Dr. Kate Clouse is an infectious diseases epidemiologist and Associate Professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, core faculty at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health and has a secondary appointment at the Vanderbilt University Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Clouse joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in 2014 with a decade’s worth of experience in global health research. While completing her MPH at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Clouse spent time working with the Reproductive Health and HIV Unit (now MatCH) in Durban, South Africa. The year was 2004 and the PEPFAR-sponsored roll-out of antiretroviral therapy through the South African national treatment program was just beginning. This experience shaped Dr. Clouse’s research, as she has witnessed treatment opportunities evolve from the early days of drug shortages and wait lists, to rapidly expanding availability and improved drug regimens, to the current focus on retention in care and earlier treatment initiation.
From 2004-2008, Dr. Clouse contributed to HIV prevention studies at the University of California, San Francisco. Following this, she lived in Johannesburg in 2008 and worked at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit (WRHI), specializing in data quality improvement and capacity building. Dr. Clouse began the PhD program in Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008. Her dissertation research took her back to Johannesburg, where she lived from 2010-2012, working with the Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office (HE2RO). Upon graduating in 2012, Dr. Clouse completed a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at UNC before joining the Vanderbilt faculty.
Throughout her extensive field experience in low-resource settings, Dr. Clouse has led data collection efforts and deployed data capturing systems, coordinated medical record review audits, overseen data quality assurance efforts, and led capacity-building efforts via collaborative partners. She is highly experienced in quantitative research methods, including REDCap database software development and deployment, data collection and management, SAS data analysis, and epidemiological methods. Additionally, she has led qualitative research studies using in-depth interviews, focus groups and mixed methods approaches.
Dr. Clouse’s research focuses on HIV and TB in South Africa, with a particular interest in operational issues related to improved HIV treatment and care, including patient engagement in care and TB/HIV integration. Her work has helped to recognize that women who are diagnosed with HIV during antenatal care in South Africa fall out of care at alarmingly high rates, and that the risk of loss is greatest after delivery. In 2015, Dr. Clouse was awarded a K01 award from the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) to explore the impact of frequent population mobility on retention in postpartum HIV care in South Africa.
This early support from NIMH provided the basis for her current work exploring the use of a GPS-enabled smartphone app for characterizing mobility and improving engagement in care among pregnant and postpartum women in South Africa. With additional support from NIMH in 2019 (R34 MH118028), Dr. Clouse leads a team from the University of Cape Town, the University of California, San Francisco, and Jembi Health Systems in developing, implementing and assessing the CareConekta smartphone app (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03836625).
In 2019, Dr. Clouse and colleague Dr. Mhairi Maskew at the Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office (HE2RO) in Johannesburg were awarded an R01 to establish the South African National HIV Pregnancy Cohort (R01 HD103466). This five-year study will use data routinely collected through the South African National Health Laboratory Service to develop the world’s largest national cohort of pregnant women living with HIV.
Dr. Clouse joined the faculty of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in 2018 where she enjoys teaching research methods to emerging nurse-scientists in the PhD program.