Ask, Don’t Tell: text messaging for engaging patients in HIV care

Event Date & Time: 
January 9, 2014 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Richard Lester, MD
Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine
University of British Columbia
Medical Head, Division of STI/HIV Control, BC Centre for Disease Control

Location: Pelton Auditorium, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Dr. Richard Lester is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of British Columbia and the Medical Head of STI/HIV Control at the BC Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver, Canada. He is also the founder of WelTel, an international organization committed to providing evidence-based, patient-centered health solutions through the use of innovative mobile technology. While living in Kenya during his HIV research fellowship through the University of Manitoba and University of Nairobi, Dr. Lester was the principal investigator of WelTel Kenya1, a randomized control trial for HIV-positive patients in Kenya. This trial provided some of the first evidence showing mobile phone use and text messaging via SMS for patient care support could significantly improve health outcomes in resource-limited settings.  These findings, published in the Lancet in 2010, have been widely discussed in global media including The Economist and Nature magazines. Dr. Lester has also presented his work at the World Health Organization’s meeting on Retention in HIV Care and at the US Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator.  He is currently working to advance health outcomes evidence for mobile health (mHealth) in multiple African and Canadian settings and to scale-up WelTel as a service globally and locally.

Dr. Lester will be speaking about the use of mobile devices to improve health outcomes and health care services, with a focus on text-messaging interventions that promote self-care.

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