Team of Georgetown Researchers, Led by J.C. Smart, PhD, and Seble Kassaye, MD, MS, Awarded CDC Grant to Improve National HIV Surveillance

Smart Kassaye Picture
May 16, 2018
A team of Georgetown researchers led by J.C. Smart , PhD, (PI) and Seble Kassaye, MD, MS (Co-PI) along with their colleague Joanne Michelle Ocampo, MS, has been awarded a $2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Dr. Kassaye is a DC CFAR investigator and serves as the PI for the Women's Interagency HIV Study. The purpose of this grant is to provide a secure, high-assurance, privacy protection, data-sharing tool for use by public health agencies and departments across the United States. This tool will aim to improve upon the National HIV Surveillance System, which monitors the changes in the HIV epidemic across the country. It will improve monitoring by quickly resolving duplicates in the Enhanced HIV/AIDS Reporting System (eHARS) so that HIV cases can be properly counted.
 
From the GU press release: The grant, administered over a five-year period, will help the researchers further develop their socio-technical approach that provides significant privacy protections by using a specially engineered system that avoids permanent storage of parties' data. It allows no user access while processing data, and only analyzes data while it is carefully isolated in computer memory - a substantial departure from traditional approaches to data sharing and analysis.  "Implementing this technology in the public health sphere will allow agencies and departments to have updated, comprehensive and accurate information regarding progress toward our national HIV treatment goals to achieve high levels of viral suppression," Dr. Kassaye adds. "This is both for the benefit of the individual as well as to mitigate ongoing transmission of HIV."
 
Click here for more information on this project.