Global WACh


March 29, 2022

New publication on implementation of HIV retesting guidelines for pregnant and postpartum women in Kenya

Categories: , ,

The February 2022 edition of Global Health: Science and Practice features a new publication by UW Global WACh students, Monalisa Penumetsa (DGH MPH alumni) and Epidemiology PhD student Jillian Neary, and faculty (Drs. Alison Drake and Grace John-Stewart)– “Implementation of HIV Retesting During Pregnancy and Postpartum in Kenya: A Cross Sectional Study.” The study aimed to measure the prevalence of maternal HIV retesting in Kenya, and HIV incidence among Kenyan mothers. (more…)

December 13, 2021

Global WACh welcomes new staff to the UW team


We are pleased to introduce the newest additions to our UW team!  These team members provide crucial administrative, research, and data management support to individual studies and the Center as a whole.


May 6, 2020

Global WACh Certificate student, Kristen Trivelli, named Husky 100


Image may contain: 1 person, closeup and text

Kristen Trivelli, a recent graduate of the School of Nursing and the Global WACh Graduate Certificate Program, was named a Husky 100!  The Husky 100 recognizes 100 undergraduate and graduate students who are making the most of their time at the UW.  Congrats to Kristen and other students across all three UW campuses for their outstanding work and achievements.

View all of the Husky 100 named in 2020 and years prior:

Read our post about how she teamed up with nurses in Zimbabwe to understand how breastfeeding education is given and how parents receive education, and share findings with stakeholders to improve rates of exclusive breastfeeding:

March 9, 2020

Introducing Preston Owiti, UW/UoN Pediatrics Collaborative Research Lab Manager


Global WACh welcomes Preston Owiti, the new Laboratory Manager for the University of Washington/University of Nairobi’s Pediatrics Collaborative Research Laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya. The late Brian Khasimwa previously held this position for 10 years. In this role, Preston is responsible for the management of laboratory operations and coordination of laboratory activities to support several research studies within Global WACh and the Department of Global Health. (more…)

January 2, 2020

Announcing leadership transitions within Global WACh


Global WACh is thrilled to begin 2020 with the announcement of two new members of our leadership team. Dr. Judd Walson will join Dr. Grace John-Stewart as Co-Director of the Center and Dr. Donna Denno will take over as the Center’s Associate Director, representing the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Denno will be taking over this role from Dr. Maneesh Batra, who is stepping down after eight years in the position to expand his time working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He will continue to be an active Global WACh community member. We thank Dr. Batra for his outstanding contributions of wisdom and insight that have been invaluable to our success as a Center! (more…)

July 18, 2018

Global WACh Wishes Margaret Thompson, Pre-Award Grant Manager, a Happy Retirement!



With sadness but warmest wishes for her future, Global WACh announces Margaret Thompson’s retirement on August 1st.  She has supported the Center as the Pre-Award Grant Manager, helping faculty and trainees navigate the complex grant submission processes in pursuit of scientific discovery to benefit women, adolescents, and children around the world.  She also serves as the Program Manager of the Kenya Research & Training Center (KRTC), supporting the administrative and operational needs of the Center and its faculty members. She is a critical social presence in the workplace, assisting with the University’s Whole U “Raise The Bar” initiative last summer and hosting the annual holiday party in her home. (more…)

SCOPE trains community leaders and health workers as Maternal Health Advocates for FLAME study


In June, the SCOPE program held a training for their FLAME study in Gondar, Ethiopia. FLAME, which stands for Faith Leaders Advocating for Maternal Empowerment, is testing an intervention that brings communities together to improve access to antenatal and delivery care for women in rural Ethiopia. The training brought 122 community leaders and health workers from across the North Gondar region who will be change agents in their community and promote safe pregnancy and delivery. The study, led by Dr. Getahun Asres at the University of Gondar, will follow the work of these change agents, known as Maternal Health Advocates, over the next year to see if their outreach increases the use of lifesaving and free health services in Ethiopia.  Follow our graduate student fellows from the University of Washington on the SCOPE blog, SCOPE stories, as they work alongside our partners at the University of Gondar in implementing the program. (more…)

July 10, 2018

Dr. Jillian Pintye receives award to measure antiretroviral exposure in mothers and infants using hair samples


Dr. Jillian Pintye, PhD, RN, MPH, Senior Fellow and Trainee with Global WACh and the Department of Global Health, is a recipient of a NIH R21 Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award!  Her project entitled “Assessing Mother and Infant Antiretroviral Exposure Using Hair Measures” is a two-year grant that will begin in the coming weeks and end during summer 2020.  She is serving as one of two Primary Investigators with Dr. Monica Gandhi from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who is a leader in the field of HIV and women, and biomarkers for antiretroviral therapy exposure.

