The Duke Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) is pleased to announce the appointments of Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH and Nwora Lance Okeke, MD, MPH as Associate Directors of the CFAR starting July 1, 2023. Drs. Beyrer and Okeke will join Director Georgia D. Tomaras, PhD and Co-Director Susanna Naggie, MD, MHS in leadership of the Duke CFAR. The addition of Drs. Beyrer and Okeke as Associate Directors will strengthen the continued evolution of the Duke CFAR with a focus for development in data and implementation science, global HIV research, and collaborations with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Dr. Chris Beyrer is a Professor of Medicine at Duke University and the Director of the Duke Global Health Institute. He is a recognized leader in conducting HIV research with key populations in challenging environments and has led collaborative research on HIV prevention and treatment in Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia for more than 30 years. He is past president of the International AIDS Society, and has served as advisor to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, the National Institutes of Health’s Office of AIDS Research, the World Health Organization, and numerous other agencies and institutions. Before coming to Duke in August 2022, Beyrer was the inaugural Desmond M. Tutu Professor of Public Health and Human Rights at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is no stranger to the CFAR network, having served as Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for AIDS Research. Dr. Beyrer will serve as an CFAR Associate Director, Global HIV.
Dr. Lance Okeke is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Duke University School of Medicine. His research has focused on the intersection of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and HIV, including the training of nurses and HIV clinical social workers to promote heart-healthy lifestyle modifications and reduce CVD events. His currently funded projects include an R01 to explore the use of electronic health record data to inform strategies for PrEP uptake and an administrative supplement awarded to the Duke CFAR as part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Pipeline Initiative (CDEIPI), which introduces students from HBCUs and minority serving institutions into careers in HIV research with a particular focus on training in implementation science. Fittingly, in his new role as CFAR Associate Director, Data and Implementation Science, Dr. Okeke will be leading new developments in AI/Data Science and strengthening and expanding the Duke CFAR’s collaborations with HBCUs. Dr. Okeke has served in several roles within the Duke CFAR, including Associate Director of the Clinical Core and Director of the HIV Health Services Research Scientific Working Group. He was previously an Associate Director of the Developmental Core and a CFAR faculty recruit.
Drs. Tomaras and Naggie shared enthusiasm for the new appointments and future directions of the Duke CFAR: “We are excited about the addition of Drs. Okeke and Beyrer to the Duke CFAR leadership team. Their passion for improving the health of people with HIV and their complementary expertise in global health, partnerships with community and minority serving institutions, and data science will be critical to direct our priorities.”