International Health Faculty Receive Early-Career Research Awards from NIH
Kate Rucinski, PhD, MPH, and Laura Beres, PhD ’19, MPH, both assistant scientists in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, recently received K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Awards from the NIH.
The Awards are granted to promising, early-career scientists to support their development into independent, leading researchers in their fields. The investigators are supported with formal training and experiences guided by distinguished mentors to leverage their existing skill set, develop new areas of expertise, and establish a research trajectory contributing to future, independent, priority NIH research areas.
Rucinski, who is faculty in the Department’s Social and Behavioral Interventions program, received her K01 Award for research focused on optimizing HIV treatment approaches for young women living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Rucinski’s project will develop tailored implementation strategies to help strengthen antiretroviral therapy programs for adolescent girls and young women 15 to 24 years of age living with HIV in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Rucinski will examine the social, structural, and clinical factors associated with the uptake and retention of antiretrovirals, work to refine existing models of care and treatment, and pilot new implementation strategies for adolescent girls and young women living with HIV.
Beres, also from the Department’s Social and Behavioral Interventions program, received her K01 Award for research that will help maximize the impact and effectiveness of a new HIV prevention technology among adolescents and young adults in Zambia. Beres’ research will work with young people, healthcare workers, and policy makers to establish promising strategies to effectively implement long-acting, injectable Cabotegravir pre-exposure prophylaxis (LAI CAB PrEP), which is currently undergoing regulatory approval. Through her research, Beres will assess implementation strengths and challenges for related interventions (i.e., injectable contraception and oral HIV PrEP) in the Zambian public healthcare system, identify LAI CAB PrEP implementation preferences among healthcare workers and young people using novel, online surveys, and develop implementation strategies collaboratively with communities to optimize the uptake and persistence of LAI CAB PrEP within the population. Beres has worked in Zambia since 2011 and will partner with the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia to implement her research.