Greetings from the DC Clinical Trials Unit

Local Accomplishments: Whitman-Walker's ACTG Clinical Research Site Celebrates!

The Whitman-Walker ACTG Clinical Research Site received recognition at this year's annual ACTG Network meeting for the organization's outstanding performance as a research site in the REPRIEVE trial, the largest HIV clinical trial ever. The Whitman-Walker team managed to enroll 87 participants and retain 65 of these participants over seven years even through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACTG Network as a whole is excited to announce the publication and presentation of results from the REPRIEVE trial which found a 35 percent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events among people living with HIV who took a daily statin compared to those receiving placebo over a five-year period. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the 2023 International AIDS Society conference earlier this year in Brisbane, Australia. Please extend a hearty congratulations to our colleagues who worked on the study and read the press release here.

Additionally, our very own Thomas Villa, a local advocate and avid research participant, was featured in the ACTG's international newsletter about his perspectives on partner safety and analytic treatment interruption (ATI) which refers to the strategy of stopping approved HIV suppression treatment to investigate the effectiveness of new HIV medications in development. Community members like Tom advocate for the consideration of intimate partners as this population could be affected by their lovers' necessary involvement with clinical trials. On his continued involvement in HIV clinical research, Tom shared:

“When I volunteer to participate in early-phase clinical trials, I see myself not

as some hapless test subject but as a co-investigator, one whose role necessarily

differs from those of the Principal Investigator and scientific team but is none-

theless essential to the research. One who believes the research is of sufficient

value that I am willing to put some skin in the game, so to speak. And we all

know that many clinical trials involve more than mere skin. As a result, I do

not take the decision to participate lightly but rather approach it in a deliberate

manner similar to that for any weighty decision.” To read more of Tom's

reflections, click here.

2023 ACTG Annual Network Meeting Highlights

Our very own local research star -- Avery Wimpelberg who oversees clinical research at the Whitman-Walker Institute, presented this year at the annual conference in relation to the ACTG Committee work they do. The SMCCC (Site Management and Clinical Care Committee), comprised of members across the ACTG Network provides practical advice and technical expertise in the areas of patient care, data collection, and site operations as related to the safe and successful execution of ACTG clinical trials.

Avery is the chair of the Site Operations Subcommittee (SOS) and this year presented the basics about what they and the subcommittee do for the ACTG which includes assistance around regulatory and protocol implementation, mentoring, and addressing research-related and site personnel training needs.

Keep up the great work, Avery!

The ACTG Network, comprised of clinical research sites all around the world, has also updated its name to reflect the breadth of its clinical research work. The acronym now stands for Advancing Clinical Therapeutics Globally for HIV/AIDS and Other Infections.

For more about the great work of the ACTG, check out their most recent newsletter here.

Local Accomplishments: George Washington University's HPTN Clinical Research Site

More awards for DC CTU research partners!


The George Washington Clinical Research Site won an HPTN 2023 Accrual and Retention Award for “Dedication, Commitment and Contribution to HIV Prevention Research Focused on People Who Inject Drugs (HPTN 094)."

HPTN 094 addresses the overlap of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and HIV risk and prevalence in people who inject drugs (PWID) by using a mobile health unit to deliver medication for OUD, HIV treatment and HIV preexposure prophylaxis. With excellent teamwork and commitment to the goal of reaching people who inject drugs, the GWU CRS 094 team have worked diligently in the field, bringing the mobile health unit to neighborhoods throughout Washington, DC, to be a consistent presence and build trust to make connections with study participants and successfully recruit and retain participants in the HPTN 094 study.

HPTN 094 will close to enrollment at the end of September 2023, so please refer any potential participants as soon as possible! 

Congratulations to the GWU CRS team on demonstrating excellence in recruitment and retention in this innovative trial. HPTN 094 will close to enrollment at the end of September 2023, so please refer any potential participants as soon as possible! You may find more study materials here: The HIV Prevention Trials Network | Prevention Now ( including this recruitment flyer. If interested in learning more, email

HPTN Annual Network Meeting Highlights

Our very own Melissa Turner, a clinical social worker with the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center moderated a panel at this year's event. Here, she is pictured with long-term research advocate Yevette Lindsey.

The panel conversation titled "Peaks and Valleys of Interventions Uptake" discussed the slow implementation of HIV prevention strategies despite illustrated efficacy in HPTN clinical trials. Such methods in our global toolbox of HIV prevention include peer health navigation, client-centered care coordination, and other methods that address structural barriers. However, despite such approaches being readily available, implementation in real-world settings and utilization by those most marginalized in society has been slow. What an important conversation! To learn more about the panelists and the topics discussed, check out this document here.

For more about the great work of the HPTN, check out their most recent newsletter here.

Rest in Power to a Legend

The field of community engagement in clinical trials has lost a great champion, effective leader and tireless advocate. On Saturday, August 5, 2023, Stephaun Wallace, a scientist, epidemiologist and true hero in the struggle to combat HIV, COVID-19 and health disparities throughout the world, passed away. Stephaun was the Director of External Relations for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center’s HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and was integral in forming the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) Community and Stakeholder Engagement Strategic Plan. He was recognized as one of Bill Gates’ “Heroes in the Field” and served on the Office of HIV/AIDS Network Coordination (HANC) Community Partners. His professional accomplishments are numerous and impactful and he is deeply beloved by many. Our love and prayers go out to all who knew Stephaun. He made a difference in this world, and we will miss his presence, thoughtfulness and generosity. May we carry forward with the important work, grateful for his example.

For more about his work and legacy, check out the articles below.

Upcoming City-Wide Meeting

Please join us for a joint CAB event between Whitman-Walker Institute's ACTG Clinical Research Site and George Washington HPTN Clinical Research Site as we discuss all of the latest news and successes in the field of HIV prevention and treatment research here in the District. We will spend time discussing the breakthrough REPRIEVE and HPTN 094 studies as well as recap the annual network events that happened earlier this year.

Register Here

Outstanding Graduate Student Awards

Sydney Bornstein is seeking her PhD from George Washington University in epidemiology. Her topic areas are COVID-19, HIV prevention, and substance use. She was recognized by the Washington Statistical Society as an outstanding graduate. On what this award means to her:

"I was honored to be chosen to receive the Washington Statistical Society (WSS) outstanding graduate student award for my work in the epidemiology PhD program. Through my work, I have been able to meet amazing people, learn about critical issues, and contribute to our understanding of HIV prevention and COVID-19. In the future, I hope to be able to design studies that help inform evidence-based interventions and policies surrounding HIV prevention and treatment."

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