media release

HIV/AIDS health economics chair a first for B.C.

February 27, 2014
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Contact:
Erica Branda, SFU Advancement, 778.782.3353, ebranda@sfu.ca
Brice Dare, St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, 604.806.9850, bdare@providencehealth.bc.ca
Kevin Hollett, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, 604.682.2344 ext. 66536, khollett@cfenet.ubc.ca
Marianne Meadahl, SFU PAMR, 778.782.9017; marianne_meadahl@sfu.ca

Photo: http://at.sfu.ca/bUrWZD

 A $3-million research chair has been established to investigate ways to improve the wellbeing of people with HIV/AIDS and the effectiveness of the health care system that treats them. The chair is the result of a partnership between Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS at St. Paul’s Hospital.

The St. Paul’s Hospital CANFAR Chair in HIV/AIDS Research, held by Dr. Bohdan Nosyk, is the first chair in British Columbia to focus on conducting health economics research to find ways for HIV and AIDS programs to provide treatment to patients in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.

“The research this Chair will enable me to perform will be of tremendous benefit in helping us understand where we need to target our funding and focus our efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS in this province,” says Dr. Nosyk. “I am honoured and excited to lead research focused on patient well-being and preventing further transmission of HIV.”

SFU and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation each contributed $1.5 million to create the Chair. St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation’s contribution includes proceeds from its 2013 Brilliant! Fundraiser and from donors such as the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR), whose support is recognized by being included in the name of the Chair. 

“Overall, we’re witnessing the positive impacts of British Columbia’s efforts to fight HIV and AIDS,” says Dr. Julio Montaner, Director, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. “This new position will ensure we continue to develop world-leading treatment and care for British Columbians and people living with HIV around the world. Our province will benefit tremendously from this partnership between SFU and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation.”

As both an associate professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU and a research scientist at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS at St. Paul’s Hospital, Nosyk will engage undergraduate and graduate students in this important area of research and also work with clinicians to ensure that his research translates into meaningful programs and policies.

Says SFU President Andrew Petter: "This partnership exemplifies SFU's vision of being an engaged research university. We are grateful to St. Paul's Hospital Foundation and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS for helping us create this vital new chair whose work will advance knowledge and benefit society."

Health economics is a relatively new research area that uses methods such as statistical and mathematical modeling to evaluate ways that health care programs can operate more effectively. Fewer than a hundred researchers in Canada are trained in health economics, with only a handful specializing in HIV and AIDS.

British Columbia has been successful in engaging people into treatment and care as part of the BC-CfE-pioneered Treatment as Prevention strategy, leading to a decline in HIV-related morbidity and mortality by over 90 per cent in the province since 1995. However, these advances in treatment mean people living with HIV will face age-related health issues unique from the general population. In addition, gaps remain in engaging and retaining people living with HIV into life-saving treatment.

Nosyk will help develop approaches to maximize the beneficial effects of available interventions to fully contain the spread of HIV and AIDS, while increasing the cost-effectiveness of treatment.

A former postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Nosyk is also an adjunct scientist at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs. He currently holds a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Award.

The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) at St. Paul’s Hospital has been the epicentre for world-leading HIV treatment, research and care. The BC-CfE pioneered the Treatment as Prevention strategy, which involves widespread HIV testing and immediate offer of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to people living with HIV. Since implementing this strategy, B.C. has seen HIV-related morbidity and mortality decline by over 90 per cent since 1995. Over the same time period, the number of new HIV diagnoses has fallen from more than 800 per year in 1995 to 238 in 2012. Treatment as Prevention has proven to be cost-effective and cost-beneficial.

St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation raises funds to support St. Paul’s Hospital, a globally acknowledged centre for innovation, research, teaching and care. St. Paul’s provides care to more than 380,000 patients across B.C. each year, as well as world-leading research and teaching that benefit many more.

Simon Fraser University is consistently one of Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities

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