Brandon Brown is a health services researcher and assistant professor in the Center for Healthy Communities at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine. His research interests include HIV and HPV-related disease, cancer prevention among underserved populations, use of pop culture for education, and ethical issues in outbreaks including the Ebola epidemic. He earned his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of California, Irvine, followed by a M.P.H. in epidemiology from UCLA. He then attended the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to earn his Ph.D. in international health, conducting his postdoctoral work in global health back at UCLA.
On HIV Prevention
I have been involved with both epidemiological and descriptive studies of HIV risk and stigma as a basis for future HIV interventions with members of marginalized communities, including men who have sex with men, female sex workers, and low income adolescents, both domestically and internationally in Peru, Nigeria, and Mexico. Included is substantive work with community based organizations (CBOs). My most recent work with the HIV Prevention Trials Network is an analysis of Project Accept, a cluster-randomized trial of community mobilization, mobile HIV testing, post-test support services, and real-time performance feedback in 34 communities in four sites in Africa and 14 communities in Thailand.
On Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Much of my recent work focuses on STD epidemiology and the relationship between HIV and HPV for HPV prevention among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women, illustrating differences between these populations. This includes two large prospective cohort studies. One includes an examination of the impact of genital warts on HIV incidence in a group at high risk for HIV in Peru. Another includes developing new technologies for detecting syphilis infection, and methods to halt the syphilis epidemic. These innovative studies will contribute to how we view both genital warts and syphilis when we are considering treatment and identification of infection.
On Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
My early publications focused on HPV prevention and clinical trials with female sex workers in Lima, Peru. I conducted the first HPV vaccine clinical trial focused on a highly exposed population, and am continuing to promote the HPV vaccine in groups classically described as being at high risk and therefore are not included in HPV interventions, or any interventions which target the sexually naïve population. These groups include sex workers, MSM, and those over the current age limit for the vaccine. My current work includes working with the local Peruvian government to facilitate HPV vaccine initiation at the time women enter into legalized sex work. I have also worked on studies related to barriers and facilitators to HPV vaccine uptake among children and adolescents in the United States, and HPV related stigma among women in Mexico.
On Pop Culture and Health
I am creating a large body of work using pop culture to educate the populace on important public health issues. Drawing inspiration from interests of the general population, I have used Ebola to educate on measles, superheroes to teach about public health, and zombies to increase awareness of neglected public health problems such as rabies. These projects are proving successful at gaining the target population’s interest. I have also written on how to use pop culture and media to engage students in higher education related to public health.
I have worked on several projects related to Ebola, including ethical issues related to obligation to care for patients, the role of Ebola survivors, compassionate use of treatment, issues related to travel and black market blood transfusion, and stakeholder engagement. I have also completed a report of Ebola knowledge and attitudes among college students in the United States, and the role of knowledge in curbing the Ebola epidemic.