With Spanish-speaking individuals accounting for almost one-third of New York City's HIV-positive population, ACRIA's Treatment Education Department has launched outreach to agencies that serve Spanish-language-dominant communities. Workshop series have begun at Manhattan's Alianza Dominicana and the Coalition of Hispanic Family Services in Brooklyn to provide health and treatment education directly to Latino and Hispanic communities.
The workshops deal with specific topics of importance to people with HIV and are conducted in Spanish by trained bilingual treatment educators. At the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, each topic-specific workshop will be offered twice within the same month, scheduled to correspond to the Coalition's regularly scheduled support groups, one targeting Latino men who have sex with men and the other men and women at high risk. At Alianza Dominicana, we will begin a second cycle of workshops, three times a month for the next six months, as of November. The Treatment Education Department is continuing stepped-up outreach in Spanish-speaking communities in a search for new venues and partnerships to help reach this large and underserved population.
ACRIA's Treatment Education Department has undergone several changes in staff over the last few months, as Treatment Education Director James Learned, Associate Director Donna Kaminski, and Treatment Educator Constance Chang have left the agency to pursue other professional and educational opportunities. Luis Scaccabarrozzi has joined ACRIA as Treatment Education Director, bringing with him a decade of direct service, training, and administrative experience in both public and private HIV/AIDS programs. A native of Peru, Luis has worked at the Center for Community Alternatives, PROCEED, Test Positive Aware Network, and the Chicago Department of Public Health.
He is joined by new Treatment Educator Sarah Swofford, who has worked in the United States and Latin America primarily on women's issues, including sexual violence and reproductive rights. Both Luis and Sarah are fluent in Spanish and English.
To ensure continuity in all of our services, program responsibilities have been reorganized somewhat, with Treatment Educators Lisa Frederick and Carlos Santiago taking primary responsibility for national and local technical assistance, respectively, while Publications Manager Mark Milano's responsibilities have been expanded to include editorial duties for ACRIA Update. Finally, Education Administrative Coordinator Jack Denelsbeck has been promoted to the position of Treatment Educator. A new Administrative Coordinator will be appointed soon.
On the research side, recent Columbia MPH David Ward joins ACRIA as Research Outreach Coordinator following internships at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Perion Smith, whose background includes several years of administrative experience in not-for-profit organizations, has taken over as Regulatory Affairs Coordinator.
In addition, this semester Nicola DePietro, M.D., joins ACRIA in an internship sponsored by Hunter College as part of work toward his MPH. Nicola has almost 25 years experience as a clinical researcher and administrator for multiple clinical trials in Italy and throughout Europe and is an expert in the management and interpretation of large data sets. He will be involved in data entry and analysis for ROAH (Research on Older Adults with HIV).
As a follow-up to the four days of training and technical assistance we conducted in Charlotte, North Carolina, in June, ACRIA treatment educators will revisit the city for a one-day follow-up on November 7.
Our next four-day technical assistance course for New York City nonmedical services providers will take place October 17 through 20.
ACRIA has entered into an agreement with the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC) to conduct community forums on HIV resistance and cross-resistance in New York City. The program kicks off with two forums during November, one at Housing Works and one at Exponents.
During the past three months, ACRIA has provided trainings under its National Viral Hepatitis Program in Vermont and Colorado. Another is being conducted in Pennsylvania as ACRIA Update goes to press.
ACRIA's Research on Older Adults with HIV (ROAH) Program is nearing the completion of its initial phase. With its 1,000-person cohort and comprehensive study instruments that collect detailed data on social support, mental health, and sexual and drug-using behaviors, ROAH will be by far the largest study ever conducted on the overlooked population of HIV-positive people over the age of 50. As this is written, the data-collection phase of the study is almost complete, with information having been obtained from over 950 older people with HIV, and preliminary entry of the raw data has begun. The Research Advisory Group involved in the study, chaired by Dr. Marjorie Cantor, Professor Emerita and Brookdale Distinguished Scholar at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Work, will meet in October to examine the larger data issues.
This article was provided by AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. It is a part of the publication ACRIA Update. Visit ACRIA's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.