MPH MSc PhD
Suzanna Francis is co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) at LSHTM and the STI Research Interest Group (STIRIG). Her focus is on research that makes a real world impact on HIV and STI prevention and control. She has particular expertise in mixed methods research combining clinical, laboratory and qualitative methods, as well as adolescent and key populations at risk for HIV.
Suzanna has over 20 years' experience in the fields of HIV, STIs and sexual and reproductive health. She lived in Mwanza, Tanzania from 2007-2009 while working with the Mwanza Interventions Trials Unit, and has collaborated with colleagues in Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and India.
Suzanna Francis joined LSHTM in 2006. She completed her PhD in 2011 in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and was awarded a UK MRC Post-Doctoral Population Health Scientist Fellowship in 2011, and New Investigator Research Grant in 2016. Prior to coming to LSHTM, she worked as an STI/HIV Nurse Practitioner for the San Francisco Department of Public Health's municipal STI clinic. She graduated with a Master in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2006, an MSc in Nursing from University of California, San Francisco in 1999, and a Bachelor in Arts and Bachelor in Science from the University of Washington in 1995.
Suzanna is a Module Organiser for the MSc in Epidemiology's distance learning module "Practical Epidemiology" (EPM103). She also teaches on two in-house modules: “Control of STIs” and “Research Design & Analysis.” Previously, she was clinical faculty of the California STD/ HIV Prevention Training Center (National Network of STD/HIV Prevention Training Centers, USA), and taught the assessment and management of STIs, including diagnostic laboratory skills, to visiting clinicians, medical students, medical fellows and nurse practitioner students.
Suzanna directs high-impact medical research from inception to completion, including clinical trials, observational studies and systematic reviews. Her current research includes individually and cluster randomised trials and observational research in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia and India.
- HCBV Trial: An MRC funded phase 4 clinical trial to investigate the effect of norethisterone enantate (NET-EN) on the reduction of recurrent bacterial vaginosis among women at increased risk for HIV in Kampala, Uganda(ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02905890).
- STICH (STIs in CHIEDZA): A UK MRC/DFID funded study to evaluate the effectiveness of community-based screening for STIs using newer diagnostic technologies among youth in Zimbabwe. This study is nested within a cluster randomised trial (CHIEDZA; ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03719521) and includes a mixed-methods process evaluation and cost-effectiveness evaluation.
- ASPIRE Trial: An individually-randomized, 3-arm, partially-placebo controlled superiority trial comparing the efficacy, safety and tolerance of IPTp-SP versus IPTp-SP with metronidazole, or IPTp-DP with metronidazole to reduce adverse birth outcomes attributable to malaria and curable STIs/RTIs in Zambia (MRC/DFID Global Health Trial; ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04189744).
- MENISCUS Trial: An open-cohort cluster randomised MRC/DFID Global Health Trial with a mixed-methods process evaluation, and economic and policy analyses. MENISCUS will evaluate whether a menstrual health intervention improves educational attainment and reduces mental health symptoms (primary outcomes) among secondary school girls in Uganda. Suzanna leads a clinical sub-study to evaluate the effect of the intervention on urogential health.
- MESH preparatory study: An early phase MRC-funded study in rural north India to design an intervention to overcome the current limitations of WHO syndromic management guidelines for abnormal vaginal discharge by (a) introducing rapid diagnostic tests to detect and manage infections, and (b) adding screening and management of any underlying mental health disorders.
- GIFT (Genital InFlammation Test) a point-of-care cytokine biomarker lateral flow test for asymptomatic inflammatory STIs and bacterial vaginosis. This EDCTP-funded study will optimise and field test the GIFT device, and include qualitative and economic evaluations for acceptability and feasibility. Suzanna is leading a work package to explore the integration of GIFT into national and international STI management guidelines.