Arachu Castro

Arachu Castro

Faculty Project: Latin American and Caribbean Initiative for the Integration of Prenatal Care with the Testing and Treatment of HIV and Syphilis (ILAP)
Faculty Project: Strategies to address the TB in Resource Poor Communities
Faculty Project: Applied Medical Anthropology Research on the Impact of AIDS Antiretroviral Therapy

Latin American and Caribbean Initiative for the Integration of Prenatal Care with the Testing and Treatment of HIV and Syphilis (ILAP)

The Latin American and Caribbean Initiative for the Integration of Prenatal Care with the Testing and Treatment of HIV and Syphilis (ILAP) was initiated in 2007 under the directorship of Prof. Arachu Castro from Harvard Medical School (HMS). ILAP is a collaborative project between HMS, eight national AIDS programs (Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay), UNICEF, UNAIDS, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). By conducting innovative health services research that combines medical anthropology, epidemiology, and health policy analysis, we plan to delineate a detailed implementation strategy for each country aimed at universalizing routine testing and treatment of HIV and syphilis during pregnancy while we measure the impact of the interventions. Its implications for clinical practice and public health are enormous: ILAP’s objectives are to contribute to the early diagnosis and timely treatment of HIV and syphilis in women, decrease the numbers of mother-to-child transmissions (MTCT) of HIV, congenital syphilis, and other STIs, and provide better care for large numbers of women and children in LAC-while providing a framework for national and international large-scale policy change aimed at strengthening health systems.

Participating Harvard faculty: Arachu Castro, Assistant Professor of Social Medicine, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Collaborating Institutions: Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí (IPK), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF and UNAIDS 

Strategies to address the TB in Resource Poor Communities

Jaime Bayona and colleagues at Partners in Health (PIH) in Peru have created innovative programs that demonstrate ways to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in resource poor communities. The PIH-Socios En Salud community-based treatment program for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis was initiated in 1996 when a community screening turned up a number of residents from Carabayllo, Lima who did not respond to therapy for tuberculosis. Over the subsequent years, PIH and Socios en Salud have persisted in their commitment to provide the sick with treatment. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Harvard Medical School, they have been developing community based MDR-TB treatment strategies appropriate to local circumstances by proving that MDR TB patients can be cured in resource-poor settings. DRCLAS is working with PIH to disseminate the results of their work throughout Latin America. 

Participating Harvard faculty: HMS faculty and instructors, Jamie Bayona, Arachu Castro, Mercedes Becerra, Paul Farmer. 

Collaborating Institutions: Socios en Salud, Lima, Perú.

Applied Medical Anthropology Research on the Impact of AIDS Antiretroviral Therapy

Harvard Medical School Professor Arachu Castro and a research team headed by Prof. Jorge Pérez from Cuba’s Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí (IPK) are working together on a joint research project seeking to examine the impact of the provision of effective antiretroviral therapy on the quality of life and the illness experience of AIDS patients. The project seeks to explore whether the transformation of AIDS from an inevitably fatal disease to a chronic and manageable one has decreased stigma and increased the quality of life of people receiving effective therapy. With support from the Ford Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies, this study also seeks to understand how the social experience of AIDS is affected by access to effective therapy and how, in turn, changes in social experience alter the social construction of stigma. In March 2012, an article from the first phase of the project was published in the American Journal of Public Health. The article, “Quality of Life of People with HIV/ AIDS Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy in Cuba: A Cross-Sectional Study of the National Population,” was authored by Carlos Aragonés-López, Jorge Pérez-Ávila, Mary C. Smith Fawzi, and Arachu Castro. For first author Carlos Aragonés-López, the manuscript will serve towards his requirements for his doctoral degree in epidemiology.

Participating Harvard faculty: Arachu Castro, Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Collaborating Institutions: Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí (IPK)

Harvard-Instituto Pedro Kouri Scientific Collaboration

Harvard and the Instituto Pedro Kourí (IPK) of Tropical Medicine have initiated a project to promote scientific collaboration and exchange between Cuban and Harvard scientists in the areas of public health and medicine. The IPK is Cuba 's leading research institute and treatment center in the control and eradication of infectious diseases in Cuba and elsewhere. The public health initiative has three main objectives:

 1) to increase scientific collaboration and exchange between the IPK and Harvard;

 2) to improve understanding of the functioning of Cuban health care system, the success achieved by Cuba in controlling at eradicating infectious disease and the role of institutions such as IPK in the public health system.

