- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 21, 2005

Barbara Turner is hoping to use her three decades of government experience to help University Research Co. LLC strengthen its HIV prevention programs around the world.

Mrs. Turner was named president last month of the Bethesda company, which conducts scientific research to help government and private-sector clients solve public health problems. She will direct the company’s 135 full-time employees, mostly social-science research specialists, and outside consultants as she oversees business development.

“I’m ready to move into business, where you have an opportunity to use a health and international background in the innovative aspect the private sector has to offer,” Mrs. Turner said.

Mrs. Turner spent 30 years working for the federal government, most recently as deputy assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, where she was responsible for foreign budget assistance.

“I have watched very closely policy in Washington — health policy and international foreign policy,” Mrs. Turner said. “Since we primarily service the government, that will help us stay ahead of the curve.”

She especially hopes to advance University Research’s HIV prevention work. The company researches methods to ensure proper treatment for HIV and AIDS patients in poor countries, mostly in Africa.

Domestically, the company plans to target its research on the growing Hispanic population’s high school dropout rates, the highest among all ethnic groups, as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

Mrs. Turner was hired for her experience in health and government, her presence in the industry — she has visited 45 countries — and her management skills, said Melvyn A. Estrin, University Research’s owner and chairman.

“She’s got a depth of knowledge and experience. She’s very well-known in the international arena and her presence around the world … will go a long way to people accepting our capabilities,” Mr. Estrin said.

Mrs. Turner has been in her new role for about a month and already notices differences between the public and private sectors.

“It’s interesting, especially moving from government to business. Things get done quicker — that shows up right away — and there are a lot less meetings,” she said.

Mrs. Turner lives in Falls Church with her husband, Ed.

— Jen Haberkorn

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