Dr. Diane Havlir appointed Director of the AIDS Research Institute
Dear School of Medicine Community,
I am pleased to announce the permanent appointment of Diane Havlir, MD as Director of the UCSF AIDS Research Institute (ARI) after serving in an interim capacity since Paul Volberding’s retirement in December 2020.
Dr. Havlir was a resident at UCSF when the AIDS epidemic emerged in the 1980s, and she has both cared for HIV patients and conducted research – transforming national and international guidelines – ever since. She joined the faculty at UCSF in 2002.
Dr. Havlir is a Professor and Chief of the HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine Division at ZSFG, home to world-renowned HIV research and Ward 86 clinical program. She is also the Associate Chair of Clinical Research in the Department of Medicine and Principal Investigator of the Sustainable East Africa Research in Community Health (SEARCH) Study.
The overall goal of her research is to develop therapeutic and prevention strategies to respond to global infectious disease pandemics: HIV, TB, and COVID-19. Antiretroviral therapy (for prevention or treatment) is one of the greatest successes in medicine, yet we have not fully used it to eliminate HIV or tuberculosis (TB). In the SEARCH study, Dr. Havlir and her team showed that a multi-disease, patient-centered approach to HIV testing and treatment reduced HIV incidence, HIV-associated tuberculosis and HIV-associated mortality, while improving population-level control of hypertension in a NIH-funded 320,000-person cluster-randomized study in rural East Africa. She continues towards her goal to accelerate the end of AIDS through the SEARCH-Sapphire study, which tests innovative prevention and treatment strategies intended to reach vulnerable populations left behind by current approaches.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Havlir established the city-community-academic partnership Unidos en Salud, which provided low barrier test-and-respond and vaccine services to thousands of persons in the Mission district of San Francisco, and has tracked epidemiologic trends, including the recent West Coast SARS-CoV-2 variant.
Dr. Havlir was a Co-founder and continues as a Co-chair of San Francisco Getting to Zero (GTZ), a citywide consortium with a goal to eliminate new HIV infections and deaths. She has been active globally via leadership roles in the World Health Organization (WHO), having chaired the HIV global drug resistance surveillance network, and the HIV-TB working group. Dr. Havlir is the current co-chair of the WHO HIV treatment and prevention global guidelines, and Chair of the United Nations AIDS Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, which provides high-level guidance on global action to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
I have been impressed with Dr. Havlir’s interim leadership of the ARI. In particular, the alignment of the ARI with the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine has positively impacted the work of the Institute and increased efficiencies. Given Dr. Havlir’s exemplary track record in the field of HIV research, her deep commitment to cross-disciplinary teaching and training, and her extensive national and global experience with HIV/AIDS pandemic leadership, she will be an asset to the ARI’s continued efforts to end the HIV epidemic and leverage UCSF’s experience to tackle underlying societal challenges and related health conditions.
Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD
Dean, School of Medicine