Molly Forrest Franke
Molly Forrest Franke, SD
Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine
Co-Director, Global and Community Health Advanced Integrated Science Course (AISC)
Epidemiologist, Global Health Research Core

Dr. Franke is a global health researcher whose work brings the rigor of epidemiology to intractable infections (tuberculosis [TB], cholera, HIV, SARS-CoV-2) and chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension depression) that disproportionately affect the poor or socially-marginalized. Her work has spanned a range of settings including Peru, Haiti, Rwanda, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.

Franke’s current work has two broad objectives. The first is improve the health of children and adolescents affected by TB and HIV. She is the PI of a Peru-based pediatric tuberculosis diagnostic study that aims to identify the best non-sputum-based specimens from which to detect TB in children. She also leads intervention work in Peru that aims to improve the health and well-being of adolescents and young adults living with HIV through the provision of health navigation and social support and through youth-friendly modalities, such as music videos (https://vimeo.com/280933246).

The second objective of her work is to ensure that care and treatment of health conditions that disproportionately affect the poor and socially marginalized is guided by the highest possible quality of evidence. To this end, she seeks to identify and apply the best epidemiologic methods for addressing critical knowledge gaps related to interventions and treatment.  Her past work has included the development and validation of questionnaires; design of studies to assess the effectiveness of cholera interventions, including vaccination; and assessment of community-based programs for care and treatment of HIV, tuberculosis, mental health, diabetes and hypertension. Franke currently holds funding from the National Institutes of Health to improve the evidence base guiding treatment of drug-resistant TB through the application and adaptation of statistical methods commonly used in other fields.

Molly Franke is associate professor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She co-directs the HMS Global and Community Health Advanced Integrated Science Course (AISC) and is a member of the Department’s Global Health Research Core.

Franke completed undergraduate studies in Sociology and Spanish at Colby College and doctoral training in Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Prior to joining the Department in 2010, she worked for Massachusetts Department of Public Health Epidemiology & Immunization Surveillance Program and Partners In Health sites in Peru and Rwanda. She is a long-time volunteer with the Elm Project, which supports underserved youth affected by chronic illness.

Throughout her career, Dr. Franke has contributed to the learning of dozens of students and trainees within the Harvard community, at other institutions of higher learning and the field sites where she conducts research. She is an active participant in the HMS Masters of Medical Sciences in Global Health Delivery (MMSc-GHD) program, serving as a thesis advisor and member of the Curriculum and Admissions Committees. She has been recognized for excellence in mentoring: in 2017 she received the Jo Rae Wright Award for promising contributions in pulmonary research along with outstanding mentoring and professional leadership qualities, and in 2020 she was awarded the Young Mentor Award by Harvard Medical School.

Prevalence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Antibodies Among Market and City Bus Depot Workers in Lima, Peru.
Authors: Authors: Tovar M, Peinado J, Palomino S, Llanos F, Ramírez C, Valderrama G, Calderón RI, Williams RB, Velásquez GE, Mitnick CD, Franke MF, Lecca L.
Clin Infect Dis
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Safety of treatment regimens containing bedaquiline and delamanid in the endTB cohort.
Authors: Authors: Hewison C, Khan U, Bastard M, Lachenal N, Coutisson S, Osso E, Ahmed S, Khan P, Franke MF, Rich ML, Varaine F, Melikyan N, Seung KJ, Adenov M, Adnan S, Danielyan N, Islam S, Janmohamed A, Karakozian H, Kimenye MK, Kirakosyan O, Kholikulov B, Krisnanda A, Kumsa A, Leblanc G, Lecca L, Nkuebe M, Mamsa S, Padayachee S, Thit P, Mitnick CD, Huerga H.
Clin Infect Dis
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All-oral longer regimens are effective for the management of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in high-burden settings.
Authors: Authors: Khan PY, Franke MF, Hewison C, Seung KJ, Huerga H, Atwood S, Ahmed S, Khan M, Sultana T, Manzur-Ul-Alam M, Vo LNQ, Lecca L, Yae K, Kozhabekov S, Tamirat M, Gelin A, Vilbrun SC, Kikvidze M, Faqirzai J, Kadyrov A, Skrahina A, Mesic A, Avagyan N, Bastard M, Rich ML, Khan U, Mitnick CD.
Eur Respir J
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Factors associated with diarrheal disease among children aged 1-5 years in a cholera epidemic in rural Haiti.
Authors: Authors: Dolstad HA, Franke MF, Vissieres K, Jerome JG, Ternier R, Ivers LC.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis
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Inconsistent Sexual Behavior Reporting Among Youth Affected by Perinatal HIV Exposure in the United States.
Authors: Authors: Cantos K, Franke MF, Tassiopoulos K, Williams PL, Moscicki AB, Seage GR.
AIDS Behav
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Sputum culture conversion definitions and analytic practices for multidrug-resistant TB.
Authors: Authors: Rodriguez CA, Brooks MB, Aibana O, Mitnick CD, Franke MF.
Int J Tuberc Lung Dis
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Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell-free DNA to diagnose TB in pediatric and adult patients.
Authors: Authors: Pollock NR, MacIntyre AT, Blauwkamp TA, Blair L, Ho C, Calderon R, Franke MF.
Int J Tuberc Lung Dis
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Feasibility and Acceptability of an Adolescent-Friendly Rap Video to Improve Health Literacy Among HIV-Positive Youth in Urban Peru.
Authors: Authors: Rodriguez CA, Winnett A, Wong M, Krishnam N, Martínez NO, Perez LJ, Kolevic L, Lecca L, Franke MF.
AIDS Behav
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Incident Tuberculosis Diagnoses in Children at High Risk for Disease.
Authors: Authors: Wong M, Coit JM, Mendoza M, Chiang SS, Marin H, Galea JT, Lecca L, Franke MF.
Open Forum Infect Dis
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Urine lipoarabinomannan in HIV uninfected, smear negative, symptomatic TB patients: effective sample pretreatment for a sensitive immunoassay and mass spectrometry.
Authors: Authors: Amin AG, De P, Graham B, Calderon RI, Franke MF, Chatterjee D.
Sci Rep
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