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Every year the University of Washington / Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) announces a list of promising new investigators to be recipients of the CFAR New Investigator Award. The award provides support to new investigators and encourages them to conduct independent research, acquire preliminary data, publish, receive mentorship, and write grants to continue their careers in HIV/AIDS research. Recipients are awarded $45,000/year (direct costs) for non-interdisciplinary projects or up to $55,000/year (direct costs) for interdisciplinary projects. 

Dr. Noelle Benzekri specializes in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine. She joined CERID in April 2019 as an Investigator working with the Gottlieb lab. The majority of her work takes place in Senegal through the University of Washington-Senegal Research Collaboration, which conducts translational, clinical, and implementation science research on infectious diseases of major public health impact. Dr. Benzekri will receive the CFAR Award to support her interdisciplinary research project titled “Partnering with Traditional Healers to Increase HIV Testing in Senegal, West Africa: A Feasibility Study”.

Dr. Benzekri has previously researched the relationship between traditional healers and HIV outcomes and published her findings in a paper in the journal AIDS, titled “Traditional healers, HIV outcomes, and mortality among people living with HIV in Senegal, West Africa.” It was found that seeking care from traditional healers was common in the Senegalese community and was associated with advanced disease and increased mortality, implying that partnering with traditional healers could be an effective strategy to improve outcomes and decrease mortality in the region. Dr. Benzekri’s proposed work will test the feasibility of such a partnership in hopes of improving the lives of people living with HIV, and will serve as a platform to increase testing and improve outcomes for other diseases of public health importance.

Please join us in congratulating Noelle on this most recent achievement!

To learn more about the UW-Senegal Research Collaboration, click here.

To learn more about the CFAR New Investigator Award, click here.

To read Dr. Benzekri’s recent publication discussed above, click here.

To read CERID's news article on a separate Benzekri published article, click here