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Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO)

The HAITIAN GROUP FOR THE STUDY OF KAPOSI’S SARCOMA AND OPPORTUNISTIC INFECTIONS (GHESKIO) is a Haitian non-governmental organization dedicated to providing clinical service, research, and training in HIV, TB, and other communicable diseases. GHESKIO has collaborated with Cornell University since 1982 and with Vanderbilt University since 1992. GHESKIO is a prime example of the mutual benefits derived from sustained training that is focused in Haiti but continues to draw heavily from the expertise available through U.S. collaborators. The GHESKIO-Cornell-Vanderbilt research and training collaboration has received 28 years of uninterrupted NIH support including an NIH MERIT award in 1992 (1990-2002; PI Johnson).

GHESKIO, Cornell, and Vanderbilt are genuine partners in multiple ongoing NIH research and training programs in Haiti and the Caribbean, including: 1) an NIAID-funded Clinical Trials Unit at GHESKIO, with involvement in the HVTN and the ACTG; 2) a Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP); 3) the NIAID-funded Caribbean, Central America, South America network for improving data management (CCASAnet); 4) the NCI-funded Natural History and Pathogenesis of HPV/HIV infection in Haiti and 5) the NIH-funded International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH).

GHESKIO hosts undergraduate, graduate, and medical students and postdoctoral fellows from North America and Europe for research training. Students are assigned a Haitian mentor and perform behavioral, clinical, public health, or laboratory-based research. Past trainees have published research articles in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, The American Journal of Public Health, and Clinical Infectious Diseases and presented their research at international conferences.

GHESKIO also recruits talented young Haitian investigators for long-term training in Haiti and abroad. Trainees focus on the priority research areas necessary for developing and expanding HIV care and prevention services: HIV vaccines, pediatric and adult antiretroviral therapy, health outcomes of HIV care and prevention, pediatrics and the prevention of mother to child transmission, tuberculosis and other HIV-associated opportunistic infections, ethics, and HIV pathogenesis, immunology, and virology. About 95% of these trainees remain in Haiti, and many stay at GHESKIO to continue their work.