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Dr. Kanamori Nishimura to Present Advancing HIV Prevention and Care through Innovative Pharmacy Strategies at Pivotal HIV Pharmacy Research Symposium

Mariano Juan Kanamori Nishimura, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine will be representing the university on June 29th at the HIV Pharmacy Research Symposium, a virtual conference themed "Pharmacy-Centered HIV Research: Current Landscape and Future Frontiers."

Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the NIH Office of AIDS Research (OAR), the HIV Pharmacy Research Symposium is a highly anticipated event that aims to foster collaboration and explore research opportunities in utilizing pharmacies for HIV testing, prevention, and care. Esteemed researchers, pharmacists, pharmacy-involved professionals, community members, and federal partners will converge to discuss innovative strategies for enhancing HIV-related services within pharmacy settings.

The virtual meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 28th, and Thursday, June 29th, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET each day.

Dr. Kanamori Nishimura
Dr. Kanamori Nishimura

The symposium emphasizes the importance of translating scientific knowledge into practical applications and working collaboratively across industries to achieve shared objectives. By combining the efforts of academia, healthcare practitioners, and federal institutions, effective models for pharmacy-based delivery and support of HIV-related services can be established.

Dr. Kanamori Nishimura will present "A Novel Community-Retail Pharmacy Partnership to Advance HIV PrEP Among Latinx Men in Miami." This talk will delve into three biomedical HIV prevention projects conducted in collaboration with CVS Health, he stated.

The three initiatives form part of the federal strategy "Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S." (EHE), which aims to lessen HIV transmission and enhance healthcare for affected communities.

The first project aims to raise awareness and encourage Latinx men who have sex with men (MSM) to utilize critical HIV protection, diagnosis, and treatment services by leveraging four networks: parks, social, pharmacy, and radio. By utilizing these networks, the project intends to improve access to critical healthcare resources.

For the second project, a hybrid implementation-effectiveness randomized controlled trial will be conducted. The trial will combine a social network support component and a one-stop-shop PrEP component.

"The goal is to facilitate the initiation of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) among Latinx MSM. Through support from social networks and a comprehensive PrEP service, the project aims to increase the adoption of PrEP within the target population," Dr. Kanamori Nishimura said.

The third project will use CVS Health services and infrastructure to launch a unique pharmacy chain-based PrEP campaign. This program aims to help Latinx people learn about PrEP, assess its significance in their life, obtain PrEP medicine, and maintain its use. The project’s goal is to improve PrEP information, accessibility, and long-term adherence for Latinx people in Miami by leveraging CVS Health resources.

The provision of healthcare services by pharmacies is essential for fostering a stigma- and judgment-free atmosphere for patients. They are easily accessible thanks to their flexible business hours and widespread presence in communities afflicted by HIV. The U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy for 2022–2025 acknowledges the value of pharmacies and pharmacists in enhancing population health and access to HIV care.

"The HIV Pharmacy Research Symposium will bring together critical stakeholders engaged in leveraging opportunities to reach diverse populations that will accelerate HIV prevention, testing, and treatment opportunities. These groundbreaking efforts have tremendous potential for favorably impacting population health in communities, large and small, across the U.S.," said David J. Lee, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences. 

The HIV Pharmacy Research Symposium will be held in partnership with the Fogarty International Center (FIC), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).

Participants are invited to join this pivotal symposium, where innovative approaches will be explored, knowledge will be shared, and a vision for a future where pharmacies play a critical role in HIV prevention, testing, and care will be developed.

Meeting registration and current agenda can be found here.

Written by Deycha Torres Hernández
Published on June 28, 2023