Gillian Stresman, PhD joined the University of South Florida College of Public Health in July 2022 and previously was at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in the United Kingdom for 12 years. She has an interdisciplinary background and is trained in ecology, environmental health science and applied epidemiology (BES - University of Waterloo in 2002; MHS - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2008; PhD - LSHTM in 2015). Her research program studies malaria epidemiology to better understand the spatio-temporal transmission dynamics, how to improve surveillance and promote data-driven decision-making, testing interventions to reduce both malaria burden and transmission, and confirming the absence of transmission to inform progress towards and the likelihood of achieving malaria elimination.
Major areas of research:
1. Reducing malaria burden and accelerating elimination: Dr Stresman is involved with multiple projects that aim to test new strategies to reduce malaria morbidity, mortality and/or transmission. This group of projects involves targeting chemopreventative and/or vector control interventions to the populations that would benefit most from them in multiple malaria endemic settings. This work involves ranges from defining the target population for the intervention, administering the intervention, and evaluating the efficacy or effectiveness. For example, as part of one project funded by UNITAID, Dr. Stresman is working in collaboration with PSI, LSHTM, Fobang Institute in Camerron, and the INSP in Côte d'Ivoire to determine the impact of targeting chemoprevention for malaria to children in the first two years of life on malaria incidence.
2. Enhanced malaria surveillance to inform decision-making: a stragic hurdle to reducing malaria transmission remains the lack of quality data with which to make decisions on interventions, tracking progress, amongst others. Challenges range from a large proportion of asymptomatic infections, health system factors that impact care seeking behaviors to the diagnostic and data collection tools available. As part of a GLIDE funded project and in collaboration with RITM in the Philippines, Dr. Stresman is working to identify operationally tractable approaches to enhance malaria surveillance systems' ability to detect malaria transmission, how traditionally vertical surveillance programs can be integrated across multiple diseases of interest, and how this information can be incorporated into programmatic decision-making.
3. Confirming the absence of malaria transmission: In collaboration with the WHO, PAHO, partners in multiple malaria eliminating countries, Dr. Stresman is leading the Freedom From Infection (FFI) research program to develop and test a framework to estimate the sensitivity of the surveillance system for malaria using a data driven approach. The framework is sufficiently flexible to incorporate multiple data sources including different diagnostic tools measuring infection or exposure to malaria. The initial proof of concept work funded by BMGF is working with collaborators in Vietnam, Philippines, Cabo Verde, and Peru and funding from The Carter Center is supporting activities in the Dominican Republic.