University of Puerto Rico CAB member Angel Hernández is committed to ensuring that clinical research is translated to his largely rural community in ways that are not only understandable, but also culturally appropriate. A CAB member since 2010, Hernandez is concerned about an aging population in which 72% of PLWH are 45 years or older, research is often misunderstood, and services can be irregular.
“While the PLWH in our community receive adequate health services,” he notes, “we still lack enough clinics with extended service hours; consistent availability of ART for inpatients at hospitals; availability of integrated primary care; and provision of support services. Our community also faces ageism, stigmas, and discrimination.”
Hernandez responds with an impressive commitment to bridging those gaps. Since joining the ACTG, he has served on the AEC, SASC, CSC, and ITSG, as the CSS co-chair, and as part of the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research, as well as on several protocol development teams. He is also proud to have been part of the team that developed the Feedback to CAB Protocol Draft Feedback procedure, and has also collaborated on the development of the CSS scientific agenda priorities.
What he has seen has instilled a number of priorities in Angel, which he and his colleagues are working to move forward. “My hopes for the ACTG and HIV research are to continue studies on new formulations with less toxicities that are easier to take,” he says. “A high priority should be the focus on aging issues, and increased efforts to include underrepresented populations in clinical trials. Of upmost importance is to conduct research on the long-term effects of HIV and ART in long-term survivors.”
As for his personal legacy, Angel adds: “I want to be remembered as an active advocate who brought the concerns of participants in clinical trials to the table.”