RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Jan. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ViiV Healthcare and the Los Angeles Department of Health Services (LA DHS) today announced the launch of the ViiV Healthcare/LA DHS HIV Public Health Fellowship Program, a first-of-its-kind program offering community-based, advanced training for new physicians committed to careers in HIV in the primary care setting for vulnerable populations. With a growing shortage of primary care providers focused on HIV — and the continuing need to improve treatment and access to care for people living with HIV — this program aims to develop the next generation of physicians specializing in HIV to serve people disproportionately impacted by the virus.
According to a 2011 Institute of Medicine report, in the future, there will not be enough physicians and other health professionals trained to handle the number of people who will need HIV testing and treatment.[i] This impending physician shortage will have an impact in communities across the country, including major cities like Los Angeles. As the second-largest public health system in the United States, LA DHS cares for more than 670,000 individuals each year. Many people in the system are from low-income or minority populations, groups disproportionately impacted by HIV. At the end of 2013, more than 47,000 people were living with HIV in Los Angeles County.[ii]
"The growing deficit of physicians specializing in HIV is an alarming reality, as it will impede efforts to improve community-based care for people living with HIV. The ViiV Healthcare/LA DHS HIV Public Health Fellowship Program is a unique, on-the-ground solution to cultivating and sustaining quality HIV treatment for vulnerable populations," said Dr. Mitchell Katz, director of LA DHS. "The program will offer real-life training to emerging primary care providers specializing in HIV, to help improve the health of people in Los Angeles and other areas across the country for many years to come."
This shortage of healthcare providers focused on HIV was also highlighted as a key issue in the White House's "National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States: Updated to 2020." This report calls for "deliberate steps to increase the capacity of systems as well as the number and diversity of available providers of clinical care and related services for people living with HIV."[iii]
"We support all efforts to align with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and this program does this in a meaningful way on a local level to address the serious challenges people living with HIV in LA face when accessing care," said Bill Collier, head of North America, ViiV Healthcare. "Our hope is that the ViiV Healthcare/LA DHS HIV Public Health Fellowship Program will serve as a national model for training and will encourage future clinicians to specialize in HIV so they can provide access to quality services for the populations most disproportionately impacted by HIV in LA and elsewhere in the U.S."
The ViiV Healthcare/LA DHS HIV Public Health Fellowship Program expects to train approximately 10–18 fellows through 2021, with the goal of program graduates providing HIV care in public health settings in Los Angeles and nationwide for a defined period of time.
The ViiV Healthcare/LA DHS HIV Public Health Fellowship Program will also offer student loan repayment to graduates dedicating at least 50 percent of their time during a three-year period to HIV clinical care and health services research in underserved areas — anywhere in the U.S. upon completion of the fellowship. Student loan burdens for medical school graduates are another contributor to declines in new doctors entering primary care fields such as HIV; graduates instead choose to enter more lucrative medical specialties to offset debt.[iv]
While ViiV Healthcare is supporting the program with monetary resources, the application process will be administered independently by LA DHS based on standards adopted solely by LA DHS. ViiV Healthcare will play no role in the decision-making process. Eligible candidates must have completed an accredited postgraduate clinical residency and be board eligible/board certified in internal medicine, family medicine or OB-GYN.
For additional information about the ViiV Healthcare/LA DHS HIV Public Health Fellowship Program and how to apply, please visit: www.lachivphfellowship.com.
About the ViiV Healthcare/LA DHS HIV Public Health Fellowship Program
Launched in January 2016, this innovative collaboration between ViiV Healthcare and the Los Angeles Department of Health Services (LA DHS) seeks to provide community-based, advanced training for new physicians committed to a career in HIV care for underserved populations. The program was developed in partnership by ViiV Healthcare and LA DHS to help address the growing shortage of HIV specialists in the United States. For additional information, please visit: www.lachivphfellowship.com.
About ViiV Healthcare
ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. Shionogi joined in October 2012. The company's aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and new HIV medicines as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline and commitment, please visit: www.viivhealthcare.com.
About the Los Angeles Department of Health Services The Los Angeles Department of Health Services (LA DHS) is the second-largest health system in the nation, providing compassionate, quality care to more than 10 million residents through its integrated system of award-winning hospitals and community-based clinics. LA DHS employs 22,000 people who, together, are working to improve the health of Los Angeles County. For more information, please visit: https://dhs.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/dhs.
[i] Institute of Medicine. HIV Screening and Access to Care: Report Brief. Released April 2011. Available at: https://iom.nationalacademies.org/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2011/HIV-Screening-and-Access-to-Care/HIV%20Screening%202011%20Report%20Brief.pdf.
[ii] County of Los Angeles Public Health, Division of HIV and STD Programs. 2013 Annual HIV Surveillance Report. Released April 2014. Available at: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/wwwfiles/ph/hae/hiv/2013AnnualSurveillanceReport.pdf.
[iii] The White House. National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States: Updated to 2020. Released July 2015. Available at: https://www.aids.gov/federal-resources/national-hiv-aids-strategy/nhas-update.pdf.
[iv] American Medical Student Association. Medical Student Debt. Accessed November 18, 2015. Available at: http://www.amsa.org/advocacy/action-committees/twp/medical-student-debt.
SOURCE ViiV Healthcare