Our Team

Principal Investigators

 

 

Investigators 

Dr. Elizabeth Bukusi is the site-Principal Investigator for the adult study. She is a Chief Research Officer at the KEMRI, a Research Professor in the University of Washington, an honorary lecturer at Aga Khan University in Nairobi, and Volunteer faculty at the UCSF. Her research focuses on sexually transmitted infections, reproductive health, and HIV prevention, care, and treatment. She has a keen interest in research and clinical ethics, and regulatory systems. 

Dr. Lisa Butler is the Principal Investigator of the pediatric study and an investigator on the adult study. She is an Associate Research Professor at the University of Connecticut.  Her research focuses on the development of appropriate and scalable clinic- and community-based interventions, targeting HIV-affected families to improve health care utilization, caregiving behaviors, and maternal, infant and child physical, mental and nutritional health outcomes.

Dr. Craig Cohen is the co-Principal Investigator of the adult study and an investigator on the pediatric study. He is a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences. He conducts clinical and implementation research in HIV/AIDS and reproductive health, including the integration of livelihood and multisectoral interventions to improve health outcomes. In 1994, Drs. Cohen and Bukusi established the Research Care and Treatment Program.

Dr. Phelgona Otieno is the site-Principal Investigator for the pediatric study and the water insecurity study. She is a pediatrician and epidemiologist with long-standing experience in conducting HIV research, managing child health programs, and mentoring health professionals. She  serves as a principal research officer at Kenya Medical Research Institute.  Her professional interest are community interventions for health promotion and alleviation of risks to children.

Dr. Sheri Weiser is the co-Principal Investigator of the adult Shamba Maisha study and an investigator on the pediatric study.  She is an internist and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Division of HIV, ID and Global Medicine at UCSF.  Her research focuses on the impact of food insecurity and other structural factors on HIV prevention and treatment outcomes both domestically and in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Dr. Sera Young is the Shamba Maisha PI for water insecurity study. Dr. Young’s work focuses on the reduction maternal and child undernutrition in low-resource settings, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Methodologically, she draws on her training in medical anthropology, international nutrition, and HIV infection to take a biocultural approach to understanding how mothers cope to preserve their health and that of their families.

 

Dr. Shari Dworkin is an investigator for adult study. She is Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the UCSF School of Nursing.  Her research is focused on economic empowerment (microfinance, land, and property rights) in HIV and violence prevention. She carries out research on gender-transformative health programming with men .

Dr. Edward Frongillo is an investigator for the adult and pediatric study. He is a statistician and a nutritionist, and professor at the University of South Carolina. He studies household food insecurity and hunger; policies and programs for improving nutrition and development; and advancement of consensus, commitment, and capacity for nutrition and health in resource-poor locations. He is a global and national leader in research on food insecurity and hunger. 

Dr. Penny Holding is both a researcher and applied psychologist, working on the strengthening of systems of delivery, monitoring and evaluation to generate improvements in global health and education. Dr. Holding supports the design and implementation of the Pediatric Shamba Maisha study child assessment protocol, intended to track the impact of changes in the family on the growth and development of the younger children in the community. 

Dr. Betsy Kammerer is an investigator on the Pediatric study. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and Neuropsychologist at Boston Children's Hospital. Her research focuses on neuropsychological and emotional outcomes in children and families affected by HIV. Her research focusses on culturally appropriate models of assessment and child development support, including use of video and tablets based measures.

Dr. James Kahn is an investigator for adult and pediatric study. He is a Professor in the School of Medicine at UCSF and he leads two core economics courses.  He has 25 years’ experience in the empirical and modeled assessment of the cost, effects, and cost-effectiveness of global health interventions, programs, and policies. He has performed economic analyses for the WHO, the BMGF, the World Bank, the CDC, and other US and global health agencies. 

Dr. Kate Powis is an Investigator on the Pediatric study. She is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and a Research Associate at Harvard School of Public Health.  Kate provides clinical care at Massachusetts General Hospital to both adults and children. Her research has focused on optimizing the health of HIV-infected women in pregnancy and the postpartum period and advancing HIV-free survival of their children. 

Dr. Harsha Thirumurthy is an investigator for the adult study.  He is an Assistant Professor of Health Economics at UNC.  His research incorporates economics and psychology to develop behavior change interventions related to prevention and treatment of chronic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.  He has expertise in the measurement of socio-economic status in rural SSA and the development and evaluation of economic interventions to influence health behaviors.

 

Staff

 

 

Lillian Achiro is an Assistant Research Coordinator of the pediatric study. She has 4 years of experience in coordinating research activities focusing on prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and 7 years of experience in qualitative and quantitative data collection in research focusing on reproductive health services and integration of livelihood interventions to improve health outcomes in Western Kenya.

Rachel Burger is the Study Manager for the Adult Study.  She is the Kenya Research Director at UCSF.  She has 10 years of experience conducting public health research in East Africa.  Her research focus includes the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, the integration of HIV and sexual and reproductive health services, and the integration of livelihood interventions to improve health outcomes.

Dena Bushman is the Research Coordinator at UCSF for Shamba Maisha. She divides her time between clinical medicine, where she sees patients as a nurse practitioner at UC Berkeley and at the STD Clinic for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and global public health. In addition to her work with Shamba Maisha, she is also coordinates the implementation of a community HIV testing project in rural Western Kenya. 

Shalean Collins is the Research Coordinator at Northwestern University for Dr. Young’s Global Household Water Insecurity Scale (GHWIS) study. Shalean is a registered dietitian with three years of experience managing and coordinating public health research related to food and water insecurity and maternal and child nutrition in East Africa. Her research focuses on maternal and child health and nutrition, food and water insecurity, and HIV.  

Rain Mocello is a data analyst and data manager for the adult study.  She has 11 years of epidemiologic experience in the field of sexually transmitted infection/HIV public health research, focusing for the past eight years in East Africa. She is also a PhD student at UC Berkeley with an interest in advanced epidemiologic methods, biostatistics, and understanding the health needs of vulnerable and mobile populations.

David LaChapelle is a project manager for Pediatric Shamba Maisha. Mr. LaChapelle splits his time between Western Kenya and Eastern Uganda to provide support to Dr. Butler’s studies focused on newborn and child health, nutrition and development. Mr. LaChapelle provides support with respect to logistics and operations, data quality monitoring, motorcycle and first aid training, as well as production of photography and films for project documentation.

Lauren Pincus has a PhD in Horticulture and Agronomy and a M.S. in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis. She has seven years of experience working in agricultural development overseas, primarily focusing on agricultural extension and aspects of farmer education and training.  Her research focuses on how the agricultural decision making of HIV+ patients influences their food security and diet.

Bernard Rono is the data manager for the Shamba Maisha adult study.  His work focuses on improving the data quality through regular data audits and on-the-job training to Research Assistants. He has ten years of experience as a data manager for HIV and PrEP clinical trials among HIV discordant relationships at FACES.  His research field is biostatistics focusing on survival analysis in longitudinal data.  

Pauline Wekesa is the study coordinator of the adult study.  She coordinates research activities including recruitment, data collection, preparation of reports, supporting the intervention implementation, and human subjects approval.  She is a nurse and has five years of experience in managing and coordinating public health research related to HIV/AIDS, sexual, reproductive and maternal and child health, and food & water insecurity. 

Elly Weke is the Shamba Maisha Study Manager. He coordinates the Shamba Maisha intervention by collaborating closely with the partners.  He also oversees all research related activities.  He has six years’ experience in conducting food security and health research in Kenya. His focus is on the integration of adaptive agriculture and HIV health services to improve household economic and health outcomes of persons living with HIV/AIDS.