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Dr. Saag received a B.S. in chemistry with honors in 1977 Tulane University, earned his medical degree with honors from the University of Louisville, and completed his residency and infectious disease and molecular virology fellowship training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. During the last 6 months of his fellowship, Dr. Saag conceived the concept of a comprehensive HIV outpatient (1917) clinic dedicated to the provision of comprehensive patient care in conjunction with the conduct of high quality clinic trials, basic science, and clinical outcomes research. Within the clinic structure, he established a clinical trials unit, a data management center, and a Clinical Specimen Repository designed to support the activities of the newly established Center for AIDS Research at UAB. In essence, the clinic became a “hub” for the clinical, basic science, and behavioral science investigators within the Center by creating a dynamic interface between the patients and the investigators. Dr. Saag has participated in many studies of antiretroviral therapy as well as novel treatments for opportunistic infections. He has published over 400 articles in peer reviewed journals, including the first description of the use of viral load in clinical practice (Science, 1993), the first description of the rapid dynamics of viral replication (Nature, 1995), the first guidelines for use of viral load in practice (Nature Medicine, 1996), the first proof of concept of fusion inhibition as a therapeutic option (Nature Medicine, 1998), and directed the ‘first-in- patient’ studies of 7 of the 30 antiretroviral drugs currently on the market. Dr. Saag Co-Edited a textbook entitled AIDS Therapy and currently serves as an Editor of the Sanford Guide for Antimicrobial Agents and the Sanford HIV Guide. Dr. Saag currently serves on the International AIDS Society-USA Board of Directors, is a Past-President of the HIV Medical Association, is a member of the IAS-USA Antiretroviral Therapy Guidelines panel, was a founding Co-Chair of the AASLD / IDSA / IAS-USA Hepatitis C Guidelines Panel, is a member of the WHO Antiretroviral Therapy Guidelines panel and a past-member of the HHS Guidelines Panel on Antiretroviral Therapy. Dr. Saag recently published a memoir entitled “Positive: One doctor’s encounters with death, life, and the US Healthcare system,” now in its second printing.
Director, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Research
Program in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Professor of Infectious Diseases, Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS
Foundation Trust, London, UK
Honorary Member of Scientific Staff, Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, London, UK
I am clinically active, both in Vietnam and the UK
I am an infectious diseases physician passionate about innovative and effective medical education.
I teach several courses at Columbia University, including the “Microbiology and Infectious Disease” course for first year medical students and the "Ready 4 Residency" course for fourth year medical students. I believe classroom learning should be engaging, active and learner-centric; therefore, I use various pedagogical tools including Team-based Learning, Just in Time Teaching, Case-based learning, Simulation and the audience response system. I recently developed the Ready 4 Residency course which is a fully blended, flipped residency readiness course with many innovative features, including online virtual patient-care and virtual rounds. I am assisted by many talented Columbia faculty and a team of CORE (Columbia Online Resident Educator) volunteers. I also enjoy training medical residents and infectious diseases fellows in the inpatient setting.
Dr. Barshak is an Infectious Disease Specialist & Assistant Professor of Medicine at MGH/Harvard Medical School and the MEEI.