Thomas Odeny, MBChB, MPH

Dr. Thomas Odeny, MBChB, MPH, a medical doctor from Kenya, is currently a Research Scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). His research interests are in the areas of Implementation Sciences in the global response to HIV/AIDS, engagement in the HIV care cascade, and the use of technological innovations to support HIV prevention efforts. As one of the 2013 Innovation Working Group grantees, he is Principal Investigator (PI) for a study entitled, “Texting to Improve Testing (TextIT): a cluster-randomized stepped-wedge trial of text messaging to improve postpartum retention in care and early infant diagnosis of HIV.” Previously, he was a Post-Graduate Fellow at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Prior to undertaking the IHME fellowship, he was a Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellow conducting research on the use of mobile phone technologies to support HIV prevention interventions. As a Fogarty Fellow, Dr. Odeny was PI for the study, “Improving uptake of early infant diagnosis of HIV for PMTCT: a randomized trial of a text messaging intervention.” Prior to that, he conducted a 1,200-person randomized trial on text messaging to improve outcomes after adult male circumcision for HIV prevention in Kenya. This study won him a nomination for the Top 11 in 2011 mHealth Innovators Challenge by the mHealth Alliance and Rockefeller Foundation, and a Young Investigator Award at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. At KEMRI, he is currently PI for an adaptive randomized trial on the comparative effectiveness of sequenced intervention strategies (text messaging, transportation vouchers, and peer navigators) to prevent initial lapses in retention of HIV care and to treat those that occur. He is also leading the mHealth component of a study on “Maximizing adherence and retention for women and infants in the context of Option B+ in Kenya” which compares theory based text messages versus community mentor mothers for supporting adherence to antiretroviral therapy and retention in care for HIV-positive women. Dr. Odeny is also a PhD candidate in Epidemiology at the University of Washington (UW) advised by Drs Scott McClelland, Elizabeth Bukusi, and King Holmes, and an international scholar at the UW International AIDS Research and Training Program. He remains committed to long-term service in both HIV programs and research in Kenya. Having come face-to-face with the magnitude of health disparities in Kenya, his passion is to become a more capable global health researcher working to reduce new HIV infections and finding more effective ways of providing and sustaining care in sub-Saharan Africa.



  1. Odeny T, Padian N, Doherty MC, Baral S, Beyrer C, Ford N, Geng EH. Definitions of implementation science in HIV/AIDS. The Lancet HIV. 2015;2(5):e178-e180.
  2. Geng E, Odeny T, Lyamuya R, Nakiwogga-Muwanga A, Diero L, Bwana M et al. Mortality among HIV-infected Persons on Antiretroviral Treatment in East Africa in an Observational Cohort Study: Assessing Variation in Effectiveness of HIV Treatment using a Sampling-based Approach. The Lancet HIV. 2015;2(3):e107-e116
  3. Duber HC, Dansereau E, Masters S, Achan J, Burstein R, DeCenso B, Gasasira A, Ikelezi G, Kisia C, Masiye F, Njuguna P, Odeny TA et al. Uptake of WHO recommendations for first-line antiretroviral therapy in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. PLOS One. 2015;10(3):e0120350.
  4. Odeny TA, Bukusi EA, Cohen CR, Yuhas K, Camlin CS, McClelland RS. Texting improves testing: a randomized trial of two-way SMS to increase postpartum prevention of mother-to-child transmission retention and infant HIV testing. 2014;28(15):2307-2312 2310.1097.
  5. Odeny TA, Newman M, Bukusi EA, McClelland RS, Cohen CR, Camlin CS. Developing Content for a mHealth Intervention to Promote Postpartum Retention in Prevention of Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission Programs and Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV: A Qualitative Study. PLOS One. 2014;9(9):e106383
  6. Odeny TA, Bailey RC, Bukusi EA, et al. Effect of Text Messaging to Deter Early Resumption of Sexual Activity After Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. Feb 1 2014;65(2):e50-57. PMCID: 3867588.
  7. Odeny TA, Penner J, Lewis-Kulzer J, Leslie HH, Shade SB, Adero W, et al. Integration of HIV Care with Primary Health Care Services: Effect on Patient Satisfaction and Stigma in Rural Kenya. AIDS Res Treat. 2013;2013:485715. PMCID: 3664481.
  8. Odeny TA, Bailey RC, Bukusi EA, Simoni JM, Tapia KA, Yuhas K, et al. Text messaging to improve attendance at post-operative clinic visits after adult male circumcision for HIV prevention: a randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e43832. PMCID: 3434192



Comments are closed.