While researchers at leading universities have made major scientific discoveries that advance understanding of the global HIV epidemic, translating the benefits of this knowledge into better health for communities around the world has been left to government agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
In an opinion piece in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia and director of ICAP at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, in collaboration with co-authors Neena Philip, MPH, and Jessica Justman, MD, makes a compelling argument for academic institutions to translate discoveries and inform practice at multilateral agencies, local government, and the community level.
Dr. El-Sadr argues for universities to expand their central education missions by training the next generation of scholars, researching new discoveries, and embracing societal challenges more fully.
“Key discoveries remain confined to publications in journals and books underutilized by the people most in need of them,” say Dr. El-Sadr and her co-authors. They attribute this to the limited knowledge about how best to implement and scale up discoveries. They cite examples of missed opportunities and point to how the HIV epidemic compels a transformation of traditional academic priorities.
Read the NEJM Perspective.