Professor Heiner Grosskurth
MD PhD DTMH
of Epidemiology and International Health
After training in clinical medicine in Germany in the 1970ies, Heiner Grosskurth worked in various hospitals in Germany and in primary health care programmes in Peru, Sudan and Cameroon until he joined the School in 1991. He obtained a doctorate in internal medicine from the University of Kiel, a diploma in tropical medicine from the Bernard Nocht Institute in Hamburg, a consultant specialist degree in family medicine from the College of Physicians of North Rhine-Westphalia and a PhD in epidemiology from LSHTM.
From 1991 – 1995, Heiner was the director of the STD/HIV Intervention and Research Programme Mwanza, Tanzania, a collaboration between the School and the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), and established AMREF’s HIV programme in the lake zone of Tanzania. From 1996 to 2001 he was based at LSHTM in London, continuing work on STIs and HIV infection. From 2001 to 2003 he headed the emerging HIV research programme of the Population Council in India, on secondment from LSHTM.
From 2003 to 2010, he was the director of the MRC Uganda Research Unit on AIDS, a collaborative institution of the MRC and the Uganda Virus Research Institute and one of the School’s overseas collaborative sites. Since 2011, he has been based at the Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) in Tanzania, working with Saidi Kapiga on a research collaboration between the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and LSHTM. He serves on the steering and advisory committees of several research programmes in East Africa and is a founding member of the Lake Victoria Consortium for Health Research that aims to improve the health of populations in fishing communities in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
Until recently Heiner taught on STI control and was joint organiser with Philippe Mayaud and Deborah Watson-Jones of the study module on the ‘Control of Reproductive Tract and Sexually Transmitted Infections’. He contributes to the School’s distance learning programme on infectious disease epidemiology and to the module ‘Applying Public Health Principles in Developing Countries’. He was Chair of the Board of Examiners for the MSc Control of Infectious Diseases, and was responsible for setting up the School’s first study module on ‘Primary Health Care’. Since 2014 he is involved in the East African Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene course that is held annually by LSHTM and partner universities in Uganda and Tanzania.
Since joining LSHTM in 1991, Heiner Grosskurth’s main research interest has been in HIV/STI epidemiology and the clinical management of HIV/STI in sub-Saharan Africa. More recently, he expanded his work to include chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). As director of the STD/HIV Research and Intervention Programme Mwanza he was the field manager of a trial demonstrating that STI control can reduce HIV incidence at the population level. He contributed to a subsequent trial on the effects of a school-based intervention to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health, also conducted in Mwanza Region.
With colleagues from the MRC Uganda Unit he investigated the dynamics of HIV infection in a general population cohort, the natural history of HIV infection in a rural African environment, and the feasibility of antiretroviral therapy (ART) provision in rural areas in the early days of ART introduction in Africa. He was co-PI of the Entebbe/Uganda based component of the DART trial that showed how ART care can be effectively provided in resource limited settings based on clinical rather than routine laboratory based monitoring. Jointly with colleagues from the School and from Uganda he demonstrated that ART care can also be effectively delivered through home-based care with the help of trained supervised lay workers.
Currently Heiner is principal investigator of a research programme in Uganda and Tanzania to investigate the epidemiology of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in East Africa and strategies to improve the effectiveness of health services in controlling NCDs. He is Co-PI of a Ugandan trial to investigate the effect of stopping cotrimoxazole prophylaxis among HIV infected patients on long-term ART. He is also involved in studies on the natural history of Mycoplasma genitalis infection, the epidemiology of alcohol use (AU) and AU disorders among young people, and on health and disease in fishing populations from Lake Victoria.