Together, they are working with Dr. Deborah Kacanek from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) to learn more about antiretroviral exposures from pregnant women to their babies.  Although antiretroviral (ARV) medication is a key strategy to prevent maternal-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), there is less research around the degree of transfer of ARV from mother to baby during pregnancy.  How much of the medication actually transfers to babies in utero?

To answer this question, Dr. Pintye and her team will analyze ARV concentrations from 700 hair samples collected from the NIH-funded “Surveillance Monitoring for ART Toxicities Study in HIV-uninfected Children Born to HIV-infected Women (SMARTT)” study cohort.  Some ARVs can be harmful to mothers and babies, and the adverse health outcomes varies from drug to drug.  By measuring hair concentrations, the team can find patterns of drug exposure and toxicity levels, and assess which HIV regimens are safe and effective.  ARV toxicity is a concern because it is associated with adverse birth outcomes, manifesting as stillbirths, low birth weight, or birth defects.  Lower toxicity to babies in utero reduces adverse pregnancy or other infant outcomes.

The results of this study will help inform researchers and health care providers on which regimens HIV-positive mothers should take during pregnancy.  Selecting the right medication can maximize protection for PMTCT, while minimizing toxicity to the infant and saving their lives.

Congratulations to Dr. Pintye and her colleagues for their award!  We look forward to learning what their research reveals.

May 3, 2018

You’re invited to Global WACh’s annual end-of-year celebration!


4 – 6 PM
University of Washington Husky Union Building Lyceum
4001 Stevens Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115

Kindly RSVP your attendance: 

Join us in celebrating our achievements this year in research, training, and service!  Dr. Amita Gupta, MD, MHS of Johns Hopkins University will present the keynote address for our exciting one-hour program featuring speakers leading in the field of preventing mother-to-child pathogenic transmission.  Following the program, come network with Global WACh researchers and community members at our reception and poster session.  We are pleased to feature capstone projects of graduating students from the Global WACh Certificate Program.  Light refreshments will be served.

Welcome Address

Dr. Grace John-Stewart, MD, PhD, MPH
Director, Global WACh
Professor, UW Epidemiology, Global Health, Medicine, and Pediatrics



Keynote: Inclusion of pregnant women in therapeutic trials for prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Why it really matters!

Dr. Amita Gupta, MD, MHS
Deputy Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education
Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Infectious Diseases Division


Caregivers as a potential source for Cryptosprodium infection in Kenyan children

Dr. Patricia Pavlinac, PhD, MSc
Assistant Professor, UW Global Health



Preventing HIV acquisition among mothers during pregnancy

Dr. Jillian Pintye, PhD, RN, MPH
Senior Fellow, UW Global Health



Herpesviruses and HIV-infection in women and their children: Emerging opportunities for intervention

Dr. Jennifer Slyker, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor, UW Global Health
Adjunct Assistant Professor, UW Epidemiology



An exoskeleton to improve walking in children with neuromuscular disorders

Jessica Zistatsis, ME
Graduate Researcher, UW Steele Ability & Innovation Lab




Planning to drive to the event?  Parking is available in  Pedelford Garage, which is conveniently located near the Husky Union Building (HUB).

March 8, 2018

International Women’s Day 2018: Celebrating Women in Science


On International Women’s Day, we celebrate women in science who dedicate their knowledge and expertise to improve the health of women throughout all stages of life.  Women and girls can build a healthier future for generations to come and it is important nourish, educate, and empower them.  Today, we are pleased to feature a story of one researcher’s journey to self-empowerment through her research explorations.


