Professor Heiner Grosskurth
MD PhD DTMH
of Epidemiology and International Health
Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU)
National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR)
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-Westfalia (Germany) 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, then a collaborative institution of the MRC UK and the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) 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.
Since April 2021, he has reduced his working time committment to 20% FTE. Currently he serves on the Senior Management Team of MITU and works as co-PI on two research projects in Uganda and Tanzania. He also contributes to the activities of the Lake Victoria Consortium for Health Research that aims to improve the health of populations residing in fishing communities in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
Heiner teaches on study module 3198 ‘Applying Public Health Principles in Developing Countries’, which is organised by Daniel Chandramohan, Jayne Webster and Silke Fernandes. He also teaches on the NIMR/MITU based short course in research methods annualy held in Mwanza.
Until 2020, he contributed to the School’s distance learning programme on infectious disease epidemiology. - Previously, he taught on the East African Diploma Course in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene directed by David Mabey and on the study module 'Control of sexually transmitted diseases', organised by Philippe Mayaud. - In the 1990ies, Heiner was responsible for setting up the School’s first study module on ‘Primary Health Care’, and was Chair of the Board of Examiners for the MSc Control of Infectious Diseases.
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. Since 2010, he expanded his work to include chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). - As director of the STD/HIV Research and Intervention Programme Mwanza he coordinated a trial which demonstrated that improvements of STI control services 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.
From 2003 - 2010, he headed the transition of the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Programme to a full-scale MRC Research Unit with 6 self-standing scientific programmes and 3 support departments. - With colleagues from the Unit, he investigated the dynamics of HIV infection in a rural general population cohort, the natural history of HIV infection in a rural African environment, the feasibility of antiretroviral therapy (ART) provision in rural areas in the early days of ART introduction in Africa, and set up a cohort of sex workers in Kampala to study the epidemiology of STIs and HIV infection, and to improve STI/HIV control in this population. He was co-PI of the Entebbe/Uganda based component of the multi-centre 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 LSHTM and from Uganda, he demonstrated that ART care can be effectively delivered through home-based care with the help of trained supervised lay workers. - He was Co-PI of a Ugandan trial to investigate the safety and effectiveness of stopping cotrimoxazole prophylaxis among HIV infected patients on long-term ART.
From 2010 - 2020, Heiner was co-investigator of research projects in Tanzania and Uganda to investigate (i) the epidemiology of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and strategies to improve the effectiveness of health services in controlling NCDs; (ii) the effectiveness of a hand-hygiene intervention on intestinal helminth infections; (iii) the health of residents in fishing communities around Lake Victoria including the incidence of and the risk factors for drowning; (iv) the health of adolescents and young people (AYP), including the epidemiology of alcohol use (AU) and AU disorders, and (v) the immunogenicity and safety of an ebola vaccine (Ad26.ZEBOV/MVA-BN-Filo phase 1).
Currently, he is co-PI of a trial to study the effectiveness of a social-worker based intervention in reducing mortality after discharge of AIDS patients from hospital, conducted in Mwanza Region, Tanzania; of a trial to investigate the effectiveness of a health facility intervention aiming to integrate HIV and NCD care, conducted in 20 districts of western Uganda; and co-investigator in a project aiming to develop a more effective strategy for the management of the vaginal discharge syndrome by front line health workers in northern India.