UC San Diego and Verizon Team to Improve Tuberculosis Care

Verizon Foundation to provide grant and in-kind technology solutions to scale up novel approach to monitoring adherence to TB treatment

As part of an innovative philanthropic health care program targeting reduction of health care disparities in diverse communities around the United States, the Verizon Foundation has provided the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine with a $300,000 grant, as well as important in-kind health information technology solutions.

The support from Verizon will allow researchers from the University to more quickly scale-up a mobile phone-based solution that they developed to overcome the high cost and other barriers to monitoring tuberculosis patients throughout their treatment…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Richard GarfeinLeading the program is Richard Garfein, PhD, MPH, left, professor of medicine in the Division of Global Public Health. Dr. Garfein, an infectious disease epidemiologist, joined the UC San Diego faculty from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005.

He is conducting the project in collaboration with the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

Demonstration of "video directly observed therapy"At right, Dr. Garfein’s daughter demonstrates a smartphone video app that makes it possible for a distant clinician to confirm that a patient has taken a dose of tuberculosis medication.

The approach is called “video directly observed therapy” (VDOT). Dr. Garfein and collaborators have demonstrated the feasibility, acceptability and potential efficacy of VDOT in an NIH-funded pilot study in San Diego and Tijuana. Their mHealth Summit Meeting abstract for the project is published in the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine.

In the next six months, with the Verizon Foundation’s assistance, they will expand the VDOT smartphone app for broader use.

Dr. Steffanie Strathdee“This is a new and exciting direction and a new funding source for UCSD,” said Steffanie Strathdee, PhD, Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the UC San Diego Division of Global Public Health.

She directs the UC San Diego Global Health Initiative and is founding co-director of the UC Global Health Institute’s Center for Migration and Health.

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