HIVMA Recognizes Excellence in HIV Clinical Education and Research With 2023 Awards
The HIV Medicine Association is pleased to recognize three members during IDWeek 2023 for their contributions to advancing the field of HIV medicine.
“These outstanding members and their commitment to providing care and driving research in the field and advocating for policies that improve health equity are a vital part of our efforts to end the HIV epidemic,” said Michelle Cespedes, MD, MS, chair of HIVMA. “I’m proud to present them with these awards and shine a light on the incredible efforts they’ve led to create healthier communities.”
Transformative Leader Award: Judith Feinberg, MD, FIDSA
The Transformative Leader Award recognizes HIVMA members who have transformed the field through significant achievement in HIV clinical care, provider education, research or advocacy. This year’s honoree is Judith Feinberg, MD, FIDSA.
Dr. Feinberg — a professor of medicine/infectious diseases and behavioral medicine and psychiatry at the West Virginia University School of Medicine — has been at the forefront of the HIV epidemic since the start of her career when her research made major contributions to the understanding of the treatment of HIV and its complications. While at the University of Cincinnati she identified the link between a rise in endocarditis cases and a new epidemic of opioid injection drug use in Southern Ohio. She is now widely recognized for her research and expertise on the intersection of the injection opioid epidemic and its associated medical and infectious complications.
Dr. Feinberg led the essential work gathering data and support to establish The Cincinnati Exchange Project, Ohio’s third syringe exchange and its first true syringe services program. After a long career in HIV clinical research, she was recruited to West Virginia University in 2015, where she launched the WVU research program to evaluate and implement solutions at the intersection of injection drug use, hepatitis B and C, HIV and other infectious diseases. This includes the West Virginia Hepatitis Academic Mentoring Partnership, a program launched in 2020 to teach and support primary and addiction care providers to screen, diagnose and treat patients who have chronic hepatitis C in rural West Virginia communities that has guided treatment for more than 1,200 patients and has achieved a 98.7% cure rate. This year, Dr. Feinberg developed a parallel program to teach and support primary care providers to diagnose and manage HIV in the community in response to multiple recent outbreaks.
In addition to being the E.B. Flink Vice Chair of Medicine for Research, Dr. Feinberg is a past chair of both HIVMA and the American Academy of HIV Medicine — the only person to have chaired both professional organizations. She has also served on numerous federal and state committees dedicated to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and the opioid epidemic.
HIVMA is delighted to present Dr. Feinberg with the 2023 Transformative Leader Award for her decades of dedication to improving the health of individuals with HIV and substance use disorders.
Innovator Award: Nwora Lance Okeke, MD, MPH
The Innovator Award recognizes HIVMA members in early or mid-career who have made outstanding and original contributions to HIV medicine in clinical care, provider education, research or advocacy.
The 2023 recipient is Nwora Lance Okeke, MD, MPH.
Dr. Okeke — an assistant professor of medicine in infectious diseases and population health sciences at Duke University School of Medicine — leads a growing research program focused on optimizing the HIV care continuum, from prevention to comorbidity management using contemporary data and implementation science-informed approaches.
To date, Dr. Okeke’s work has yielded more than 55 peer-reviewed publications. He is currently the co-principal investigator on a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-funded research initiative that seeks to use electronic health record-based predictive modeling to identify persons who would most benefit from pre-exposure prophylaxis in the Deep South.
In addition to his research, he also serves as the current vice chief of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Duke Division of Infectious Diseases and associate director of the Duke Infectious Diseases Fellowship Training Program. In these roles, he has developed a number of innovative educational initiatives to promote the delivery of equitable care in the field of infectious diseases. One of his projects is the HIV Clinical Practice Fellowship Quality Improvement Initiative, which provides a platform for infectious diseases fellows to use data-driven approaches to identify and address health inequities in HIV care at Duke. Dr. Okeke is also the founding director of the Evidence2Practice initiative, an innovative program that promotes careers in HIV science to students at historically Black colleges and universities by highlighting HIV-related implementation research. The program has held interactive three-day workshops at 10 HBCUs across the South to date.
HIVMA is proud to recognize Dr. Okeke’s innovative work in research and education with the 2023 Innovator Award.
HIVMA Citation Award: Barbara Gripshover, MD, FIDSA
The HIVMA Citation Award recognizes exemplary contributions or service to HIVMA and/or in advancing efforts to end HIV as an epidemic, such as through social justice and public service. This year the award goes to Barbara Gripshover, MD, FIDSA.
Dr. Gripshover — medical director of the John T. Carey Special Immunology Unit at the University Hospitals of Cleveland since 1997 — is dedicated to advocating for people with HIV and providing the highest level of care. She is also a professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and has been an attending physician at the University Hospitals of Cleveland Department of Medicine since 1993.
The Special Immunology Unit clinic has grown under Dr. Gripshover’s leadership, with the support of Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funding, into one of the largest HIV clinics providing comprehensive care in Northeastern Ohio.
Dr. Gripshover has been recognized with numerous awards for providing compassionate patient care, including the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine 2022 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awardand the Master Clinician Educator Award from the Department of Medicine at CWRU. Her commitment to her patients goes well beyond the clinic. She has served on a number of local Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program advisory councils and has been a leader in helping to reform Ohio’s HIV criminalization laws.
She is a founding member of HIVMA’s Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition and regularly advocates with federal policymakers to enact policies that address the challenges experienced by people with HIV and their providers.
HIVMA is pleased to honor Dr. Gripshover with the 2023 HIVMA Citation Award for her exceptional leadership and advocacy for people with HIV and their providers.
About the HIV Medicine Association
The HIV Medicine Association is the professional home for more than 5,000 physicians, scientists and other health care professionals dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. HIVMA is a community of health care professionals who advance a comprehensive and humane response to the HIV pandemic, informed by science and social justice. HIVMA is part of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. For more information, visit www.hivma.org.