In March and September of 2017, Global WACh highlighted Dr. Linnet Masese (then a Postdoctoral Fellow at the UW Department of Medicine and Clinic Section Head at the UW/University of Nairobi Research) and three published manuscripts from her study supported by Global WACh seed grant funding in 2011.  The grant award marked her entry into adolescent reproductive health research, a field she has grown to love despite the challenges accompanying clinical research on adolescents. These include long waits for ethical committee review approvals, low participant recruitment and retention, and issues around consent, confidentiality, and parental roles in supporting in the research protocol. The challenges she faced and overcame have only fueled her passion in this field.

 “I had always worked with adolescents through my church but working on adolescent reproductive health provided a distinctive avenue through which I could impact and train the girls on reproductive health matters. Besides talking about reproductive health issues, visiting high schools and universities provided a mentorship avenue. I have been able to reach out to and inspire many girls and young women. This has turned out to be an immensely rewarding experience.”

As part of her doctoral research at UW under the mentorship of Dr. Scott McClelland, Dr. Masese conducted a study to assess the incidence and correlates of chlamydia in a cohort of high-risk women in Mombasa, Kenya. Their research demonstrated that the incidence of chlamydia infection among young women under 25 years in Mombasa who reported transactional sex was 27.6/100 person-years, meaning 1 in every 4 young women acquired chlamydia during the study period.  They presented their findings to visiting faculty from the University of Nairobi (UoN) in 2011.  One of the faculty members, Dr. Grace Omoni asked if she had ever considered expanding her research to the general population of adolescents and young women, given the startlingly high incidence among high-risk women.  Because young women in Kenya bear the greatest burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Dr. Masese took this question to heart.

“Luckily, this was around the time Global WACh put out its first call for the Integrated Health Seed Grant proposals!”

With Dr. McClelland’s help, she drafted a full proposal to conduct a study employing qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the feasibility of screening for STIs among female students (age 15-24 years) in high schools and colleges. The qualitative component included in-depth interviews and focus group discussions among adolescents, young women, parents of adolescents, and institutional leaders. The quantitative component involved STIs urine screenings of young women. After the proposal was awarded, Dr. Masese initiated the qualitative work as soon as ethical approval was granted.

Complexities around parental notification, confidentiality, and stigma soon arose. Dr. Masese demonstrated her ability to listen, understand, and consider everyone’s viewpoints and still meet her research goals.  In brief, she found that young women were willing to be screened for STIs and parents were willing to allow their adolescent daughters to be screened.  School settings, however, were not a preferred testing location, due to stigma. Therefore, sample collection and testing were conducted at the UW/UoN Clinic at Ganjoni and the UW Research Laboratory in Mombasa respectively.  With some adolescents and young women divided on their willingness to share test results with their parents, Dr. Masese worked with the Kenyatta National Hospital Ethics and Research Committee to determine the best, straightforward approach—to share results with parents only if their daughters gave verbal consent to do so.

Following the qualitative phase, she helped developed a school-based recruitment strategy linked to a clinic-based intervention, which successfully screened 451 girls and young women for STIs using a urine nucleic acid amplification test. The overall prevalence of STIs in this population was 5.8%.  Self-reported unprotected sex was associated with a 6-fold higher odds of having an STI.  Overall, Dr. Masese’s study and subsequent publications suggest that expanded school-based interventions are possible and can be a way to encourage adolescents and young women to seek STI screening, care, and support.  The results also suggest that STI screening interventions are feasible and acceptable when conducted in collaboration with students, parents, and influential members of the community.

Following the success of the study and gain of valuable research experience, Dr. Masese received funding in 2014 from the Fogarty International Center through the Northern Pacific Global Health Fellowship for a new adolescent study.  In this study, she used a method called “capture-recapture” to estimate the population size of girls 9-13 years who were not enrolled in school.  This population is important to follow in vaccination planning, as they would be missed by a school-based HPV vaccination program.  To further inform vaccine preparedness, Dr. Masese and her team will also quantify prevalence and correlates of high-risk HPV infection in 13-17 year old girls, both in and out of school.

Dr. Masese says she is excited about adolescent reproductive health research and hopes to continue working and impacting young people in Kenya and other parts of the world.  As she offers gratitude to Global WACh for helping her start her research career path, we show gratitude to her and all extraordinary women researchers for striving to improve life for themselves and for all women.

Next page