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Dr Maryam Shahmanesh
  • Senior Clinical Lecturer
  • Infection & Population Health
  • Institute for Global Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

Maryam Shahmanesh is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV research and an Honorary Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine at the Mortimer Market Centre. After graduating in Medicine (Cambridge University), she completed her specialist training in Sexual health and HIV medicine (London).  Her academic training, which has complemented her clinical training, includes a degree in Social and Political Science (Cambridge University), a Masters in Epidemiology (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), and a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology (University College London). 

During her clinical and academic training she spent two years as a project coordinator with Medicines sans Frontieres in north Burma (1997-1999), where she gained extensive experience in evaluating, developing and implementing malaria, TB, HIV and sexual health services. Maryam's research interests are in the area of Global Health (UK, Burma and India) and have been supported by both Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellowships and Walport (NIHR) Clinical lectureships. She has a particular interest in the effect of structural factors on health and healthcare delivery, as well as testing novel interventions to improve access to care for chronic diseases, particularly for marginalised populations such as Female Sex Workers. Her experiences in Burma and India have provided her with ample experience in engaging and communicating with policy makers, stakeholders and communities, often in challenging and adverse conditions. 

In addition to her research, Maryam is actively involved in post graduate teaching.  She is the graduate teacher for taught programs for the Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Care and the course organiser on the Masters in Sexually Transmitted Infection and HIV. Furthermore, she leads on three of the Masters modules (basic science of STIs, Clinical STIs and developing sexual health programs in low and middle income countries) and teaches on the epidemiology module.  Maryam, is also a   clinician at one of the largest sexual health and HIV clinics in the UK.

Research Summary

Throughout her career Maryam Shahmanesh has been interested in Global Health. Her survey of Chlamydia in rural El Salvador was one of the early indications of the high prevalence of this infection in women in Central America. The RCT of malaria treatment in north Burma provided some of the first data to indicate that the high levels of resistance observed in the Thailand was also present in Burma. Her Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship in health consequences of population change has provided one of the only systematic descriptions of the impact of coercive policies and forced dispersion of sex workers on their sexual risk. The publications arising from this study have provided important evidence to support advocacy for sex workers rights; has added to a growing body of evidence of the relationship between structural factors and health/ healthcare delivery; and highlighted the complex interaction between the social context and a variety of seemingly disparate health conditions, namely sexual health and mental health. Since then, she has collaborated with the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust on a World Bank funded evaluation of community mobilization and empowerment in relation to HIV prevention among sex workers in India. One outcome of the collaborations fostered  between a strong team of collaborators from the University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, with research institutes, non-governmental organizations, and health services in Goa, was the successful implementation of the ASHA project, a USAID funded evaluation of a pilot intervention to provide an integrated programme of stepped care for HIV as a chronic disease associated with tuberculosis, mental health, and community empowerment, through task shifting to community based workers. A strong feature of this work was the active engagement of stakeholders from the inception of the research. The ASHA project was commended as an example of best practice for Greater Involvement of people living with HIV by the funders.

Maryam is currently engaged in exploring models of integrating HIV care with other long-term conditions within community and primary care settings: a) A postgraduate project to use the Survey of HIV Prevalent and Diagnosed individuals (SOPHID) to develop a representative survey that can capture the changes in health risks and health seeking behaviour for HIV and associated co-morbidities in the UK. b) Secondary analysis of the Eurosida cohort to look at the management of cardiovascular risk in people living with HIV living in Europe. c) Formative work looking at the models of detecting and providing care for other long-term conditions in people accessing care for HIV in specialist centres in the UK. d) In India, she is seeking funding to integrate cardiovascular and metabolic conditions into the existing model of HIV, mental health and tuberculosis care in the community.

Teaching Summary

Maryam Shahmanesh enjoys teaching and has recently taken on a major commitment to postgraduate teaching.  She is the Institute for Epidemiology and Medical Care graduate tutor for taught courses. She is also the course director for the Masters in STI and HIV. In this capacity she oversaw the transition of this Masters from one that was jointly taught by UCL and LSHTM to one that is offered by UCL only.  This meant designing a new programme diet from modules offered by other departments within the faculty of population health; adapting existing modules to the new timetable; and reinvigorating the teaching and supervision on the program.  She leads on two out of the three core modules for the Masters Programme (basic science and clinical STIs).  During this academic year, in collaboration with colleagues form Global health she will be introducing an exciting new module on developing sexual health programs in low and middle income settings.  This module brings together a diverse array of disciplines (law, gender politics, sociology, health service delivery, medicine, and implementation science) in order to help students understand the complex interplay between the organism, the individual, the community and the social context in sexual health.  She is also involved in supervision and examining PhD students.

Academic Background
2010 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Clinical Epidemiology University College London
2003 MSc Master of Science – Epidemiology London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
2002 Dip. GUM Diploma in Genitourinary Medicine – Genito-Urinary Medicine Royal College of Physicians
1999 MA Cantab MA Cantab – Social and Political Sciences Gonville and Caius College Cambridge
1997 MRCP Member of the Royal College of Physicians – Surgery Royal College of Physicians
1993 MB BChir Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery – Medicine/Surgery University of Cambridge
1990 BA Hons Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – Medical Science, Social and Political Science University of Cambridge
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