• Clinical Assistant Professor, Global Health
Sarah Benki Nugent

Harborview Medical Center
325 9th Ave.
Box 359931
Seattle, WA 98104
United States

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Dr. Benki-Nugent received her PhD (Microbiology) and MS (Epidemiology) from the University of Washington. Her research focuses on impact of infectious pathogens, particularly HIV, and environmental neurotoxicants on healthy child neurodevelopment. Best practices for optimizing the long-term neurodevelopmental trajectory and psychosocial well-being of HIV-infected children and other groups of children impacted by exposure to environmental threats remain undefined. In addition, the population of HIV-exposed uninfected children is expanding, and the question of whether their neurodevelopmental trajectory is compromised by HIV exposure or antiretroviral exposure in utero remains controversial. The burden and impact of environmental neurotoxicants on maternal child health in sub-Saharan Africa is understudied, despite high burden of neurotoxic metals and air pollution in this region. Dr. Benki-Nugent’s ongoing studies will determine early life burden and impact of air pollution on child neurodevelopment in Kenya. She is also involved studies on neurodevelopmental outcomes in HIV-exposed uninfected children and HIV-unexposed uninfected children with in utero exposure to PrEP.

Country Affiliations 
  • Spanish
Health Topics 
  • Environmental Health (incl. Climate Change)
  • Neurology

HIV pediatrics


1. Benki-Nugent S, Martopullo I, Laboso T, Tamasha N, Wamalwa D, Tapia K, Langat A, Maleche-Obimbo E, Marra C, Bangirana P, Boivin MJ, John-Stewart G. High plasma soluble CD163 during infancy is a marker for early and long-term neurocognitive outcomes in early treated HIV-infected children. JAIDS. 1;81(1):102-109.

2. Suter MK, Karr CJ, John-Stewart GC, Goméz L 3, Moraa M, Nyatika D, Wamalwa D, Paulsen M, Simpson C, Ghodsian N, Boivin MJ, Bangirana P, Benki-Nugent S. Implications of combined exposure to household air pollution and HIV on neurocognition in children. . Int. J Environmental Res and Public Health. 2018 Jan 20;15(1). pii: E163.

3. Gomez L, Crowell C, Njuguna I, Cranmer L, Wamalwa D, Chebet D, Otieno V, Maleche-Obimbo E, Gladstone M, John-Stewart G, Benki-Nugent S. Better growth at entry to ART is associated with higher neurodevelopmental function at ART and improved post-ART recovery of function in Kenyan children. Ped Inf Dis J. 2018 Feb 12. doi: 10.1097.

4. Benki-Nugent S, Wamalwa D, Langat A, Tapia K, Adhiambo J, Chebet D, Okinyi HM, John-Stewart G. Comparison of developmental milestone attainment in early treated HIV-infected infants versus HIV-unexposed infants: a prospective cohort study. BMC Pediatr. 2017 Jan 17;17(1):24. doi: 10.1186/s12887-017-0776-1.

5. Benki-Nugent S, Eshelman, C, Wamalwa D, Langat A, Tapia K, Okinyi HM, John-Stewart, GC. Correlates of age at attainment of developmental milestones in HIV-infected infants receiving early antiretroviral therapy. Ped Inf Dis J. 2015 34(1):55-61.