AHF donates $250,000 to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Dr. Anne Rimoin for her study assessing COVID-19 transmission among health care workers in Los Angeles County
LOS ANGELES (May 1, 2020) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization currently caring for over 1.4 million HIV/AIDS patients in 45 countries around the globe, today announced a $250,000 contribution to the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health specifically targeted to support a study the school’s Dr. Anne Rimoin is undertaking to assess COVID-19 transmission among health care workers in Los Angeles County.
On February 28th, as the novel coronavirus was first gaining more of a toehold here in the U.S.—and causing more alarm and concern—AHF President Michael Weinstein saw Dr. Rimoin interviewed on “Real Time with Bill Maher” speaking about the disease and her proposed study of COVID-19 transmission among health care workers. After viewing the interview, Weinstein took steps to provide AHF’s financial support for her research.
Anne W. Rimoin, PhD, MPH, an epidemiologist, is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Infectious Disease Division of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She is an internationally recognized expert on global health, emerging infectious diseases, vaccine preventable diseases and disease surveillance systems in low-resource settings.
AHF is a medical organization with a more than thirty-year history of work in a previous and parallel deadly epidemic: HIV and AIDS. Over the years, as AHF expanded its global footprint of care and services, AHF also expanded its mission to include broader arenas of public health including response to Ebola, Zika and meningitis, among other diseases. In the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, two physicians working with or for AHF succumbed to the disease.
“I was impressed with Dr. Rimoin on ‘Real Time with Bill Maher.’ Both her expertise and grasp of the enormity of the public health threat that COVID-19 presents, particularly to health care providers, was considerable, even more so in light of how much we have stumbled in our overall national response to the pandemic,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “As a result, I consulted AHF’s Board of Directors and Senior Management in order to provide significant funding for the critical ‘real time’ research that Dr. Rimoin and her team at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine are now undertaking.”
“The COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative, which launched two weeks ago in partnership with UCLA Health, will ensure that frontline health care workers get the infection testing and antibody screening they so desperately need and provide us with critical data regarding asymptomatic and presymptomatic infection, immunity, and reinfection. We are providing an essential service to our health care heroes in L.A. and gathering research evidence that will inform important infection control and return-to-work policies regionally and across the country,” said Dr. Rimoin. “We are deeply grateful for AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s leadership gift to this critical study and excited to partner with them to protect our vulnerable health workforce and flatten the curve of this pandemic.”