(from left to right) Professor Emeritus Praphan Phanuphak, Dr. Reshmie Ramautarsing, Dr. Anchalee Avihingsanon, Dr. Nadia Kancheva Landolt, Dr. Nittaya Phanuphak, Dr. Steven Kerr
The HIV Netherlands Australia Thailand Research Collaboration (HIV-NAT) is the largest international HIV clinical research unit within the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre (TRC-ARC). It was established in 1996 as a collaboration between the TRC-ARC, the Kirby Institute of Infections and Immunity in Society/University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and the Amsterdam institute in Global Health and Development in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. HIV-NAT has been in the forefront in the field of HIV clinical research in Thailand and in the SEA region.
For over a decade, up to 50 researchers from the Netherlands, Australia, USA and many other countries have came to work at HIV-NAT. Together with Thai physicians, these researchers conduct studies on HIV/AIDS. The international research collaboration brought about positive changes in global treatment guidelines, including the reduction/optimization of dosage to save medication costs and lower side effects in patients. As a result, HIV-NAT has gained an international reputation for quality research and for its contribution to improvement of care to HIV patients worldwide.
Another result of international collaboration is human resource development. Thai Red Cross’s and collaborating organizations’ physicians, medical technologists, pharmacists, nurses, biostatisticians, nursing staff, data management and IT officers, finance and administration officers all have an opportunity to develop skills through working on international research projects. Many HIV-NAT/TRC-ARC staff have pursued further education and training in Thailand, Australia, Japan and the Netherlands.
HIV-NAT/TRC-ARC has a special arrangement with the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Medicine. HIV-NAT/TRC-ARC physicians who conduct research and whose studies have been published in several international peer-reviewed journals can write a thesis on that subject in order to qualify for a PhD from the University of Amsterdam. Up to two Dutch physicians who worked on Thai Red Cross projects received PhD degrees after five years of working at HIV-NAT. The first HIV-NAT’s Thai HIV specialist to complete PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam was Dr. Jintanat Ananworanich; she received PhD after working at HIV-NAT for almost 10 years. Furthermore, Dr. Chris Duncombe who served at HIV-NAT for 12 years graduated with a PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam two years ago.
22-23 April 2013 mark special dates for both HIV-NAT/TRC-ARC and the University of Amsterdam. For the University of Amsterdam, it was the first time in the university’s history to have 5 students graduating with PhD in the same field of study. And it was also the first time that five Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre clinical trial physicians completed their PhD at the same time. The newly graduated PhDs and their thesis subjects are:
- Dr. Anchalee Avihingsanon: Her thesis title is ‘Non AIDS complications and treatment optimizations for HIV-1 infected Thai adult patients with and without TB or Hepatitis’. She has served at HIV-NAT, Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre for 9 years.
- Dr. Nittaya Phanuphak: Her thesis title is ‘Promoting early detection of HIV and anal dysplasia in Thai men who have sex with men’. Dr. Phanuphak has worked at the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre for 10 years.
- Dr. Reshmie Ramautarsing, a Dutch research physicians who has worked at HIV-NAT for 4 years. Her thesis title is ‘Optimizing long‐term care for HIV‐infected patients in Thailand’.
- Dr. Nadia Kancheva Landolt: Her thesis title is ‘Optimization of Reproductive Health Care for HIV-positive Women’. Dr. Landolt is a gyneacologist and has worked at HIV-NAT for 4 years.
- Dr. Victor Valcour: Dr. Valcour is a Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco, and the Deputy Director of SEARCH Thailand, a subunit of the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre. He had conducted various studies in Thailand with HIV-NAT and King Mongkut’s Hospital for 8 years. His thesis title is ‘HIV-associated Cognitive Disorders: Scientific Discoveries through International Collaborations in Thailand’.
The research done by all physicians mentioned above was done in Thailand, on Thai HIV-positive subjects from the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre, its HIV-NAT subunit, many hospitals in Thailand including Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, King Mongkut’s Hospital and Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute and medical institutions outside Thailand.
We would like to wish the PhD graduates great success in their medical career and all the best for their future endeavors.
Professor Emeritus Praphan Phanuphak
Director, Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre
24 April 2013