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Dr. Ghourm's Forum
A Look at the CDC Foundation's Price Fellowship Program

By Dr. Marvin Ghourm

July 2001

Overview of the Price Fellowship

The only way to stop HIV is to prevent its spread. That may seem obvious. But in practice, it's a huge undertaking -- a task that involves people working together. That's what the CDC Foundation's Price Fellowship program is all about. The fellowship allows representatives from three non-governmental, community-based organizations anywhere in the U.S. to spend a month at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. There, Price Fellows explore with CDC professionals the latest, most effective ways to stop the spread of HIV. They learn how the agency's research, funding, and communication systems work from the inside.

The learning goes both ways: CDC's public health professionals gain new knowledge from fellows, too. They learn what works and what does not in the community. After the experience, Price Fellows return home to put their lessons to work -- and to continue their relationship with CDC.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention efforts since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the early 1980s. Because of their community-based orientation, close ties and proximity to affected populations, flexible organizational structure, and ability to talk openly about sensitive subjects such as sexuality, condom use, and substance use prevention, NGOs have been critical and effective partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The CDC recognizes the contribution of these organizations and their role as partners in a national HIV/AIDS prevention strategy. Today, NGOs provide significant primary education and prevention services for persons at high risk for HIV infection. Since 1989, CDC has provided direct funding to more than 200 locally and nationally-based NGOs to support their HIV-prevention activities. In addition, over 500 NGOs have received CDC funds indirectly through state and local health departments since 1985.

Building relationships between governmental and non-governmental organizations will result in a more effective delivery of HIV/AIDS prevention programs than either organization can achieve alone. Increasing interaction and exchange among persons in both types of organizations will help to build stronger prevention programs at the community level and will increase understanding and trust. The Price Fellowships for HIV Prevention Leadership will provide three NGO leaders an opportunity to visit the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, and, through interaction with CDC scientists and health professionals, complete a project or pursue a special interest -- and learn more about HIV prevention at the national level. This will facilitate exchange about important HIV/AIDS prevention issues between three NGO leaders and CDC personnel, state and local health department representatives, and other NGO leaders in the United States.


Fellows' Requirements

  1. Fellows are expected to work on a full-time basis (40 hours per week) while completing the fellowship.

  2. Fellows initiate a project or pursue a special interest (identified by the fellow and approved by CDC) during the program.

  3. Fellows participate in a series of interactive sessions addressing issues relevant to governmental organizations and to NGOs.

  4. Fellows make a presentation for the CDC weekly "Turning Research Into Prevention" ("TRIP") seminar series.

  5. Fellows make an oral presentation about their fellowship experience at one national HIV/AIDS prevention-related conference.

  6. Fellows submit written articles about their fellowship experiences for inclusion in the CDC HIV/AIDS Prevention Newsletter and the CDC National Prevention Information Network bulletin board.

  7. Fellows participate in an exit interview at the end of the fellowship period, providing recommendations for future fellowship program efforts.

  8. Fellows complete an action plan at the end of the fellowship period detailing follow-up objectives and activities.

  9. Fellows make a presentation about their fellowship experience in an appropriate forum in their home communities. They will identify the forum within six months following their fellowship experience.

  10. Fellows participate in a follow-up evaluation interview six months after their fellowship experiences.


Selection Process

Three fellows will be selected and efforts will be made to ensure diversity in gender, age, race/ethnicity, sexual identity, and geographic representation.

The selection process for applicants is as follows:

A panel including representatives from CDC, state, and local health departments, and NGOs review application packages and rate applicants by the following pre-established criteria:

  1. 60 points: Responses to essay questions (12 points each)

  2. 20 points: Work experience in HIV/AIDS prevention (reflected in resume)

  3. 10 points: Organizational affiliations and special honors (reflected in resume)

  4. 5 points: Demonstrated written skills

  5. 5 points: Letters of recommendation

The panel will select up to six semi-finalists. Depending on the number of applicants and their range of scores, telephone interviews may also be conducted.

Semi-finalists will be invited to travel to the CDC to be interviewed by a five- to seven-member panel. (CDC will pay airfare to Atlanta, Georgia.) The panel will include representatives from the CDC, the CDC Foundation, state and local health departments, and NGOs. In addition, during their visit to the CDC, semi-finalists will participate in small group discussions and presentations. All applicants should be prepared to travel to CDC for two days for the personal interviews. Panel members will select three fellows for the fellowship program.


Fellowship Alumni

Since 1996, fourteen individuals have participated in the Price Fellowships for HIV Prevention Leadership program. These leaders in HIV prevention are listed below with their organizations and diverse special areas of focus at the time of their fellowship.

Nancy Emery (2000)
Communication Service for the Deaf
St. Paul, Minnesota
Focus: HIV outreach to the deaf community

Martin Gonzalez-Rojas (2000)
CALOR, A division of Anixter center
Chicago, Illinois
Focus: HIV prevention for Latino gay men

Ifecoma Udoh (2000)
California Prostitutes Education Project
Oakland, California
Focus: Barriers to fully engaging African Americans in the community planning process

Diane Bonne, M.A. (1999)
Northwest AIDS Foundation
Seattle, Washington
Focus: Integration of HIV prevention and care

Jesus A. Geliga, M.S. (1999)
The Resource Center
Dallas, Texas
Focus: HIV community planning participation of Latino MSM

Edward Tepporn (1999)
St. Louis Effort for AIDS
St. Louis, Missouri
Focus: HIV prevention efforts targeting API communities in the Midwest

Shari Lowenthal, M.A. (1998)
AIDS/HIV Services Group
Charlottesville, Virginia
Focus: HIV prevention in rural communities

Brenda Storey, M.S.W. (1998)
Mission Neighborhood Health Center
San Francisco, California
Focus: Primary prevention with HIV seropositive individuals

Alice Tkachik, M.S.W. (1998)
Sisters Helping Each Other
Chicago, Illinois
Focus: HIV prevention for sex workers in rural, suburban, and inner city areas

Michael Kaplan, M.A. (1997)
District 202
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Focus: HIV prevention for gay and bisexual youth

Jose Toro-Alphonso, Ph.D. (1997)
Fundacion SIDA de Puerto Rico
Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
Focus: Evaluation of HIV programs in CBOs

Dan Wohlfeiler, M.P.H. (1997)
The STOP AIDS Project
San Francisco, California
Focus: Structural and environmental interventions for HIV prevention

Raymond Dumas (1996)
National Task Force on AIDS Prevention
San Francisco, California
Focus: Behavioral interventions among African-American gay males

Harry Simpson (1996)
Community Health Awareness Group
Detroit, Michigan
Focus: Reducing incidence of HIV infection from contaminated needles

At this writing (June 11, 2001) we are awaiting the selection of the three fellows who will be chosen to complete this astonishing program. This year over 300 people applied for the Price Fellowship and of those 300+ applicants 45 were selected for phone interviews and the six semi-finalists are:

Please look in next month's issue of AIDS Survival News for an update about the three finalists selected!




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