Expert: Carlos Del Rio
Carlos del Rio, MD, has a soft spot for heroes. In junior high, he admired scientists like Louis Pasteur, who developed vaccines to combat infectious disease. During his medical residency at Emory in the early 1980s, del Rio idolized physician Sumner Thompson, who fought to open a clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital to serve the growing number of Georgians with HIV.
Since his days as a physician in training, del Rio has worked to reduce the spread of HIV on multiple fronts—leading the National AIDS Program in his native Mexico, caring for patients at Grady, directing the NIH-sponsored HIV Prevention Trials Network at Emory, advising U.S. agencies on HIV prevention and care, and growing global capacity for HIV research. Del Rio, Rollins Professor and chair of the Hubert Department of Global Health, also co-directs the Emory Center for AIDS Research and leads the Emory AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP).
Through AITRP, young investigators from Georgia, Mexico, Rwanda, Vietnam, and Zambia are trained in public health and in basic, clinical, and behavioral and social sciences. The program is supported by the NIH’s Fogarty International Center to advance health through scientific cooperation worldwide. Specifically, the grant allows promising young investigators to study at Emory or at partner institutions abroad to strengthen HIV/AIDS research in their respective countries. More than 220 trainees have benefitted from the Emory AITRP since 1998.
“Approximately 97% of people with HIV live in low- and middle-income countries,” says del Rio. “One key thing Emory can do is train the next generation of researchers and leaders in some of those countries. AITRP builds human capital and scientific capacity to stop the transmission of HIV.”
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