Richard Lester

Dr. Richard Lester's research interest includes clinical infectious diseases management, global health, and the use of mobile communication technologies for health service delivery (mHealth) for infectious and chronic diseases.

While doing basic science (immunology) research in Kenya, he co-developed a program that harnesses mobile phone communications between patients and caregivers to improve HIV/AIDS care and treatment. This randomized clinical trial evaluating the program (WelTel Kenya1, Lancet 2010) landmarked evidence for the potential for mHealth to improve health outcomes in resource limited settings.

In a form of "reverse innovation" (or better - simply 'global health') he has brought the WelTel program back to Canada and other parts of the world to adapt the same low-cost innovation to improve patient care and outcomes in different settings and for management of different health conditions.


University: University of British Columbia
Faculty: Medicine
Department: Medicine
Position: Assistant Professor

Recent Publications

Smillie K, Van Borek N, Abaki J, Pick N, Maan EJ, Friesen K, Graham R, Levine S, van der Kop ML, Lester RT, Murray M. A Qualitative Study Investigating the Use of a Mobile Phone Short Message Service Designed to Improve HIV Adherence and Retention in Care in Canada (WelTel BC1). J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2014 Apr 23. pii: S1055-3290(14)00040-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2014.01.008. (PubMed abstract)

Lester RT. Ask, don't tell - mobile phones to improve HIV care. N Engl J Med. 2013 Nov 7;369(19):1867-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc1310509. (PubMed abstract)

Lester RT, Ritvo P, Mills EJ, Kariri A, Karanja S, Chung MH, Jack W, Habyarimana J, Sadatsafavi M, Najafzadeh M, Marra CA, Estambale B, Ngugi E, Ball TB, Thabane L, Gelmon LJ, Kimani J, Ackers M, Plummer FA. Effects of a mobile phone short message service on antiretroviral treatment adherence in Kenya (WelTel Kenya1): a randomised trial. Lancet. 2010 Nov 27;376(9755):1838-45. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61997-6. Epub 2010 Nov 9. (PubMed abstract)

Lester RT, Yao XD, Ball TB, McKinnon LR, Omange WR, Kaul R, Wachihi C, Jaoko W, Rosenthal KL, Plummer FA. HIV-1 RNA dysregulates the natural TLR response to subclinical endotoxemia in Kenyan female sex-workers. PLoS One. 2009 May 21;4(5):e5644. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005644. (PubMed abstract)

Lester R, Karanja S. Mobile phones: exceptional tools for HIV/AIDS, health, and crisis management. Lancet Infect Dis. 2008 Dec;8(12):738-9. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(08)70265-2. (PubMed abstract)