built around IU School of Medicine’s signature alliance: AMPATH.

AMPATH Research Network

IU School of Medicine faculty co-direct the AMPATH Research Network, which includes more than 100 active studies and collaborators from 20 institutions in North America, Europe and East Africa. The AMPATH Research Network seeks to improve the health of the people in Kenya and other resource-limited settings through the identification, development and dissemination of information about health and health care systems. Since forming in 1998, the network has received nearly $112 million in cumulative direct research awards from the NIH, CDC, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, and others.

East Africa International Epidemiology Database to Evaluate AIDS

IU School of Medicine leads the East Africa International Epidemiology Database to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) consortium, one of seven regional data centers funded by the NIH to provide a rich resource for globally diverse HIV/AIDS data. Led by Dr. Kara Wools-Kaloustian (IU School of Medicine) in partnership with Dr. Constantin Yiannoutsos (Fairbanks Public Health), IeDEA offers expertise in merging, sharing and analyzing routine data collected within HIV care and treatment programs as well as in the design, conduct and analysis of implementation research.

IU School of Medicine Center for AIDS Research

Faculty working with the Center for AIDS Research at IU School of Medicine are increasing collaborative research throughout Indiana in all aspects of HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Since 2016, the Center for AIDS Research has supported a pilot grant program for junior investigators seeking academic careers in HIV/AIDS research. Four of the nine Center for AIDS Research awardees have received funding to conduct pilot research in Western Kenya in partnership with the Center’s AMPATH Research Programs.

Training in Sexually Transmitted Diseases including HIV

Led by Kara Wools-Kaloustian, MD, this multidisciplinary training program, funded by the National Institute of Health, trains MD and PhD scientists for projective and sustainable careers in research related to sexually transmitted infections and other infections of global health significance. This grant also ensures that research fellows receive training in the practices, procedures and languages of collaboration necessary for creating and working in a productive team (team science). Graduates are expected to assume positions in academic institutions, government or industry related to addressing infectious diseases of global health significance.

Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research

IU School of Medicine faculty, in collaboration with Moi University faculty, have contributed significantly to the Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research, which is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development to conduct clinical studies in low-resource countries to improve health and well-being of mothers and children. Dr. Edward Liechty, Professor of Pediatrics (IU School of Medicine), is principal investigator of the Kenyan research site with Fabian Esamai (Moi University). Their clinical trial site for maternal child health research includes 16 geographical clusters in rural Western Kenya and has contributed 33,000 subjects to the Maternal Neonatal Health Registry database.

Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Disease and Global Health

This IU School of Medicine research unit is a national leader in global pediatric infectious disease research. Led by Chandy John, MD, a cadre of IU School of Medicine investigators are helping to solve infectious disease problems created by malaria and HIV. Malaria research focuses on parasite and host factors that lead severe malaria in children, complications of severe malaria, and effects of changing transmission on malaria immunity. HIV research focuses on adherence to HIV medications, stigma in HIV, evaluation and treatment of HIV in adolescents, and neurodevelopmental impairment in infants exposed to HIV.

HEARD Partnership

IU School of Medicine has joined the University Research Council’s Health Evaluation and Applied Research Development (HEARD) Partnership, which promotes research opportunities related to USAID health and development goals. The IU Center for Global Health is a technical resource partner for HEARD, providing regional expertise in East Africa. Dr. Vreeman sits on the global steering committee to establish a global Implementation Science Collaborative.

Expert Focus on Global Pediatric Diseases

Global Pediatric Disease research is a key strength of IU School of Medicine faculty. Research focuses on malaria and HIV, infections that are among the leading causes of death and disability in children worldwide. Malaria and HIV also affect children in Indiana, as children require protection from malaria when they travel to countries with malaria and are still at risk for HIV infection, particularly in the perinatal/neonatal period and in adolescence.

Malaria research at IU School of Medicine focuses on why children get severe malaria, what causes long-term developmental impairment in children with severe malaria, whether prevention of malaria and other infections can be improved in children with sickle cell disease, how malaria transmission affects immunity to malaria, and detection of malaria in low transmission settings.

IU School of Medicine faculty investigators focused on HIV research are studying how to make sure children, particularly adolescents, take the medication they need for HIV, and how and when parents can best disclose to their HIV-infected children that they have HIV. Studies focused on HIV are also exploring stigma in HIV and neurodevelopmental impairment in infants exposed to HIV as well as the evaluation and treatment of HIV in adolescents.

Other diseases that are part of the IU School of Medicine’s active global health research work include cancer and oncology, infant mortality, cognitive child development, tuberculosis, HPV, surgery, burns, palliative care, reproductive health, GI, cardiovascular, metabolic disease, substance abuse, and mental health.