Who We Are

Francois Venter MBCCH, MMED, FCP (SA) DTM & H, Dip HIV Man Professor Francois Venter is the Deputy Executive Director at Wits RHI and a lecturer in the Department of Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is also an honorary consultant at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. He is a previous president of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, which has over 3 000 members in the region. Professor Venter has expertise in programmatic HIV implementation, especially in the provision of antiretroviral therapy, opportunistic infection prophylaxis, human resource allocation, data systems and service integration. He has an interest in monitoring and evaluation of clinical interventions, as well as a human rights interest in access to quality care. Professor Venter has published several operational research studies, and is currently principal investigator on several large antiretroviral dose reduction studies. He has been part of and continues to participate in several important South African and regional policy-making fora.
Michelle Moorhouse MB BCh Michelle Moorhouse graduated from Wits University in South Africa. Her career to date has largely been focussed on HIV. In 2003 Michelle was awarded an Honorary Clinical Fellowship at the Royal Free Hospital in London. She also worked in the pharmaceutical industry, holding senior HIV/virology posts in several large companies. Michelle works at Wits RHI, where she is engaged in clinical work, research and teaching. The main thrust of her work is HIV treatment optimisation and she is coinvestigator on the large ADVANCE study. She is a member of the National Third-Line ART Committee, and sits on various National guideline committees, including the Primary Healthcare Expert Review Committee of the National Essential Medicines List Committee. She is also a member of the global HIV resistance network, WHO HIVResNet and the WHO HIV Think Tank. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the SAHIVCS until 2018 and of the Editorial Board of HIV Nursing Matters, as well as Editor-in-Chief of the SA Journal of HIV Medicine. Michelle remains involved in many SAHCS guideline committees.  
Nomathemba Chandiwana MPH BSc Nomathemba Chandiwana is Research Clinician and a sub-investigator for a number clinical studies in the area of HIV antiretroviral optimisation. She received a Bachelor of Science in Behavioural Neuroscience from Northeastern University, Boston and has completed a degree in medicine and a Masters of Public Health, both at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. Apart from her work, Dr Chandiwana is currently enrolled as a PhD candidate in Population and Public Health, with expected completion in at the end of 2019. Her research is focused on improving treatment outcomes among perinatally HIV-infected adolescents in South Africa and the findings of her study will contribute to finding strategies to improve the health outcomes in this vulnerable population. Dr Chandiwana has over 5 year’s expertise in HIV medicine which extends beyond clinical research. She provides expert knowledge and to a number of local policy forums, including the National Department of Health’s Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Sexual and Reproductive Health (TWG) which supports the implementation of the National STI Strategy and Comprehensive STI Clinical Management Guidelines and the National Adolescent and Youth Health Policy. Dr. Chandiwana is as an executive member of the South African Clinician Scientist Society and the South African Breastmilk Reserve..  
Celicia Serenata MBA Celicia Serenata has worked in public health since 1993, working in the South African Ministry of Health for 11 years. Since 1999 her focus has been on HIV, and specifically antiretroviral treatment (ART), with a focus on policy and programme design and monitoring. She also have 5 years of experience in grant management while working on the PEPFAR programme in South Africa, focusing on HIV care and treatment. Celicia has strong writing and coordinating skills, having worked on several Global Fund applications, as well as developing National Strategic Plans and other HIV policy documents. She remains committed to advancing public health, especially HIV and TB.
Godspower Akpomiemie Godspower Akpomiemie, a research operations manager in the OPTIMIZE team. He is responsible for coordinating study implementations, with specific functions on regulatory, data management, and data analysis. His research interest includes epidemiology and biostatistics