Alumni Spotlight: Linda Kimaru, MPH

Woman dressed in lab coat

Grand Canyon University alumni are making a meaningful difference in our communities and in our world. It gives me great pleasure to share the success of one of our Master of Public Health (MPH) graduates, Linda Kimaru.

Linda graduated from the GCU MPH program in 2013 and has transitioned from an exceptional public health student, to an exceptional public health professional.

Linda works with the Zambia Emory HIV Research Project (ZEHRP), which is under the umbrella of Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group (RZHRG). She is involved in research on HIV-discordant couples voluntary counseling and testing (CVCT), in which one partner in the unit (couple) is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative. HIV-discordant couples are consented and enrolled into a study that looks at the incidence and demographic, behavioral, clinical and laboratory predictors of the heterosexual transmission of HIV in discordant couples.

As a laboratory manager and study coordinator, Linda supervises quality control testing and coordinates the next steps following the identification of seroincidences in the CVCT virtual cohort, which is made up of 40 government clinics within the Copperbelt region of Zambia. The project offers CVCT over the weekends to utilize government clinic staff during off-duty hours.

Linda is also involved in work with two key population cohorts — specifically HIV-negative female sex workers (FSW) and single sexually active women in determination of incidence and risk factors of HIV. She coordinates recruitment, screening, enrollment, follow-up, retention and management of data that is generated at each of these phases for these two groups.

During study screening enrollment and follow-up, the project provides HIV and STI testing and counseling as well as family planning counseling. The two major types of contraceptives offered are the intrauterine copper device (IUCD) and hormonal implant (Jadelle), which are long-acting reversible contraceptives.

Linda had an opportunity to present a poster presentation on her research at the HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) Conference in Cape Town, South Africa in October 2014, titled “Zambia FSW-Risks Descriptors: HIV, Retention, Condom Use and Trichomonas Vaginalis/Sperm Trends Over Time,” and co-authored another presentation on another topic with the same cohort.

Linda had this to say about the MPH program at GCU: “The MPH from GCU has greatly prepared me for my current position. Without the knowledge I acquired from GCU’s MPH program – especially in the evidence-based research course – I would have not been able to accomplish the tasks required at my current employment.”

Keep up the wonderful work, Linda! GCU and I are very proud of your accomplishments.

For more information on earning a public health degree from GCU, contact us today!

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