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IUPUI Magazine

Business Issue, Summer 2007

Medical school partnership earns Nobel nomination

Article by Ric Burrous

The world-wide battle against HIV and AIDS is fought on many fronts, and one of those front lines - medical education - has turned the international spotlight on an IU School of Medicine partnership through a 2007 Noble Peace Prize nomination.

The IUPUI-based medical school's partnership with the Moi University School of Medicine in the east African nation of Kenya, known as AMPATH (Academic Model for Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS) treats more than 40,000 HIV-positive Kenyan patients at 19 clinics throughout the country's western region.

The nomination came from political science professors Scott Pegg of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and David Mason of Butler University. This year's Peace Prize winner will be announced in October.

AMPATH has its roots in a medical school collaboration born in the early 1990s between the IU School of Medicine and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret. Dr. Joseph Mamlin, a professor emeritus of medicine at the IUPUI-based school and current AMPATH field director, saw the number of AIDS-related deaths climb from less than 100 in his early visits to more than 1,000 by his full-time return to Kenya in 2000. Such losses illustrated the need for a full-fledged program, and AMPATH was born.

The unusual nature of the program is that it extends beyond care for HIV/AIDS patients. The hospital site also includes nearby fields and workshops that provide food, jobs and agricultural assistance, decreasing the social stigma of the disease's victims and increasing their self-sufficiency.

"This partnership is not only one of the largest and most comprehensive HIV/AIDS programs in the world, it is a model of U.S.-Africa institutional cooperation. This model can be replicated throughout the developing world, and thus put a halt to a pandemic that may soon pass the Black Death to become the most brutal killer in human history," Pegg and Mason note in their letter of nomination.