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Atrium Health Navicent to Participate in Large Research Project to Study Sexually Transmitted Infections

Atrium Health Navicent has been chosen as one of the sites for a large research project to study HIV, Mpox and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The $3.4 million, four-year contract was awarded to Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Advocate Health and Vysnova Partners. Wake Forest University School of Medicine is the academic core of Advocate Health, of which Atrium Health Navicent is part. The surveillance project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is part of the CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Infections Impact Research Consortium.

The goal of the research is to collect data on STIs across five regions of the U.S. encompassing Advocate Health’s footprint which stretches from Georgia and North Carolina to Illinois and Wisconsin. The scale of the health system’s reach across the U.S. enables researchers to reach a very large and socioeconomically diverse population across a wide geographic area.

Researchers will enroll a total of 7,500 participants across all of the sites. People who are at high risk of infection will be offered the opportunity to enroll and participate in a survey. Enrollment is expected to begin in September.

“We are seeing alarming rates of STIs across our country,” said Dr. Rafael Ponce, Atrium Health Navicent’s principal investigator on the project and an infectious disease physician with Mercer University School of Medicine. “The data gained will help CDC officials understand what factors are driving the increase in STIs. This will help create plans to decrease transmission and the burden of infection in our community.”

The study will be conducted in several regions of the U.S. where Advocate Health has nearby hospitals, including Atrium Health Floyd in Rome, Georgia; Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C.; Advocate Health Care in Chicago; and Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Advocate Health research team includes investigators, biostatisticians and a project manager from emergency medicine, infectious diseases, population health, public health sciences and urgent care.

“Atrium Health Navicent is proud to be part of this nationwide initiative studying sexually transmitted infections, and to play a role in innovating care,” said Atrium Health Navicent Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrice Walker. “Medicine is constantly evolving as we discover new ways to detect and treat medical conditions. It’s exciting to be on the leading edge of something that could have such far-reaching impacts in addition to helping patients here in central and south Georgia.”

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit

About Advocate Health

Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the United States – created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs 155,000 team members across 69 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations and offers one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $6 billion in annual community benefits.