Mina Hosseinipour guides a new generation of HIV researchers
[This profile was originally published in the April 2011 newsletter of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health]
May 31, 2011 — Mina Hosseinipour, MD, MPH, the clinical director of the University of North Carolina’s Project-Malawi (UNC Project), claims to be a bit of a late bloomer in the field of global health.
While many young people now get their first experiences in high school or college, her interest didn’t really come about until she was in residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. During her residency, she interacted with large immigrant populations, particularly from Mexico, Central America and Nigeria, that introduced her to tropical infectious diseases and HIV. At the same time, antiretroviral therapy (ART) was introduced in the US, transitioning AIDS from a death sentence to a treatable condition.
But ART was expensive. Hosseinipour realized that this lifesaving medication was not reaching those in developing countries, particularly in Africa where HIV infection rates were shockingly high.
“As a young physician, I saw the potential to make an enormous and lasting impact on the global AIDS epidemic,” says Hosseinipour. “When choosing an infectious disease fellowship program, I only looked at those that had established activities in developing countries and strong schools of public health.”