Program Team Members

We appreciate the advice and guidance we receive on an ongoing basis from our V-BRCH Executive Committee and our V-BRCH Training Advisory Committee. We also appreciate the generous faculty mentors who have offered their valuable time to mentor our V-BRCH trainees through this program.

Program Manager
Chelsea van Wyk, MPH
Senior Population/Public Health Manager
Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health

  • aliyuMuktar Aliyu, MD, MPH, DrPH
    Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health
    VUMC Endowed Directorship in Global Health
    Professor of Health Policy and Medicine
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    westerC. William "Bill" Wester, M.D., MPH
    Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC)
    saniMahmoud Sani, MBBS, PhD
    Professor of Medicine and Dean of Clinical Sciences, Bayero University, Nigeria
    Consultant Cardiologist, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH)


  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital
    aliyuMuktar Aliyu, MD, DrPH, MPH is the director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health and professor of Health Policy and Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He holds the Endowed Directorship in Global Health. He attended medical school at the Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, and holds a master of public health degree (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) from the George Washington University, USA and a doctorate degree in public health (Epidemiology and International Health) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He trained in Community Medicine at AKTH and JUTH from 1997-2001 before leaving for the United States for further studies. He completed his residency training in occupational medicine at Meharry Medical College, USA in 2008, and a fellowship in general preventive medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, USA in 2009. He is a recipient of several awards, including the UAB Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, the American College of Preventive Medicine Rising Star Award, the UAB International Student Award for Academic Excellence, and the Mayo Foundation’s Summerskill Award for achievement in research, among others. Dr. Aliyu is a Principal investigator on the Vanderbilt-Nigeria Building Research Capacity in HIV/NCDs program (V-BRCH) and co-PI on other NIH-funded studies in Kano. saniMahmoud Sani, MBBS, PhD, is Professor of Medicine and Dean of the Bayero University Medical School. Dr. Sani is among Nigeria’s leading cardiologists and a foremost expert in acute heart failure, HIV and the heart, and epidemiology of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Sani oversees several Africa-wide heart disease registries and clinical trials for AKTH including studies on the Rheumatic heart disease (REMEDY) and  Pulmonary Hypertension (PAPUCO) . He has extensive training and mentoring experience of internal medicine and cardiology trainees at AKTH. As MPI Dr. Sani brings a wealth of experience in research administration, mentoring and successful execution of large funded grants.
    westerC. William (“Bill”) Wester, MD, MPH is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and the Associate Director for Faculty Development in Global Health.  He is also a core faculty member of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH).  Dr. Wester earned his MD degree from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and his MPH degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  The goal of his research includes long-term HIV complications with a focus on HIV-associated kidney disease and implementation science in resource-constrained settings of the world. As an expert in global health, Dr. Wester has been integrally involved in the scale-up of comprehensive HIV services within sub-Saharan Africa for the past 20+ years.  He lived and worked in Botswana (2000-2008) for the Harvard School of Public Health (Botswana-Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative) and was integral to the establishment of its national public antiretroviral treatment program. Since returning to the U.S. in 2008, he has remained actively involved in HIV scale-up, now leading/directing large programs in (i) Mozambique, where he serves as Principal Investigator/Project Director of the large (CDC/PEPFAR-funded) Vanderbilt University Medical Center/Friends in Global Health (2012-present) HIV technical assistance project (“Avante: Towards Epidemic Control”) initiative supporting HIV care and treatment in 144 health facilities where more than 250,000 persons are receiving potentially life-saving combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Zambézia Province, Mozambique; and (ii) Nigeria, where he and collaborators are conducting an NIH (NIDDK-funded) clinical trial evaluating the optimal means to reduce the risk for long-term kidney complications among HIV-positive adults and are actively involved in building clinical trials capacity in HIV and NCDs as part of the recently initiated 5-year NIH / Fogarty International Center-funded Vanderbilt-Nigeria Building Research Capacity in HIV and Non-Communicable Diseases (V-BRCH) D43 training program.  ahmedFatimah Tsiga-Ahmed, MSc  is a public health physician and coordinator of the Master of Science in Public Health Program at Bayero University Kano (BUK) and Amino Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH). As an instructor in the public health residency training program and the BUK medical school she has mentored several early career physicians and medical students. Her research interests include noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), disability prevention and HIV in vulnerable populations. Dr. Tsiga will work closely with the Executive Committee to identify suitable MPH trainees and will guide trainees as they progress through their training program. 
    audetCarolyn Audet, PhD, MPH, is Associate Professor of Health Policy at Vanderbilt and Associate Director of Community-based Implementation Science with the Vanderbilt Center for Quality Improvement and Implementation Research. Dr. Audet’s work is focused on the best strategies to overcome barriers to HIV testing and treatment uptake in low and middle-income country (LMIC) settings using infectious disease and mental health interventions. She teaches the Implementation Science and Essential Skills in Global Health courses in the Vanderbilt MPH program and has significant experience mentoring US and international students at Vanderbilt. babaBaba Musa, MBBS, MPH is Associate Professor of Medicine at AKTH/BUK and a pulmonary epidemiologist. He is currently the lead site investigator for Vanderbilt’s chronic kidney disease in HIV study at AKTH (U01DK112271). Musa is the AKTH site mentor for Vanderbilt’s D43 VECD Fogarty Global Health fellows. As the postgraduate studies coordinator of BUK’s World Bank-funded Africa Center of Excellence in Population Health and Policy (ACEPHAP) he oversees training and evaluation in the center. Dr. Musa will serve on the V-BRCH Executive Committee and will assist trainees in the selection of mentors and the development of research projects at AKTH.
















































