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BMC, BU Schools of Medicine and Public Health awarded $12.3 million from NIAAA

October 11, 2016

BOSTON--Researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC), Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, (BUSM, BUSPH), the University of California at San Francisco and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center have received $12.3 million in grant funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). These five-year grants will be used to further study the intersection between alcohol use and people living with HIV/AIDS by the Uganda Russia Boston Alcohol Network for Alcohol Research Collaboration on HIV/AIDS (URBAN ARCH) Consortium.

URBAN ARCH has been a member of the larger NIAAA initiative Consortiums for HIV/AIDS and Alcohol Research Translation (CHAART) since 2011. The program follows cohorts of people living with HIV in Uganda, Russia and the US in order to investigate how alcohol use affects HIV clinical manifestations and how treatments beyond antiretroviral therapy (ART) might mitigate alcohol-related harms. This funding will allow the Consortium to examine the consequences of alcohol use on comorbidities among people living with HIV including tuberculosis, cardiovascular disease and falls, so as to increase availability of treatments and improve outcomes.

The Consortium will build on three existing HIV-infected cohorts from Boston, Uganda and Russia with distinctive strengths and well-characterized alcohol consumption patterns. The Boston cohort will examine the associations between alcohol and falls, fractures and frailty in people living with HIV infection and develop and test the feasibility of a falls prevention intervention. The two international cohorts will study clinical issues that would not be possible in the US, yet have important implications for its HIV-infected populations, specifically tuberculosis treatment among drinkers in Uganda and medications to reduce both alcohol and tobacco use in Russia.

According to the researchers due to improved HIV treatment and access to ART, people are living longer with HIV which has resulted in an increase in comorbidities. "Unhealthy alcohol use is prevalent in this population and is associated with increased risks and worse outcomes for multiple adverse health conditions, such as TB, cardiovascular disease and falls. In order to improve health outcomes for alcohol-using individuals living with HIV, clinical researchers should address high-priority comorbid health conditions in settings amenable to the conduct of such epidemiologic and clinical intervention studies," explained Consortium principal investigator Jeffrey Samet, MD, MA, MPH, professor of medicine at BUSM and chief of the section of general internal medicine at BMC.

Samet believes URBAN ARCH is well-positioned to investigate the complex relationship between HIV, alcohol and comorbidities among people living with HIV to address and accelerate the development of more effective treatments.

Researchers also leading this effort include Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, chair and professor of the department of community health sciences at BUSPH and professor of medicine at BUSM; Debbie Cheng, ScD, professor of biostatistics at BUSPH; Judith Hahn, PhD, MA, associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco Division of HIV, ID and Global Medicine; Matthew Freiberg, MD, MSc, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Clinical Cardiovascular Outcomes Research and Trials Evaluation and associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; and Hilary Tindle, MD, MPH, founding director of the Vanderbilt Center for Tobacco, Addictions and Lifestyle and associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
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About Boston Medical Center

Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 487-bed, academic medical center that is the primary teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. It is the largest and busiest provider of trauma and emergency services in New England. It offers specialized care for complex health problems and is a leading research institution, receiving more than $119 million in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2015. In 1997, BMC founded Boston Medical Center Health Plan, Inc., now one of the top ranked Medicaid MCOs in the country, as a non-profit managed care organization serving Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine are partners in the Boston HealthNet - 13 community health centers focused on providing exceptional health care to residents of Boston. For more information, please visit http://www.bmc.org.

About Boston University School of Medicine

Originally established in 1848 as the New England Female Medical College, and incorporated into Boston University in 1873, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) today is a leading academic medical center with an enrollment of more than 700 medical students and 950 students pursuing degrees in graduate medical sciences. BUSM faculty contribute to more than 668 active grants and contracts, with total anticipated awards valued at more than $693 million in amyloidosis, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious diseases, pulmonary disease and dermatology, among other areas. The School's teaching affiliates include Boston Medical Center, its primary teaching hospital, the Boston VA Healthcare System, Kaiser Permanente in northern California, as well as Boston HealthNet, a network of 15 community health centers. For more information, please visit http://www.bumc.bu.edu/busm/

About Boston University School of Public Health

Boston University School of Public Health, founded in 1976, offers master's- and doctoral-level education in public health. The faculty in six departments (biostatistics; community health sciences; environmental health; epidemiology; global health; and health law, policy & management) conducts policy-changing public health research around the world, with the mission of improving the health of populations--especially the disadvantaged, underserved, and vulnerable--locally, nationally, and internationally.

Boston University Medical Center

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