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Zalla says the clinical expertise of Dr. Adimora and Dr. Eron was key to ensuring studies would be useful to clinicians and people living with HIV.

Dissertations build on multiple disciplinary perspectives with new contributions to global health knowledge and practice. Lauren Zalla’s project, guided by infectious disease professors Ada Adimora, MD, MPH, and Joe Eron, MD, is a good example. Bringing clinical expertise to Zalla’s dissertation committee, they helped her design a study that explored racial disparities in the prescription of integrase inhibitors (INSTIs), the newest class of drugs used as antiretroviral therapy (ART) to treat HIV. A paper about the study was recently published in JAMA.

“I was motivated to do this particular analysis because I knew there were racial disparities in the prescription of combination ART when it first became available in the 1990s, but nobody seemed to be asking whether there are still disparities in the prescription of newer and more effective forms of ART,” said Zalla, a PhD student in epidemiology, who recently graduated.

Read more from the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases.