As an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist, Dr. Jessica Justman has worked for over two decades to advance HIV prevention, care, and treatment and, more recently, to pioneer a precision approach to understanding the global HIV epidemic.
Dr. Justman has been part of ICAP’s core leadership team since she first joined ICAP in 2004 and has served as senior technical director since 2009. She has overseen the development and strengthening of ICAP’s clinical, laboratory, and training programs, as well as strategic information and surveys across a range of global projects. By promoting cross-team communication and collaboration, she has sought to improve the health of families and communities worldwide.
As an Associate Professor of Medicine in Epidemiology, Dr. Justman’s research interests focus on international and domestic HIV epidemiology, and HIV prevention studies. Building on her earlier work with the Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS), she spearheaded the CDC-funded Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) Project. Since 2014, the PHIA Project’s household-based, nationally representative surveys have measured access to care and treatment and, by using novel HIV recency assays, estimated HIV incidence in 15 African and Caribbean countries. Results from the PHIA surveys have transformed global HIV programming by highlighting the need for more effective and targeted HIV testing approaches. Dr. Justman is also principal investigator of the TRACE initiative, a technical assistance program that helps ministries of health use HIV recency testing to improve HIV prevention programs and strengthen the precision of HIV infection surveillance systems.
Dr. Justman’s HIV prevention research began over 20 years ago when she was the site leader for ICAP’s Bronx Prevention Center Clinical Research Site. The Bronx site, along with the Harlem Prevention Center and the Eswatini Prevention Center, is part of the NIH-funded ICAP at Columbia Clinical Trials Unit, for which Dr. Justman serves as co-principal investigator. The Bronx Prevention Center and Harlem Prevention Center have been hubs for ICAP’s domestic research, and HIV prevention research has been rapidly expanding at both sites. With the advent of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Dr. Justman has applied lessons from HIV programs and research to a wide range of COVID-19 activities, including COVID-19 surveys, vaccine trials, early treatment of COVID for close contacts, and treatment trials of monoclonal therapeutics.