Two Department of Global Health faculty have been selected to lead the University of Washington/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Professor Connie Celum and associate professor Ruanne Barnabas have been announced as the next Director and Co-Director, respectively.

Both appointments are active as of April 1, 2021.

Under the leadership of Barnabas and Celum, CFAR will further its mission to advance the treatment, detection, and prevention of HIV and AIDS, including addressing the role inequity plays in patient outcomes. 

“Our priority is to serve scientists at all stages of their career by supporting opportunities to learn, collaborate, and conduct high quality science – all with the ultimate goal of ensuring healthy lives for people living with HIV and preventing new HIV infections – here in the US and globally,” said Barnabas. “Anti-racist practices are fundamental in how we do our work, recognizing that racism underlies health disparities particularly for HIV.”

Both Dr. Celum and Dr. Barnabas bring internationally respected expertise and experience in HIV research. Dr. Celum has been a leader in multiple areas of HIV prevention research, prominently oral pre-exposure prophylaxis, longer-acting antiretroviral and broadly neutralizing antibodies for prevention, and prevention and treatment of sexually-transmitted infections. She has led or co-led landmark multi-center HIV prevention efficacy trials, including genital herpes suppression for prevention of HIV acquisition as well as HIV transmission and the Partners PrEP Study, which demonstrated high efficacy of tenofovir and emtricitabine-tenofovir prophylaxis, and which contributed to regulatory approval of PrEP for HIV prevention.

Dr. Barnabas is a South African Physician-Epidemiologist whose research focuses on interventions for HIV and STI treatment and prevention, and, more recently on COVID-19 prevention. She is particularly interested in novel approaches that increase access to services and has led clinical trials with companion health economic modeling to assess the potential impact of interventions as, for example, in the Delivery Optimization for Antiretroviral (DO ART) Study, which evaluates the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of decentralized, community-based ART initiation compared to clinic-based care.

Drs. Celum and Barnabas will join the CFAR Leadership Team, which consists of the current Associate Directors, Corey CasperGrace John-StewartJulie McElrathSusan Mello, and Director Emeritus King Holmes. Dr. Celum replaces Dr. Grace John-Stewart, who has served as Interim CFAR Director since last November.

By Amy Frances Goldstein