Frances joined LSTM on August 1st 2016. Previously a Professor of International Sexual Health and HIV at University College London she has lived and worked full time in Zimbabwe since 1999. Frances has also worked across Southern Africa and in India. In 2012, she founded the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV AIDS Research (CeSHHAR) Zimbabwe and was Executive Director for 10 years. In May 2022 she stood down as director to be able to devote more time to her research interests.
MBBS (1984; University of London)
MSc Epidemiology (1990; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
MD Epidemiology (1995; University of London)
FRCP and FRCPE (2000)
Frances has lived and worked full time in Zimbabwe since 1999 where she leads a portfolio of HIV prevention research which includes large scale impact evaluations of national HIV programmes including Zimbabwe’s National PMTCT programme, an impact evaluation of ART for prevention in female sex workers and evidence to support scale up of voluntary male circumcision. She had a leading role in establishing Zimbabwe’s “Sisters with a Voice’ programme, a nationally scaled programme for sex workers for sex workers in their diversity and which is informed by a series of implementation research studies. Professor Cowan leads a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award in Science which aims to explore how to optimise differentiated HIV prevention and care among sex workers in southern Africa in order to support virtual elimination of infectious HIV among sex workers in the region. She is Zimbabwe the country lead for the BMGF funded Measurement and Surveillance of HIV Epidemics Consortium (MeSH) led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
She works closely with the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care and National AIDS Council to provide evidence for their HIV prevention strategy - most recently as part of a consortium funded by UNITAID to Stimulate and Shape the Market in HIV self-testing in Africa. She was co-chair of HPTN’s Adolescent Science Committee between 2011-2016, has been on a number of WHO expert panels and was co-PI on a number of research capacity strengthening initiatives focusing on Southern Africa.