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Anjali Sharma, M.D., M.S. (RWJ)

Assistant Professor of Medicine
State University of New York Downstate Medical Center
2009-2012 Cohort
Project Title:  “Factors Associated with Bone Loss among Women and Men with and At-risk for HIV”

About the Project:
The project studied bone metabolism and its relation to opioid use and HIV using two well-established cohorts designed specifically to evaluate metabolic complications of HIV among drug using women and men.

Anjali Sharma, M.D., M.S. is an Assistant Professor in Department of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.  Dr. Sharma graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1994 and from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in 1998.  She received her Diploma in Clinical Tropical Medicine from the Gorgas Memorial Institute of Tropical and Preventive Medicine, Lima, Peru in 2002. Dr. Sharma completed a residency in Internal Medicine in 2001 and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases in 2005 at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Also in 2005, Dr. Sharma completed a formal training program in research methods through the Clinical Research Training Program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and was awarded a Master of Science degree with distinction.

Since 2005, Dr. Sharma has been providing care in Central Brooklyn to HIV-infected adults in the Special Treatment and Research Health Center (SHC) and as Medical Director for Inpatient Adult HIV Services at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.  Dr. Sharma is currently developing a program to integrate buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, into primary care for HIV-infected persons with opioid dependence at the SHC.  Dr. Sharma educates medical students, residents and medical providers, to provide substance abuse treatment as part of comprehensive health care for HIV–infected patients. Dr. Sharma’s current research interests include studying the medical consequences of HIV among substance abusers. She has been awarded an institutional grant as part of SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s Dean’s Initiative in Research Investment, and is the PI on a grant to study Directly Administered Antiretroviral Therapy among methadone users in Estonia, as well as PI on a NIH National Institute of Drug Abuse-funded “AIDS-Science Track Award for Research Transition (R03)” (ASTART) to evaluate and understand the role of insulin-like growth factor in premature bone disease among HIV-infected drug users.  Dr. Sharma was recently awarded an NIH Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) entitled “HIV and Adiposity in Women: Effects on Bone Metabolism” which seeks to investigate underlying mechanisms of bone loss associated with HIV and the relationship between disorders of bone and fat metabolism in HIV infection.

Dr. Sharma’s Physician Faculty Scholars Program project is titled “Factors Associated with Bone Loss among Women and Men with and At-Risk for HIV.” In this study, Dr. Sharma prospectively examined change in bone mineral density, as measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry, and the effects of opioid use and HIV infection. She determined whether biochemical markers of bone turnover are associated with rate of bone loss after controlling for baseline bone mineral density, and examine whether this association differs in opioid users or by HIV serostatus. This study expanded our understanding of the relationship between HIV and bone mineral density, which has not addressed the novel role of drug use, and will investigate the impact of opioid substitution therapy on bone mineral density. Understanding the ability of bone turnover markers to predict ongoing bone loss may improve risk stratification for fracture in this high-risk population. Findings from this study will provide longitudinal data on the effect of drug use and HIV on bone mineral density, and help lead to the development of basic recommendations for prevention, screening, and treatment of osteoporosis in drug users and persons with HIV in order to prevent fractures.

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