Dr. Amneris Luque honored for HIV/HPV care, achievements by Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber

Dr. Amneris Luque

DALLAS – Nov. 9, 2018 – Dr. Amneris Luque’s efforts against HIV/AIDS and HPV have spread nearly as wide and fast as the infectious diseases she has battled for more than three decades.

From New York to Dallas, Dr. Luque has treated and advocated for the underserved fighting HIV/AIDS and conducted clinical research into HPV – the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States – while providing education to clinicians in developing countries.

“I have been a passionate advocate of HIV education and prevention in the community,” said Dr. Luque, Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease at UT Southwestern, Medical Director of HIV Services at Parkland Health & Hospital System, and Clinical Director of the South Central AIDS Education and Training Center. “For more than 30 years, I have dedicated myself to caring and advancing the life expectancy and quality of life of the less fortunate, most vulnerable, those who are rejected by most, those who no one wants to speak about or care for.”

On Friday, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce honored her leadership in education with the La Cima Latina Leadership Award.

Her research in the field has been fundamental to advancing the care and delivery of services, as well as to enhancing the prevention and treatment of HPV and HIV across the U.S. and internationally.

Dr. Luque contributed several years of service through National Institutes of Health-sponsored AIDS Clinical Trials Groups (ACTG) in the selection, recruitment, and execution of clinical trials for HIV and HCV and on the women’s committee advancing research and clinical standards for the provision of care for women, HIV patients, and at-risk populations. She was the Clinical Research Site leader and Principal Investigator of the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Rochester Medical Center, received an RO1 grant from NIDCD/NIH to study hearing function in HIV patients, and served as a co-investigator for other NIH grants.

She also was a key contributor in the development of clinical guidelines and HIV education initiatives for New York state and directed the New York State AIDS Institute Clinical Educational Initiative being responsible for the education and awareness of clinicians across upstate New York, ensuring patients at risk or HIV infected could receive the best care available no matter their remote location or limited access to care.

Today, there are 24 million HPV active cases in the U.S. with 5.5 million new cases each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. Various strains of HPV cause the great majority of cases of cervical cancer.

“Despite this fact, public ignorance about HPV is high,” she noted. Recent studies have shown that there are high levels of HPV infection among women, with the highest levels among young women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But Dr. Luque continues to make an impact. She has conducted clinical research in areas of cervical dysplasia (HPV) among women with cohorts of women in Africa and the U.S. leading the way to important clinical findings that have helped us to improve outcomes for women infected with HPV, which is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States.

“I think creating awareness about HPV and HIV/AIDS and increasing clinical knowledge and expertise among physicians on these topics have been among the most important areas of my career and perhaps have had the greatest impact,” Dr. Luque said.

She has traveled to Cali, Colombia, for 10 consecutive years to participate pro bono in a yearly conference on HIV/AIDS, supported in part by Fogarty International and attended by over 300 practitioners from all over Latin America. She also has been an invited speaker in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Venezuela and has volunteered time and expertise to attend those less fortunate by bringing medical missions to remote areas in Guatemala in coordination with the local volunteer organization Vamos Adelante.

“I am passionate about leaving behind a generation of physicians who feel as committed and invested in the care of this very vulnerable population as I have felt for over 24 years,” said Dr. Luque, a native Venezuelan who earned her medical degree from the Universidad de Carabobo in Valencia, Venezuela. “I believe I have, with my example and work, led the way for providing compassionate, proven, and comprehensive clinical care that encompasses not just the clinical aspect but that approaches the patient from a holistic and more humane standpoint. I hope to inspire clinicians, especially women, to continue on this path of advancing clinical standards and providing compassionate care to those who need it the most.”

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 22 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 15 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The faculty of more than 2,700 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in about 80 specialties to more than 105,000 hospitalized patients, nearly 370,000 emergency room cases, and oversee approximately 2.4 million outpatient visits a year.