Press Releases

Population Council Awarded USAID Research Project: Supporting Operational AIDS Research

The Population Council has been awarded a five-year cooperative agreement from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for Supporting Operational AIDS Research (SOAR). This global research project will determine how best to address challenges and gaps that remain in the delivery of HIV and AIDS care and support, treatment, and prevention services. Led by the Population Council, SOAR partners include the Johns Hopkins University, the University of North Carolina, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Futures Group, and Futures Institute. The SOAR partnership will produce a large, multi-faceted body of high-quality evidence to guide the planning and implementation of programs and policies for HIV prevention, care, and treatment.

“HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs have saved the lives of millions of adults and children in the past three decades. We know which behaviors place persons at risk, where new infections occur, and how to prevent and treat HIV. Science got us to this point, and science will enable us to continue the great progress that has been made,” said Dr. Julie Pulerwitz, Population Council director of social and operations research for HIV and AIDS and SOAR project director. “We must ensure no one is left behind in the fight to end AIDS. SOAR will allow us to learn what we still don’t know about delivering interventions to those most at risk and hardest to reach, and about providing maximally effective interventions to meet the needs of all.”

SOAR will work globally in close collaboration with in-country program implementers to demonstrate how increasingly constrained resources can be used to successfully reach those most in need; improve the use of high-quality HIV services through the adoption of best practices that are shaped by operational research; address barriers to program scale-up and sustainability; contribute to updated global program implementation guidelines and revised strategic priorities; and strengthen in-country capacity to set operations research agendas, conduct operations research, and apply research findings.

Over 40 years, the Council has conducted more than 300 successful operations research projects that have changed the way the world thinks about global health and development. Council-led projects have included two decade-long USAID programs—Horizons, which contributed to the knowledge base about HIV and AIDS programs and services, and Frontiers in Reproductive Health. SOAR will be a major USAID global mechanism for conducting operations research on HIV and AIDS.

“SOAR will allow us to determine how to best translate existing knowledge into practical solutions for health systems, and how to reach the most vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Naomi Rutenberg, a Population Council vice president and director of the Council’s HIV and AIDS program. “By linking solid science with practical applications, we can help prevent the 1.7 million annual deaths from AIDS and overcome the stigma, gender inequities, and other structural barriers that inhibit access to and use of HIV services. Achieving SOAR’s objectives will get us closer to an AIDS-free generation.”

About the Population Council
The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.

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Project and media contacts
Project: Julie Pulerwitz,, +1 202 237 9436
Media: Erin Kiernon,, +1 212 339 0653