  • Formal teaching and mentoring of V-BRCH trainees will be provided by the Executive Committee and a multidisciplinary team of skilled AKTH and VUMC faculty mentors and researchers. Our mentors include experts in HIV, NCDs, clinical trials, biostatistics, implementation science and health informatics. Mentors were selected based on their global health expertise, mentoring history, experience in HIV and NCD research, and enthusiasm to engage withV-BRCH trainees and contribute to their future research productivity and independence.

    Based at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

    Iliyasu2Zubairu Iliyasu, MBBS, PhD is Professor of Public Health and Director of the BUK/AKTH Center for Infectious Diseases Research. His research work is focused on maternal and child health epidemiology and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, polio, and malaria. He chairs multiple training platforms at AKTH/BUK, including the College of Health Sciences postgraduate training program, the Continuing Professional Development committee, and the National Health Research Ethics Committee of Nigeria. His several grant leadership roles include serving as PI for a series of WHO/CDC-funded polio seroprevalence surveys in Kano, co-PI of an Emergency Preparedness response to the 2009 meningitis outbreak in northern Nigeria, and PI of a trial of transfluthrin for malaria prevention. Dr. Iliyasu will serve as a V-BRCH mentor and will work closely with the MPIs to identify qualified applicants at AKTH and to guide trainees in the development of their research projects.

    AbduAliyu Abdu, MBBS is Professor of Medicine and chair of nephrology at AKTH. Dr. Abdu is the site PI for the multi-center H3Africa Kidney Disease Cohort study. He also serves as nephrology lead for Vanderbilt’s ongoing study for optimal management of HIV-infected Nigerians at risk for chronic kidney disease.29 Dr. Abdu has an extensive record of accomplishment in training and mentoring medical and graduate students and residents in Nigeria and South Africa. He is currently the local mentor for a Vanderbilt Fogarty VECD trainee in Kano. Dr. Abdu will guide trainees in the development of their research projects at AKTH.

    Based at VUMC

    freibergMatthew S. Freiburg, MD, MS, is Professor of Medicine and founding Director, Vanderbilt Center for Clinical Cardiovascular outcomes Research and Trials Evaluation (V-C3REATE). Dr. Freiberg’s research focuses on translational and epidemiologic discovery for the prevention of cardiovascular outcomes in diverse populations and in clinical trial evaluations for CVD risk reduction. His work is heavily involved with a national cohort of HIV-infected and uninfected veterans and an international cohort of HIV-infected, heavy alcohol users in St. Petersburg, Russia. His current studies focus on interventions related to substance use reduction to improve immune function and reduce CVD risk among HIV-infected persons.



    ShepherdBryan Shepherd, PhD, is a Professor of Biostatistics at Vanderbilt. His primary research interest is in developing and applying novel statistical methods to HIV/AIDS studies. Since 2006, he has been the lead statistician for the Caribbean, Central and South American network (CCASAnet) of the International epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA). He directs the Data Science Core of the Tennessee Center for AIDS Research and has overseen all biostatistical support for VIGH since 2006. He is currently the PI of two R01s on developing HIV/AIDS statistical methods and a statistical methodology grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute to develop statistical techniques to improve data quality in electronic health records. He is actively involved in training, as PhD dissertation advisor for Vanderbilt students, and in numerous other mentoring roles. 

    heimburgerDouglas Heimburger, MD, MS, is Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt. Dr. Heimburger has over 35 years of mentorship experience with Fogarty International Center (FIC) programs, and substantial experience in research capacity building in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Heimburger’s work focuses on he impacts of nutrition on short-term and long-term HIV outcomes. He is MPI with Dr. Aliyu for the VECD consortium (D43TW009337), which provides mentored global health research training opportunities in LMICs for pre- and postdoctoral candidates from the U.S. and LMICs. He is also the PI for the UNZA-Vanderbilt Training Partnership for HIV-Nutrition-Metabolic Research (UVP, D43TW009744), focused on building up noncommunicable disease (NCD) research capacity at the University of Zambia. Dr. Heimburger is also a co-director for the Vanderbilt MPH Global Health Program.

