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Lisa Butler, PhD, MPH

Lisa Butler, PhD, MPH
Medicine Research
General Pediatrics Research
Hospital Title:
Associate Scientific Researcher
Academic Title:
Lecturer of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Research Focus Area:
Pediatric HIV Prevention, Care and TreatmentMaternal Mental Health and Caregiving PracticesChild DevelopmentHIV Associated MalignanciesMobile Health TechnologiesCommunity Health WorkersLow and Middle Income Countries
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Research Overview

Lisa M. Butler, PhD, MPH is Lecturer at Harvard Medical School and Associate Scientific Researcher in the Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital. Her research interests are in child and adolescent HIV prevention, care, and treatment. She specializes in the development and implementation of innovative strategies, including mobile health (mHealth) technologies and multi-media resources, to engage communities, health care providers, children and their families to improve infant and child health outcomes in the context of low-resource, high HIV-prevalence settings.

Dr. Butler’s NIH-funded research includes studies of interventions to improve: nutrition amongst HIV-affected children; caregiver understanding related to HIV, child development, child nutrition, and recognition of serious childhood illnesses; and pediatric HIV disclosure. She is currently engaged in research in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya.

About Lisa Butler, PhD, MPH

Dr. Butler received her PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of California Los Angeles in 2000, her MPH in Epidemiology and Health and Social Behavior from the University of California Berkeley in 2002, and her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California Berkeley in 2009. Before joining Boston Children’s Hospital in 2013, Dr. Butler was Assistant Professor at the University of California San Francisco, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Key Publications

  • Butler LM, Dorsey G, Hladik W, Rosenthal PJ, Brander C, Neilands, TB, Mbisa G, Whitby D, Kiepiela P, Mosam A, Mzolo S, Dollard S, Martin JN. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus seroprevalence in population-based samples of African children: Evidence for at least two patterns of KSHV Transmission. J Infect Dis. 2009;200(3):430-438. PMCID: PMC3975590.
  • Dollard SC, Butler LM, Graves Jones AM, Mermin JH, Chidzonga M, Chipato T, Shiboski CH, Brander C, Mosam A, Kiepiela P, Hladik W, Martin JN. Substantial regional differences in human herpesvirus 8 seroprevalence in sub-Saharan Africa: Insights on the origin of the “KS belt”. Int J Cancer. 2010;127(10): 2395-2401. PMCID: PMC2895015.
  • Butler LM, Dollard S, Amin M, Mosam A, Martin J. Relationship between salivary shedding and seropositivity for Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) among South African children and adults: insights on why EBV infection is ubiquitous and KSHV is not. Infect Agent Cancer. 2010;5(Suppl 1):A69.
  • Butler LM, Mzolo S, Osmond D, Neilands T, Martin J. A population-based study of how children are exposed to saliva in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: implications for the spread of saliva-borne pathogens to children. Trop Med Int Health. 2010;15(4):442-453.
  • Horwood C, Butler L, Vermaak K, Rollins N, s L, Nkosi P, Qazi S. Disease profile of children under 5 years attending primary health care clinics in a high HIV prevalence setting in South Africa. Trop Med Int Health. 2011;16(1):42-52.
  • Butler LM, Were WA, Balindani S, Downing R, Dollard S, Neilands TB, Gupta S, Rutherford G, Mermin J. Human herpesvirus 8 infection in children and adults in a population-based study in rural Uganda. J Infect Dis. 2011;203(5):625-634. PMCID: PMC3071279.
  • Chetty T, Knight S, Giddy J, Crankshaw T, Butler LM, Newell M-L. A retrospective study of Human Immunodeficiency Virus transmission, mortality and loss to follow-up among infants in the first 18 months of life in a prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme in an urban hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. BMC Pediatr. 2012;12:146. PMCID: PMC3468389.
  • Horwood C, Vermaak K, Butler LM, Haskins L, Phakathi S, Rollins R. Elimination of pediatric HIV in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa: Low HIV transmission rates but still high mortality among HIV-exposed infants. A PMTCT impact Assessment at scale. Bull World Health Organ. 2012;90(3):168-175. PMCID: PMC3314207.
  • Crankshaw TL, Voce A, King RL, Giddy J, Sheon NM, Butler LM. Double disclosure bind: Complexities of communicating an HIV diagnosis in the context of unintended pregnancy in Durban, South Africa. AIDs Behav. 2014;18 Suppl 1:S53-59. PMCID: PMC3823675.
  • Horwood C, Butler LM, Haskins L, Phakathi S, Rollins N. HIV-infected adolescent mothers and their infants: low coverage of HIV services and high risk of HIV transmission in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(9):e74568. PMCID: PMC3779214.

Active Projects

2012-2015 CHAT: mHealth Innovation for HIV-MCHN Community Health Workers in South Africa

NIMH R34MH097563
Principal Investigator

The overall objective of the study is to develop and investigate the impact of a mHealth innovation (CHAT) on community health worker quality of care as well as knowledge about HIV, knowledge, danger signs of childhood illness and child development, and health care utilization of caregivers for children, and child-care-related behaviors.

2012-2016 Comparative effectiveness of pediatric HIV disclosure interventions in Uganda

NICHD R01HD074261
Principal Investigator

The overall objective of the study is to test the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral intervention to support developmentally appropriate disclosure to HIV-infected children by their caregiver.

2014-2015 The Power of Knowing: Expriences of youth and caregivers with pediatric HIV disclosure

Boston Children’s Hospital Aerosmith Endowment Fund 
Principal Investigator

The objective of this project is to develop and produce a full-length documentary film on the experiences of HIV-infected adolescents and caregivers of HIV-infected children with pediatric HIV disclosure in South Africa.

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