CFAR SBS Core Investigator Highlight: Dr. Charles Muiruri

Dr. Charles Muiruri is a dually appointed Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences and Global Health, as well as a visiting lecturer at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMC) in Moshi, Tanzania. Dr. Muiruri has experience in startups, banking and retail services both in Kenya and the United States. He credits his diverse career background – which also includes 15 years of project management as a global research coordinator – for making him a well-rounded researcher:

“Throughout this, I learned quite a bit, and these are the things I carry today in my research: how I think about things, how I relate to people, how I view the world is really framed around a lot of these things.”

He is passionate about improving health outcomes for persons living with multiple chronic conditions. His current research portfolio focuses on conducting research with persons living with HIV (PLWH) and cardiovascular disease. He is interested in medication taking behavior in the context of competing priorities for persons living with multiple chronic conditions and their influence on decisions for treatment compliance. He notes that, while adherence can be quantitatively measured through self-report, lab work or other measures, ultimately, “somebody has to develop a behavior and find value in taking those medications.”

With a quantitative background, Dr. Muiruri utilized services offered by the SBS Core and QualCore, as well as mentorship from Dr. Amy Corneli, to learn more about qualitative research. He says the elements he learned – study design, interview guide development, data collection and analysis – are ones that he’s “running with” in his K Award, which seeks to address barriers to anti-hypertensive medication adherence among PLWH who have achieved viral suppression. He continues to partner with QualCore for his studies.

In addition to his K award, Dr. Muiruri is particularly excited about his CFAR Administrative Supplement that is using a photo elicitation qualitative approach to understand barriers to treatment goals for cardiometabolic disorders for PLWH in the Southeastern U.S. He says of this approach, “There could be things I’m not asking… [photo elicitation] allows the patients to tell me the story.” Dr. Muiruri says he’s fascinated by the complexity of people’s decision-making, and that complexity is what keeps him excited!

Lastly, along with Dr. Lance Okeke, Dr. Muiruri directs the Duke CFAR Health Services Research Scientific Working Group (SWG). Dr. Muiruri is also a father of two, and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family who all play soccer, and attending his daughters’ sporting events.