Dr. Loren Galvão, MD, MPH, is Co-Principal Investigator on $2.53 Million NIH Grant
Dr. Loren Galvão, MD, MPH, the Center's Associate Director for Community Partnerships Initiatives, is the co-principal investigator on a five-year, $2.53 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). The Malawi Pathways Project intends to study the influence of economic change on HIV vulnerability and food security in the country of Malawi. The principal investigator on the project is Lance S. Weinhardt, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine with the Center for AIDS Intervention Research at MCW. Other partners include the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's College of Nursing, its Center for Cultural Diversity and Global Health (where Dr. Galvão is an Associate Scientist), CARE USA, CARE Malawi, the University of Pennsylvania, the London School of Economics, and the University of Malawi.
Malawi is a country in sub-Saharan Africa with a high prevalence of HIV infection, poverty, and child malnutrition. It is ranked 165th out of 177 countries by the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Index (UNDP, 2005). Annual per capita income is the equivalent of $170 (UNICEF, 2004) making it the seventh poorest country in the world. More than 60% of the population experiences chronic poverty every year. Further, Malawi is characterized by deep inequality. The richest 20% of the population in Malawi consumes over 56% of all goods and services, whereas the poorest 20% consume only 4.9% (UNDP, 2005).
HIV prevalence at the national level was estimated at 11.8% and an estimated 940,000 to 1.4 million people are living with HIV in this country of approximately 12.5 million (NSO 2005, UNAIDS, 2006). An estimated 80,000 people now die annually of AIDS (UNAIDS, 2006) and another 110,000, mostly young people, are infected (NSO, 2005).
The Malawi Pathways Project's multidisciplinary research team will conduct three related studies:
(1) A quasi-experimental non-equivalent control group longitudinal study of the mechanisms, processes, and magnitude of impact of a large multi-level development and food security intervention, as implemented by CARE Malawi with European Commission funding, on HIV vulnerability and economic outcomes including food security. The development program includes intensive farmer training and support on sustainable and diversified agricultural practices, community-based microfinance training, and strategies to strengthen local governance, among other coordinated elements. The project will examine effects at the individual and community levels over a four-year follow-up period.
(2) The research team will statistically test pathways between socioeconomic changes, food security, and HIV-related outcomes.
(3) Qualitative end-of-program evaluation will be conducted to understand the mechanisms of impact of the program.
These studies will help to improve the specific development program under examination and contribute to a body of scientific knowledge regarding public health effects of sophisticated multi-level development programs being implemented globally.