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Katherine G. Michel, PhD, MPH

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May 18, 2018

My research at WIHS has focused on the natural history of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia-2 in women living with HIV, the effects of the cervicovaginal microbiota on HIV progression, and how trust in healthcare systems affects HIV viral suppression. In my Immunology PhD at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, my research focused on the effects of hormonal contraception on the systemic and genital immune milieu. During my MPH in Global Epidemiology at Emory University, I conducted work on sexual minority health on college campuses, contraception and reproductive health care access in Atlanta, and couple's HIV testing in Zambia.


Describe your research interests and how you chose this area of research.

My research interests are broad, from trust in health systems to the interactions between commensal microbes and the immune system. Mostly, my research focuses on improving the health of those living with HIV. I came to focus on HIV-related research because this virus is a worthy adversary, and understanding it helps us better understand the immune system, the human body, and how to improve healthcare for everyone living with chronic diseases.

How does GHUCCTS help you to achieve your research goals and advance your career in clinical and translational research? How will the CTSA program help to advance knowledge and treatments for patients with the disease(s) you study?

GHUCCTS and specifically the TL1 Scholar program has helped me improve my grant writing, expose me to new avenues of research, and establish collaborations with students and faculty across DC. Creating collaborative networks is not only key to improving HIV-related care and research within the city, it helps improve and expand the knowledge base of those involved in the CTSA and it's programs.

Why is it important to have both disciplinary and ethnic/cultural diversity in medical research? How does diversity contribute to your research? How does diversity enhance scientific discovery?

Diversity in medicine and research brings marginalized persons and issues important to their security, well-being, and health to the forefront.

How does clinical translational research benefit our communities, both directly and indirectly?

The days of silo-ed clinical and scientific research are over. If we as health practitioners and scientists fail to work across disciplines, we do a deep disservice to our patients and communities. No cell type, organ system, person, or community is an island -- to better improve health we need to develop multi-disciplinary scientists, collaborations, and research projects.