Each of our sites has established a Community Advisory Board (CAB) – a diverse group of volunteers that provide community input into study design and local procedures.
CAB members include community activists and/or professionals associated with HIV/AlDS prevention and service delivery. Some of our CAB members are trial participants. Many have considerable scientific sophistication or relevant professional training, while others have no medical or scientific background but have a strong interest in HIV prevention.
In addition, each site’s CAB has a representative who serves on our Global CAB. As the local CABs advise their local research site, the Global CAB advises the HVTN’s leadership. The Global CAB also has a representative who serves on the HVTN’s Scientific Governance Committee and other network committees. In this way, the HVTN ensures that the voices of the community are heard throughout the organization.
The Global CAB is led by U.S. and International Co-chairs, who each serve 3-year terms. The U.S. Chair is Coco Alinsug (Boston, MA), and the International Chair is Monica Faku (Rustenburg, RSA).
CAB members at each site help members of the general community to understand the science of HIV/AIDS and vaccines, as well as the methods of research and the clinical trials process. These discussions include candid conversations about fears and concerns related to clinical trials and study participation. CAB members can then share this information with the study staff. Building strong relationships and a sense of trust between the HVTN researchers and the community is crucial to the success of the HVTN.