Area of Expertise: AIDS - VACCINE TRIALS., Zika
I’m a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the UPR School of Medicine, certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Academy of HIV Medicine. I have experience in both
Obstetrics and Gynecology and HIV related research that includes behavioral interventions and clinical trials with HIV infected and at risk populations, as well as with pregnant and non-pregnant women. I was part of the group of examiners for the American Oral Board of Ob-Gyn (ABOG) for 22 years and Past Residency Program Director for the UPR Ob-Gyn program. I established an infrastructure for the care of pregnant and non-pregnant women. The transmission rate of HIV infection among the more than 500 infants born to pregnant women living with HIV during the past 13 years at our clinic has been near zero. I’m currently the PI of the UPR Clinical Trials Unit (UPR-CTU), a merge of clinical trials units including the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (IMPAACT), the Adult Clinical Trials Unit (ACTG) and the UPR Mentoring Institute for HIV and Mental Health sponsored by NIMH. I have been a consultant for diverse national and international organizations including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Agency for Health Research Quality (AHRQ) and others, and a former member of the Office of Women’s Health Advisory Committee and the CDC/HRSA AIDS and STD Advisory Committee (CHAC). Some of the distinctions that I have received include: PR Senate resolution and Distinction (1990), UPR President’s Recognition (2000); listed in the 30 people to watch by POZ Magazine; the AMSA Raising Our Voices: Women Leaders in Medicine Award and a distinction from the PR HIV Treaters Association. We established the first group prenatal care program in PR (Centering Pregnancy) with funds from the Innovation Center of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This is the first Spanish Centering Program outside of the Mainland US. One of the outcomes of the program has been the reduction in preterm births and low birth weight among infants born of women enrolled in group prenatal care at the University Hospital. Expanding the program in order to impact and improve the health of mothers and infants is also one of my professional goals. I’m part of the group of leaders who spearheaded the research response to the emerging Zika epidemic among pregnant women in PR. We also established a multidisciplinary clinic for pregnant women with Zika. I’m the site PI for the Zika in Infants and Pregnancy (ZIP Study) in San Juan. On September 20, 2017 Puerto Rico was impacted by Hurricane Maria (Category 4) which devastated the island and produced a collapse in the Island’s power system. Because of this, water, health services, education, economy, fuel distribution and essential services were interrupted. I had the opportunity to write a perspective article in the NEJM describing our initial experience.