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UCLA Magazine Winter 2004
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Winter 2004
East Meets Westwood
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Roger Detels with current Fogarty Fellows (from left) Warunee Punpanich of Thailand, Guoping Ji of China, Chhorvann Chhea of Cambodia, Yuji Feng of China and Nhu To Nguyen of Vietnam.

In much of southeast Asia, China and India, the fight against HIV/AIDS is being led by UCLA alumni — trainees sent here to learn from the best

by Dan Gordon '85
Photograph by Stephanie Dini

FROM HIS VANTAGE POINT as a team leader overseeing the UNAIDS effort in the Asia-Pacific region, Swarup Sarkar M.S. ’94 is sometimes able to step back from the trenches of the battle against HIV— which has infected 7.4 million of the continent’s people — and allow himself to view the big picture.

When the graduate of the UCLA/Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) takes stock of the ground war against HIV/AIDS in this part of the world far from Westwood, he sees the enormous influence of his alma mater. “Most of the people working on these issues in the region have been trained at UCLA,” he says. “Dealing with issues that are difficult and controversial, such as hidden populations and gay sex, needed a vision, particularly in countries where you have to convince governments to allocate money for a problem that isn’t apparent to them yet. I see the work my colleagues are doing, and I am inspired.”

Survey the leaders of HIV/AIDS-prevention-and-control programs in Southeast Asia, India, China and other regions, and you’re likely to be struck by their familiarity with the UCLA campus. Since 1988, the UCLA/Fogarty AITRP has provided master’s- and doctoral-level training to more than 130 health professionals from China, India, Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Laos and Hungary. They learn basic epidemiology and other public-health fundamentals that help prepare them to return to leadership positions at home, where they now form an influential UCLA alumni association on the other side of the globe.


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