 3) to support the development and dissemination of public health work currently underway in Cuba 's scientific and research laboratories and institutions.

The main topics of the project include: tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, bacterial and viral respiratory infections, dengue, hepatitis, mycology, acute diarrheal disease, molecular biology of infectious disease, molecular epidemiology of infectious disease, immunology of infectious disease and social science analyses of infectious disease.

Collaborating Harvard faculty:

  Arachu Castro, Assistant Professor in Social Medicine, Department of Social Medicine; Academic Director in Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change, Harvard Medical School

  John David, Richard Pearson Strong Professor of Tropical Public Health, Emeritus

  Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health

  Paul Farmer, Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology, Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

  Donald Harn, Professor of Tropical Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health

  Jim Kim, Associate Clinical Professor of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

  Eric Rubin, Associate Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health

  Michael Starnbach, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School

Collaborating Institutions:

 Instituto de Medicina Tropical "Pedro Kourí" (IPK) [Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine]

Visiting Scholars from Cuba & Topics Studied:  

  Enrique Beldárrain Chaple: Major epidemics in the Americas from 1492-2000

  Anselmo Otero: Optimization of Protein and Nucleotide Adjuvants with Immunoestimulatory Properties

  Roberto Fernández: Certification Procedures for BL-3 Facility

  Gustavo Kourí, Jorge Pérez Ávila and Guadalupe Guzmán: Cuba's Healthcare System & AIDS Research & Treatment

  Mayra Mune Jiménez: Dengue Virus Vaccine with DNA Immunization

  Lisette Pérez: HIV Load Viral Testing

  Beatriz Sierra: HLA Class I genes and Dengue in Cuba, 1981-1997

  Vivian Kourí Cardella: Kaposi's Sarcoma associated with Herpes Virus (KSHV)

  Alicia Reyes Jiménez: HIV/AIDS Resource Allocation

  Jorge Luis Maestre Mesa: Investigation of the function of virulence regulators of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis using Genome-Wide Location Analysis

  Rayner Rodríguez: The role of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes in the immune response to bacterial infections such as Chlamydia

  Raul Díaz: A comparison of two PCR-based DNA fingerprinting methods for typing Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

Multisite Ethnographic Study of Sexually Transmitted Infections among Pregnant Women and their Partners in Four Indigenous Communities in Mexico

The objective is to understand the transmission of HIV and syphilis among the Huichol, Mixe, Otomi, and Tzotzil and their interaction with the health system during pregnancy, and to link the findings to a serosurvey of HIV and syphilis among pregnant women and their partners conducted.

Participating Harvard faculty: Arachu Castro, Assistant Professor of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Collaborating Institutions:  CENSIDA (National AIDS Program of Mexico) and Pan American Health Organization

Applied Medical Anthropology Research on the Impact of AIDS Treatment

Harvard Medical School Professor Arachu Castro and a research team headed by Dr. Jorge Pérez from Cuba’s Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí (IPK) are undertaking a joint research project seeking to examine AIDS-related stigma and discrimination and the impact of the provision of effective AIDS therapy on quality of life and the illness experience of AIDS patients. The project seeks to explore whether the transformation of AIDS from an inevitably fatal disease to a chronic and manageable one has decreased stigma and increased the quality of life of people receiving effective therapy. With support from the Ford Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies, this study also seeks to understand how the social experience of AIDS is affected by access to effective therapy and how, in turn, changes in social experience alter the social construction of stigma.