    KoetheJohn R. Koethe, MD, MSCI, Associate Professor of Medicine. Dr. Koethe studies the effects of HIV infection, immunologic response, and nutritional host factors, such as obesity, on the risk and phenotype of metabolic disease among patients on long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART). Dr. Koethe’s research focuses on the impact of both undernutrition and obesity on the response to ART, immune function, and health outcomes among HIV-infected adults, as well as the role of nutritional supplementation as a component of HIV treatment in resource-limited international settings.


    WereMartin Were, MD, MS, is a Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine at VIGH. Dr. Were is a globally renowned expert in Global Health Informatics, developing and evaluating provider-facing computerized decision support systems and m-health technologies for low and middle-income country (LMIC) settings. Dr. Were played a critical role in establishing the Institute of Biomedical Informatics at Moi University, Kenya,45 and currently serves as its Acting Director. He is also the project lead for the Health Informatics Training and Research program in East Africa for Improved Health Care (HI-TRAIN), a public university-based health informatics program that aims to improve capacity in Health Informatics for East Africa. THe also oversees the development of e-Learning content for the Kenya Ministry of Health and for the Health Informatics degree programs.


    trevathanEdwin Trevathan, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, Amos Christie Chair in Global Health and Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. Dr. Trevathan, a pediatric neurologist and epidemiologist, has been the principle investigator (PI) for multiple large clinical trials of anti-epileptic drugs, and is currently PI of the largest childhood epilepsy clinical trial in sub-Saharan Africa, based at AKTH.30 Dr. Trevathan has extensive experience in teaching clinical trials methods to graduate students and post-docs. In addition to mentorship, he will provide guidance on the inclusion of clinical trial courses in the MPH program at AKTH.

  • Regular input from experienced global health scientists is essential to ensure a continuous feedback loop between program leadership, mentors, and trainees. To that end, an expert Training Advisory Committee (TAC) will advise and support the work of the V-BRCH Executive Committee and Faculty Mentors. This TAC is comprised of well-established, NIH-funded researchers and educators in the US and Nigeria who are leaders in the field of HIV and NCDs in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Nigeria. TAC members will provide guidance on recruitment strategies, review trainee applications, evaluate progress toward V-BRCH program objectives, and assess the overall effectiveness of the program.

    debaunMichael DeBaun MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Meharry-Vanderbilt Center of Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease. Dr. DeBaun’s work focuses on sickle cell in children and adults, specifically on the epidemiology, cognitive impact, clinical significance and strategies for preventing strokes and silent strokes in children. He has lead many clinical trials around the world to treat and prevent strokes in children with sickle cell disease. As the contact PI for 3 active NIH clinical trials at AKTH, Dr. Debaun is heavily vested in building clinical trial research capacity in Nigeria.


    galadanciHadiza Galadanci, MBBS, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director, Africa Center of Excellence in Population Health and Policy, BUK/AKTH. Dr. Galadanci is the first female Ob-Gyn from Kano, Nigeria and a role model for women scientists and clinicians in northern Nigeria. She is a member of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) National Task Team in Nigeria, Vice President of the National Reproductive Health Working Group and Member of the West African Steering Committee on Reduction of Maternal Mortality.


    habibAbdulrazak Habib, MBBS, Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at BUK/AKTH, founding Provost of the College of Medicine at BUK, ex-Chair of the Board of Friends in Global Health-Nigeria. Dr. Habib is among Nigeria’s foremost infectious disease physicians and a past President of the Nigeria Infectious Disease Society. His work focuses in topics such as community acquired infections, emerging infections, antimicrobial resistance, Ebola, SARS, and HIV/AIDS.



    mohammedAminu Mohammed, MBBS, Professor of Pathology and Chief Medical Director (CEO) of AKTH. As the CEO of AKTH from 2011 to 2019, he fostered rapid growth of sponsored research in the institution.





    ofotokunIghovwerha Ofotokun, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Emory University, Dr. Ofotokun is PI of the NIH/FIC-funded Emory-Nigeria HIV Research Training Program (ENHRTP). His career has centered around translational research, the care of women living with HIV/AIDS, and mentoring early career investigators in patient-oriented research in women’s health.




    ogedegbeOlugbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH, Professor of Population Health & Medicine, Chief, Division of Health and Behavior at New York University. Dr. Ogedegbe is PI of the NIH/FIC-funded Cardiovascular Research Training Program (CART) D43 in Nigeria.  Gbenga is a leading expert on health disparities research; his work focuses on the implementation of evidence-based interventions for cardiovascular risk reduction in minority populations. Born and raised in Nigeria, Dr. Ogedegbe has considerable Nigeria networks. He will serve as the chair of the Training Advisory Committee (TAC).