Bruce Walker, Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Director, of the Partners AIDS Research Center, held a session via the internet on what makes HIV dangerous and elusive. About 25 doctors, medical students, and other auditors listened to Dr. Walker and at the same time, looked at interactive computer screenshots. The Harvard Initiative for Global Health sponsored the seminar.
Dr. Walker feels that the internet can provide collaborative education for healthcare providers in resource poor settings. The HIV Online Provider for Education (HOPE) is a Harvard-developed internet platform used for training in HIV medicine and can play an important part in delivering information.
HOPE is a web-based voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) that requires only an internet connection, computer speakers, and perhaps microphones. Another advantage is that the conferences are automatically recorded and archived.
The technology is based on Centra, a web-based e-learning platform already commonly used to link businesses all over the world. During a HOPE conference, participants appear as microphone icons and can use a “raise-hand” function that simulates a real classroom, and at the same time, be able to look at power point slides
At the Partners AIDS Research Center, Aurora D. Kiviat is coordinating a HOPE related web site (www.hivconsult.org) to archive HOPE conferences, provide consultative email services, and present a core curriculum of lecture presentations, journal articles, guidelines, and web resources.