In 1997, Prof Cynthia (Cindy) Firnhaber joined the Clinical HIV Research Unit, a research partner of Right to Care. In 2008, she became the head of Right to Care's Cervical Cancer programme.
Cindy’s experience includes research assistant at Valparaiso University and University of Michigan in the area of cytogenetics, evaluating carcinogenic effects on chromosomes. She then worked at the Eleanor Roosevelt Cancer Institute working on oncogenic expression in lung cancer. After medical school, she spent six months volunteering at Musami Mission in Zimbabwe as a medical officer, where her interest in infectious disease was sparked.
Over the years that followed, she was in private practice in Denver (Colorado), joined CHRU, and returned to the Infectious Diseases division as Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado. She returned to CHRU in 2004. In 2008, she moved to Right to Care, in order implement cervical cancer screening of HIV positive women.
Cindy has been taking care of HIV patients for 20 years. In the last several years, Cindy has received several grants. She was awarded a significant grant from the Public Health Evaluation programme at USAID to evaluate cervical cancer screening and treatment in resource-limited countries. She has participated or developed several research projects with the Aids Clinical Trials Group and participated in two Centre for Aids Research grants, one from University of North Carolina and the other from Brown University in Rhode Island.
In her implementation role at Right to Care, she has developed the cervical cancer screening programmes at 25 HIV-treatment sites in five provinces in South Africa. Two grants have been obtained from First for Women to purchase two mobile vans to increase access to cervical cancer screening in the Western Cape and the Free State. These vans, besides cervical-cancer screening also perform screening for other health conditions, such as breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, birth control, and sexual transmitted diseases.
Cindy has a Bachelor of Science (Valparaiso University), Master of Science in Human Genetics (University of Michigan), MD at University of Colorado, and a Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (University of Witwatersrand).