Interdisciplinary Research for Tropical Public Health

Husband-and-wife research team of Jennifer Friedman, MD, PhD, MPH and Jonathan Kurtis, MD, PhD, is focused on preventing malaria. Learn more

To address the many urgent global health challenges, the Center for International Health Research (CIHR) at Rhode Island Hospital was founded in 2005, under the aegis of the departments of pathology and pediatrics.

Our Story

Understanding and protecting against parasitic infections is the life’s work of husband-and-wife research team Jonathan Kurtis, MD, PhD and Jennifer Friedman, MD, MPH, PhD.

Through the Center for International Health Research (CIHR) the pair works to understand the mechanisms that cause tropical infectious diseases, specifically malaria and schistosomiasis, and to harness this knowledge to design improved treatments and vaccines.

“We want to know how these parasites cause disease in the host, when it’s most effective to treat, and how to prioritize the limited health care resources in these developing countries,” says Kurtis. “Ultimately, what drives us is to make something deliverable—a pill, a vaccine... a tool that could protect millions of people from infection and disease.”

Read more about their search for a vaccine

The CIHR embraces interdisciplinary approaches by linking basic lab science with cutting edge population-based science. It is this approach that makes the center unique in Rhode Island and in southern New England.

For more information about the center or its work, please contact Danielle Barbery at 401-444-5214 or

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Center for International Health Research
55 Claverick Street
Providence, RI 02903
55 Claverick Street
Providence, RI 02903