Capacity development in HIV and MEntal health Research in Asia (CHIMERA)
CHIMERA is a five-year (2019--2024) HIV, mental health, and implementation science research training program funded by the Fogarty International Center and the National Institute of Mental Health of the US NIH. CHIMERA aims to address the critical need to build capacity among Asia-Pacific clinicians and researchers to study the intersection between HIV and mental health.
CHIMERA Fellows (left to right): Wipaporn Natalie Songtaweesin (Thailand), Rena Janamnuaysook (Thailand), Pui Li Wong (Malaysia), Meng Li Chong (Malaysia), Maureen Dungca (Philippines), Nguav Bora (Cambodia), Timothy Dizon (Philippines), and Meng Somanythd Chhay (Cambodia).
Dr. Bora is currently the Deputy Head of Technical Bureau, National Centre for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD (NCHADS) where he has worked since 2004. He graduated in 1988 with a medical degree from the University of Health Science, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He later received a Masters of Public Health focusing on Disease Control (Option Reproductive Health) in 2010 from the Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium. He received a certificate from the Global Intensive Professional Program in HIV-Public Health Stream from the University of Sydney in 2014.
Dr. Somanythd Chhaymeng received his medical degree from the University of Health Science, Cambodia. He obtained his Master degree in Public Health from the National Institute of Public Health, Cambodia. He is an expert in adult and pediatric HIV care and management, and spent 11 years in the Social Health Clinic of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STIs (NCHADS) and the National Pediatric Hospital, as well as being an investigator in clinical trial research, including with the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre. He is a member of the Technical Working Group at NCHADS and trains clinicians on opportunistic infections.
Meng Li Chong
Meng Li Chong is a counselling psychologist in the Infectious Disease Unit of the University of Malaya Medical Center (UMMC), Malaysia, with a strong interest in HIV and mental health counselling. She believes that her dual role as a counselor & a researcher will provide valuable insights in developing holistic service delivery models for her patients. It is a privilege for her to walk with her clients through their journeys and make a positive and, hopefully, lasting impact.
Pui Li Wong
Dr. Pui Li Wong is currently an Infectious Diseases physician at the University of Malaya Medical Centre in Malaysia. Her interests are in improving the care and experiences of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the clinical setting. She is also keen to understand the influence and impact of mental health and aging on PLHIV and how it affects their engagement into care.
Anna Maureen B. Dungca-Lorilla
Dr. Maureen Dungca-Lorilla is a medical doctor currently practicing as a primary HIV care physician at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippines. She received her bachelors degree majoring in Biology at the University of Santo Tomas, and finished her medical school training at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, and her postgraduate training at Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center. Her training and practice include prescribing and monitoring antiretroviral drugs, treatment of opportunistic infections and other comorbidities, and counselling for people living with HIV and their families.
Timothy John R. Dizon
Dr. Tim Dizon is a medical doctor with special interests in clinical, molecular and health policy research. He is a graduate of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, which conferred on him the degrees of Doctor of Medicine and Master of Business Administration. Since passing the Medical Boards, he has been involved in various research projects with topics ranging from genetics to health policy. Currently working for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, he is often involved in the creation of research protocols and management of ongoing projects.
Rena Janamnuaysook is Program Manager for Transgender Health at the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre, Bangkok, Thailand. She manages and provides technical guidance for the development and implementation of HIV/AIDS research and programs for transgender populations, ensuring effective systems and processes are in place to support high-quality research and programs to advance the work of the Thai Red Cross in serving vulnerable populations. Her previous roles include Project Management Specialist in HIV Key Populations for the U.S. Agency for International Development–Regional Development Mission for Asia, and HIV Policy Officer at Global Action for Trans Equality.
Wipaporn Natalie Songtaweesin
Dr. Natalie Songtaweesin is a pediatrician and clinical researcher at the Center of Excellence in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Vaccines at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Her main research interest is in HIV prevention in adolescent males who have sex with males, and transgender women in Thailand. She also cares for newly diagnosed adolescents and adolescents with perinatally acquired HIV. Due to the large interplay between mental health and HIV prevention in adolescents, she has developed an interest in conducting studies that address this aspect of providing care and improving overall service delivery to this key population in Thailand.
Dr. Penh Sun Ly
Dr. Penh Sun Ly has led Cambodia’s HIV program for more than 10 years. He has been involved in policy and guideline development supporting the national HIV continuum of care since 2003, when most of the patients had limited access to care and support. He became the Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STDs (NCHADS) in 2015. His areas of interest include HIV sentinel surveillance, behavioral surveillance, and STD prevalence.
Dr. Reena Rajasuriar
Dr. Reena Rajasuriar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Pharmacy, University of Malaya, and an adjunct Research Fellow at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne University, Australia. She is also a post-doctoral scientist for the Centre of Excellence for Research in HIV/AIDS (CERiA) at the University of Malaya. Dr. Rajasuriar coordinates the translational research program in HIV immunology at CERiA and heads the Immunotherapeutics Laboratory at University of Malaya. Her current research focuses on the clinical aspects and immunopathogenesis of accelerated aging and modulators of immune activation in HIV.
Dr. Rossana A. Ditangco
Dr. Rossana A. Ditangco is the head of the AIDS Research Group of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Department of Health, the Philippines. She is currently the principal investigator for the Philippines site of the TREAT Asia network and IeDEA Asia-Pacific. She also is the principal investigator of the first and only HIV incidence study among MSM and the Project PrePPY pilot study on PrEP among MSM in the Philippines. She develops and implements demonstration projects on models of care for HIV and viral hepatitis prevention, diagnosis and treatment for the National AIDS and STI Prevention and Control Program.
Dr. Maria Isabel Echanis Melgar
Dr. Maria Isabel Melgar is a faculty member in Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila University and a consulting clinical psychologist at the Ateneo Bulatao Center for Psychological Services. She also serves as a preceptor and lecturer at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. In 2011, Dr. Melgar was awarded the distinguished University of the Philippines Alumni Award in Public Health Promotion. In 2018, she co-wrote a book, “Beyond DSM 5: A Casebook in Abnormal Psychology and Mental Health”, which was nominated this year by the Ateneo for the National Book Award.
Dr. Nittaya Phanuphak
Dr. Nittaya Phanuphak is the Chief of PREVENTION at the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. She has deep interest in the use of Key Population-Led Health Service (KPLHS) approaches to enhance access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment among men who have sex with men and transgender women. Tangerine Clinic, established and led by transgender people to provide integrated hormone and sexual health services, is a successful example that has served almost 3,000 transgender clients over a 3-year period. She currently oversees the establishment of a national platform for accreditation and legalization of KP lay providers to ensure domestic funding towards KPLHS sustainability.