Adolescent HIV/AIDS Research: Westat Awarded ATN Cooperative Agreement

Dina Monte

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has awarded the Adolescent Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) Operations and Collaborations Center (OCC) to Westat. In collaboration with the ATN Scientific Leadership Center, we will develop and conduct innovative behavioral, community-based, translational, therapeutic, microbicide, and vaccine trials in youth ages 13-24 at risk for HIV and living with HIV, with a focus on the inclusion of minors. While the rates of new HIV infections have decreased among persons aged 13-24, progress has been uneven with limited improvement in specific regions and populations.

Westat previously supported the ATN as the Data and Operations Center, and served on several ATN leadership teams, including the Executive Committee. We also provided statistical expertise, data management and statistical analysis services, lead protocol development and implementation, developed and maintained the ATN website, provided regulatory oversight, and conducted on-site monitoring of clinical sites.

Westat will resume this work and also provide efficient communication and coordination of efforts across research studies. We will support study accrual, ATN participant training, and quality assurance procedures. Our proposed innovations include:

  • Establishing an automated, user-friendly web-based query and notification system that would facilitate communication and track questions
  • Using social media to recruit study participants
  • Establishing a community engagement and recruitment outcomes database to obtain systematic metrics on community engagement efforts and modes of recruitment and identify best practices across the site consortiums

“The ATN will incorporate substantial community engagement to access hard-to-reach adolescents and young adults to identify those with HIV and engage them in research and care to improve their health outcomes,” notes Dina Monte, Westat Project Manager for the ATN OCC. “Westat is honored to resume support to NICHD in research that addresses the National scientific agenda of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030 by exploring promising new prevention modalities for at-risk adolescents and young adults, and treatments for those living with HIV.”

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