SPH Publishes on Innovative TB Treatment Approach

The American University of Armenia (AUA) is proud to share that faculty, researchers, and alumni from the Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH) have co-authored the article “People–centred care versus clinic–based DOT for continuation phase TB treatment in Armenia: a cluster randomized trial” recently published in BMC Pulmonary Medicine. Dr. Vahe Khachadourian (MPH ’11), Dr. Nune Truzyan (MPH ’03), Dr. Arusyak Harutyunyan (MPH ’09), Dr. Varduhi Petrosyan, and Dr. Michael E. Thompson along with AUA alumni Dr. Hayk Davtyan (MPH ’11) and Dr. Karapet Davtyan (MPH ’09), as well as Dr. Martin van den Boom and had teamed up to publish this randomized trial.

The article presents findings from the evaluation of an innovative tuberculosis (TB) treatment approach designed to enable self-administered drug intake by empowered TB patients — supervised by a trained family member and supported by medical counseling and reminders. The new treatment approach integrates several educational, technological, and social evidence-based components. This innovative approach was designed to improve treatment adherence and treatment success rates, thereby forestalling TB and multidrug-resistant TB epidemics. This study was funded by a seed grant from Grand Challenges Canada, the only such award in Europe for piloting an innovative approach and rigorously evaluating its impact.

The SPH implemented a randomized clinical trial and assessed the effectiveness of the innovative TB care approach. The results not only suggested that the innovative approach was as effective as the often-burdensome directly observed therapy (DOT) in regards to treatment outcomes, but also emphasized and embraced the notion of patient and community empowerment. Before the publication of this manuscript, the research — the intervention and clinical trial — was recognized as a leading study in the formal evaluation of a people-centered TB care approach among drug-susceptible TB patients and, as such, it was used when developing the World Health Organization’s blueprint for people-centered model of TB care.

This project and publication are amongst many others that highlight SPH’s commitment to the design and application of transformative solutions for improving health in Armenia and elsewhere in the world.

SPH continues its efforts in TB control in close collaboration with the National Pulmonology Center of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia and with financial support from USAID (2018-2019) and the Armenian Medical Fund (2020-2021).

The AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and beyond through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.