Richard G. Marlink
Bruce A. Beal, Robert L. Beal, and Alexander S. Beal Professor of the Practice of Public Health
As Executive Director of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative (HAI), Dr. Marlink has been responsible for the evaluation and coordination of AIDS research and training programs for developing countries and disenfranchised populations. In this role, he has also organized numerous policy and educational programs to address the care and treatment needs of HIV/AIDS patients.
In1996, Dr. Marlink helped create the Botswana-HAI Partnership for HIV Research and Education (BHP). Through this partnership the Government of Botswana and HAI have worked together to combat the AIDS epidemic in Botswana. Under his direction, and in partnership with the Botswana Ministry of Health, HAI launched the KITSO AIDS Training Program in 2001. KITSO is the national training program for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists and has trained more than 5000 health professionals in HIV/AIDS care and antiretroviral treatment. KITSO training modules address issues such as antiretroviral therapy, HIV/AIDS-related disease management, gender-specific HIV issues, supportive and palliative care, and various psychosocial and counseling themes. In addition, Dr. Marlink is also the Principal Investigator for a US$5.2 million/year grant from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The BHP-PEPFAR effort includes both a Clinical Laboratory Master Trainer Program and the creation of the Botswana Ministry of Health’s Monitoring and Evaluation Unit.
As Research Director for the Botswana-HAI Partnership, Dr. Marlink is also the Principal Investigator for the Tshepo Study, Botswana’s first large-scale antiretroviral treatment study funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb “Secure the Future” Foundation. This study has helped lay the foundation for determining the rate of HIV drug resistance and characterization of viral mutations in HIV-1 subtype C, the subtype of HIV most prevalent in Southern Africa. Using a factorial design, the study randomized patients to determine whether intensive clinic-based follow-up of patients or intensive clinic-based follow-up with added community-based Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) is superior for medication adherence in this African setting. Dr. Marlink is also co-investigator in a variety of other clinical studies examining questions related to genomic and immunologic analysis of HIV-1C, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV during breastfeeding, and issues related to African traditional medicine practices during treatment with antiretroviral medication.
Dr. Marlink is the Principal Investigator for the study, a Botswana National Evaluation of Models of HIV/AIDS Care. This significant study is designed to evaluate health care delivery models to support recommended changes in operational strategies for significant cost savings. This will be achieved by drawing from the existing Botswana National ARV Treatment Program, known as Masa, and by establishing new cohorts.
Through the Harvard School of Public Health and the Government of Botswana, Dr. Marlink is the Principal Investigator for the study examining the cost implications of the National ARV Therapy Program under a 3-year National Institutes of Health grant. This study will make important contributions to understanding the cost of providing HIV/AIDS treatment in Botswana and more accurately assess additional resource requirements.
Also in Botswana, Dr. Marlink participated in the creation of a unique public-private partnership and US$115 million commitment to Botswana from the Bill and Melinda Gates and Merck Foundations. This commitment provides support for AIDS prevention and care efforts in Botswana. Dr. Marlink serves on the Board of Directors of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership (ACHAP), the implementing body for this commitment in Botswana.
As Vice President for International Programs Implementation at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Dr. Marlink is involved in multiple care and treatment programs in twelve African countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. He is also the Principal Investigator of a US$450,000 3-year research grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation on Establishing the Cost-Effectiveness of Different Models of Antiretroviral Treatment Programs across clinical sites in Southern Africa in both rural and urban settings.
Dr. Marlink has authored or co-authored over 85 scientific articles. He has also written a textbook on AIDS, Global AIDS Crisis: A Reference Handbook, and edited another, AIDS in Africa, 2nd Edition. In addition, he is the editor of a Special Supplement to AIDS and is the Executive Editor for the recently published 3 volume book: From the Ground Up: A Guide to Building Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Care Programs in Resource Limited Settings.
B.A., 1976, Human Biology, Brown University
M.D., 1980, Medicine, University of New Mexico