School of Medicine, Center for Healthy Communities
University of California, Riverside
Dr. Brandon Brown's research interests include both the local and global impact and ethics of prevention of human papillomavirus virus (HPV) other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, as well as ethical issues related to payment in research. He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), FHI360, Merck Pharmaceuticals, UC Riverside, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to conduct his research, working closely with community partners.
Brown arrived at UCR in July 2015 after working for four years at the University of California, Irvine. His research activities included epidemiological work on HIV and HPV-related disease, and cancer prevention among underserved populations including female sex workers, men who have sex with men, and transgender women in Peru, Mexico and Nigeria. He was founder and director of the Global Health Research Education and Translation program and a faculty mentor for the California Alliance for Minority Participation program.
He earned his bachelor's degree in applied mathematics from the University of California, Irvine, followed by a M.P.H. in epidemiology from UCLA. He then attended the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to earn his Ph.D. in international health with a focus on epidemiology, then conducted his postdoctoral work in global health back at UCLA. Brandon received additional training through the UCLA CHIME/RCMAR program, as a HPTN Scholar, at the Fordham HIV Research Ethics Training Institute, and the Hastings Center for Bioethics.
Brown is a member of the Infectious Disease Society of America, the International Society of Vaccines, the Global Health Council, American Public Health Association, American Academy for the Advancement of Science, and the UC Global Health Institute. He has authored over 100 publications with over 1000 citations, and is a regular reviewer for high impact journals. He often engages the public on his research through oral presentations, newspaper and print media, and digital media.
Mentored Research Project (MRP) Title
Voluntary study participation in a clinical trial of HPV vaccine with Peruvian FSWs
Aims:This qualitative study examined Peruvian female sex workers’ (FSWs) evaluation of socialand health risks/benefits, informed consent, incentives, fair treatment, and post-trial care following their participation in an HPV vaccine phase IV clinical trial (GIRASOL), in which allparticipants received quadrivalent HPV vaccine.
Methods: Sixteen FSWs aged 23-29 years from Lima, Peru who previously enrolled in the GIRASOL trial were administered semi-structured interviews to assess perceptions of studyparticipation. Interviews were conducted in Spanish, audio-recorded, transcribed, andtranslated into English. Transcripts were coded in Atlas.ti using open and axial coding. Codes were collapsed, combined, and developed into concepts and representative quotes.
Results: Broad themes emerging from content analysis included respect, privacy, absence ofstigma, access to healthcare, and abandonment. Most participants reported staff treated them with empathy, fairness, and dignity, that participation provided protection from cancer and an opportunity to privately receive quality sexual health care, they were well prepared by consent procedures, participation was voluntary, and incentives were appropriate. Of note, one participant responded, “If nothing else, they always treated me as a human”. Unexpectedly, some experienced desertion when the study ended.
Conclusions: Participants were generally content with all aspects of the study and emphasized its protective and non-coercive attributes. They expressed gratitude for the professional treatment despite normalized stigma regarding their FSW status. Further work may be neededto reduce feelings of abandonment. Researchers may also need to develop navigation plans to properly transition participants out of research projects once studies have ended.
Brown, B., Blas, M. M., Heidari, O., Carcamo, C., & Halsey, N. A. (2013). Reported changes in sexual behavior and human papillomavirus knowledge in Peruvian female sex workers following participation in a human papillomavirus vaccine trial. International Journal of STD & AIDS, 24(7), 531-535.
Brown, B., Davtyan, M., & Fisher, C.B. (2015). "Peruvian female sex workers’ ethical perspectives on their participation in an HPV vaccine clinical trial". Ethics & Behavior, 25(2): 115-128.
Brown B, Galea JT, Davidson P, Khoshnood K. Transparency of participant incentives in HIV research. Lancet HIV 2016; 3(10): e456-7.