UM AIDS Institute Receives Gift, Partnership from Palm Beach Infectious Diseases Institute

The University of Miami‘s newly established HIV/AIDS Institute has received a $250,000 pledge of support from the Palm Beach Infectious Diseases Institute (PBIDI). The funding is part of a new partnership between the centers that will help further the HIV/AIDS Institute’s research capacity, drive education initiatives and support innovative collaborations with researchers at other institutions in South Florida.

Istvan Krisko, M.D., Ph.D., P.A., founder and President of the PBIDI, took part in a ceremonial handshake at the UM Miller School of Medicine last week with Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth, Mario Stevenson, Ph.D., professor of medicine, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine and Co-Director of the Center for AIDS Research, and Gordon M. Dickinson, M.D., professor of medicine and public health sciences.

“This is huge because HIV is here, and Miami has been one of the epicenters from the beginning,” said Krisko. “The world is lucky to have the institute here. This means a lot for those who are afflicted and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

As part of the partnership, the PBIDI will become a component of the HIV/AIDS Institute, which was given provisional approval until it goes before the UM Faculty Senate for full approval.

“UM and the South Florida region have some of the world’s leading HIV clinicians and researchers,” said Goldschmidt. “Partnering with other dedicated local agencies is essential to winning the war on HIV and AIDS and will allow us to be even more innovative in helping those at risk and infected.”

The PBIDI will also work closely with the UM Office of Medical Development to help raise additional funds in the Palm Beach County area. Krisko will serve on the Institute’s Board of Governors and help guide its strategy.

“The war against HIV and AIDS is a team effort. We need to marshal the troops, so that way we are able to bring the strongest weapons to bear,” said Stevenson, a world-renowned AIDS researcher who has been instrumental in recruiting top HIV/AIDS scientists to UM.

Stevenson established the HIV/AIDS Institute in late 2014 with the help of a $1 million research grant from the State of Florida. The Institute was created to coordinate and integrate all AIDS research and clinical activities at the Miller School of Medicine. The mission is to stimulate innovation, support and create synergistic collaborations among the School’s interdisciplinary HIV/AIDS initiatives and, above all, advance the understanding, prevention and treatment of HIV- and AIDS-associated malignancies.

While the Institute has an HIV/AIDS focus, part of its mission will be to foster research and training in infectious diseases in general.

As South Florida leads the nation in HIV infection rates, Stevenson said the PBIDI is a much-needed resource in the University’s mission to find a vaccine and cure.

“In the quest for a cure, we need to fund innovative research, an area that the federal government is less likely to take a chance on, so partnering with the state and agencies such as the Palm Beach Infectious Diseases Institute will allow the UM AIDS Institute to stay innovative and on the cutting edge of AIDS research,” he said.

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