Dr. Garfein is an infectious disease epidemiologist and Professor in the UCSD School of Medicine, Division of Global Public Health. He began studying HIV and viral hepatitis among persons who inject drugs (PWID) at Johns Hopkins University, continuing this line of research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1997–2005), and added an emphasis on tuberculosis after joining the faculty at UCSD in 2005.
His research interests involve identifying risk factors for infectious diseases associated with substance abuse and developing interventions to prevent them. He has led or collaborated on studies funded by the NIH, CDC, USAID, and private foundations to describe the epidemiology of HIV, HCV and TB; conducting trials of behavioral interventions to prevent HIV and HCV transmission; evaluating molecular diagnostic tests to rapidly detect drug resistant TB; and developing a mobile phone-based system for remotely monitoring TB patients’ medication adherence through video directly observed therapy (VDOT). He is currently evaluating the impact of recently relaxed drug possession laws in Mexico on “drug tourism” and transmission of HIV, HCV, and TB among San Diego residents who inject drugs. Through a Verizon Foundation grant, Dr. Garfein is also scaling-up and evaluating VDOT for patients with TB and other conditions requiring strict treatment adherence in the US and Mexico. His international research and consulting activities have included Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Taiwan, Okinawa, Puerto Rico, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Kyrgyzstan.