Participating Harvard faculty:

 Arachu Castro, Assistant Professor in Social Medicine, Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change, Harvard Medical School

Collaborating Institutions:

 Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí (IPK), Cuba

Laboratory Turnaround Time in the Dominican Republic: Analysis of the Flow of Blood Specimens and Test Results for HIV and Syphilis during Prenatal Care

The Latin American and Caribbean Initiative for the Integration of Prenatal Care with the Testing and Treatment of HIV and Syphilis (ILAP) was initiated in 2007 under the directorship of Dr. Arachu Castro from Harvard Medical School (HMS). ILAP is a collaborative project between HMS, eight national AIDS programs (Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay), UNICEF, UNAIDS, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). By conducting innovative health services research that combines medical anthropology, epidemiology, and health policy analysis, we plan to delineate a detailed implementation strategy for each country aimed at universalizing routine testing and treatment of HIV and syphilis during pregnancy while we measure the impact of the interventions. Its implications for clinical practice and public health are enormous: ILAP’s objectives are to contribute to the early diagnosis and timely treatment of HIV and syphilis in women, decrease the numbers of mother-to-child transmissions (MTCT) of HIV, congenital syphilis, and other STIs, and provide better care for large numbers of women and children in LAC-while providing a framework for national and international large-scale policy change aimed at strengthening health systems.

 Participating Harvard faculty: Arachu Castro, Assistant Professor of Social Medicine, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Collaborating Institutions: Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí (IPK), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF and UNAIDS

Prenatal Testing for HIV and Other STI: A Situation Analysis in Latin America and the Caribbean

Puerto Rico Winter Institute 2006

Puerto Rico Winter Institute 2006: Public Health and Society: The Caribbean and
U.S. Connection

Faculty Lead: Arachu Castro

The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, jointly with
the University of Puerto Rico, sponsored a three-week Winter Institute
in San Juan, Puerto Rico in January 2006. The goal of the Institute is to
stimulate research, collaboration and intellectual exchange between Harvard
and key institutions of higher learning in Puerto Rico. During its second
year, the Institute focused on Public Health and Society: The Caribbean and
U.S. Connection, with an emphasis on health in the Caribbean and among
Latinos in the United States. Each week, two professors, one from Harvard
University and one from the University of Puerto Rico, co-taught a seminar
on a topic related to this major theme. One faculty member, Carlos Aragonés,
from the Institute of Tropical Medicine Pedro Kourí in Havana, Cuba, was
not able to attend due to visa delays.

Program Details

The faculty set four objectives for this year’s Institute: 1) to apply
information on the social context of the Caribbean and U.S. Latinos to the
interpretation of epidemiological data; 2) to understand the relationship
between social inequality and health in the Caribbean and among U.S.
Latinos; 3) to understand the relationship between population movements
between the United States and Latin America and the health of (im)migrant
populations; and 4) to discuss the applicability of theoretical frameworks
from the social sciences and other disciplines in the design of public health
interventions in the Caribbean and among U.S. Latinos. Seminar participants
included a total of 11 faculty and 20 students from Harvard University and
Puerto Rican institutions.

Puerto Rico Winter Institute Seminars

AIDS in the Caribbean
Arachu Castro, Harvard Medical School
Chair of the 2006 Puerto Rico Winter Institute

Mental Health among Latinos
Dharma Cortés, Harvard Medical School
Glorisa Canino, University of Puerto Rico

Immigration and the Health of U.S. Latinos
Dolores Acevedo-García, Harvard School of Public Health
Jorge Duany, University of Puerto Rico

In addition to the seminars, lectures and site visits were organized as part
of the Institute. The lectures covered the topics of drug use and HIV in
Puerto Rico, AIDS and masculinity, mental health in the work place, mental
health and adolescents in Puerto Rico, the Boricua Diaspora in the United
States, and gender, immigration and reproduction. Site visits included trips
to Salud de la Capital, Community Network for Clinical Research on AIDS
(CONCRA), Centro de Estudios Materno-Infantiles, Centro Mujer y Salud,
Centro Salud San Patricio, Centro de Desarollo de la Mujer Dominicana and
the Círculo Cubano de Puerto Rico.

The collaborating institutions — the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Centro
de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe, and the Escuela de Artes
Plásticas — were key in assuring the Institute’s success and in achieving an
overall memorable experience to all participants with the generous support of
the Wilbur Marvin Foundation.

People Taxonomy

Faculty Grant Recipient?