Dr. Hightow-Weidman and Helene Kirschke-Schwartz are in Washington, D.C. this week at the 2016 Ryan White National Conference on HIV Care & Treatment. The conference is August 23rd – 26th at the Marriott Marquis, and is put on annually by the Ryan White & Global HIV/AIDS Programs of the Human Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).
Transnational Practices and Engagement in Care
Dr. Hightow-Weidman, who heads the UNC BATLab, Janet Wiersema, and Pamela Vergara-Rodriguez presented their work in Transnational Practices and Engagement in Care: Lessons from the SPNS Latino Access Initiative at the conference this year.
From the workshop description:
“Transnationalism refers to living and operating across national boundaries and is considered non-linear and fluid. For migrants this process can involve maintaining connections with home communities while establishing themselves in places of settlement. As part of the HRSA/SPNS Culturally Appropriate Interventions of Outreach, Access and Retention among Latino(a) Populations, three geographically diverse sites developed novel interventions incorporating transnationalism to engage and retain participants in HIV care.
Dr. Hightow-Weidman presented the BATLab’s work on Enlaces por la salud. Enlaces por la salud is a 5-year HRSA funded statewide initiative to increase the number of Mexican men and Mexican transgender women living with HIV in North Carolina who are engaged in consistent medical care. Bilingual Personal Health Navigators (PHNs) work one-on-one with clients over the course of 6 months to connect individuals to medical care and support services and provide education to increase one’s knowledge of HIV and the medical system and promote health self-management. Topics covered in sessions include: HIV diagnosis concerns, preparing for appointments, communicating with medical providers, social support, relationships and community, disclosure, healthy living, and transitioning to long-term case management. The project managers for Enlaces are Joaquin Carcaño and Kelly Knudtson, MPH.
Utilizing Mobile and Online Methods in the Improvement of Health Outcomes in HIV Positive Youth
Helene Kirschke-Schwartz, who runs Bijou at the BATLab, presented UCARE4Life and Bijou: Utilizing Mobile and Online Methods in the Improvement of Health Outcomes in HIV Positive Youth. From the workshop description:
Technology-based platforms have the unique opportunity of engaging youth in a familiar and comfortable medium. “Bijou” was designed as an innovative intervention to engage HIV-positive young patients in their long-term health and HIV management leading to sustained viral suppression. “Bijou” is an online self-management program with interactive web and mobile-friendly modules for HIV-positive young men who have sex with men (YMSM) supported by a weekly online support group moderated by a clinic-based youth social worker. In this presentation, attendees will learn about the importance of innovative technology-based platforms for reaching youth and encouraging health behavior change along as well as explain and gamification behind Bijou, including its interactive and engaging components and visual design.
Bijou is a six-week self-management program with interactive web and module-friendly modules for HIV-positive YMSM supported by a weekly online support group. The intervention is designed to help YMSM achieve and maintain virologic suppression, improve self-efficacy for care and provider communication, and remain engaged in care. Program participants include HIV-positive YMSM between the ages of 16-24 who are enrolled in Part D services. Kirschke-Schwartz is the project manager for Bijou.
Learn more about the BATLab’s current projects by clicking here!
More about the Ryan White National Conferece
The theme of this year’s conference is “Forward Momentum: Accelerating Access. Optimizing Care. Transforming Public Health.” The focus of the conference is on the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program’s commitment to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020. The Strategy’s main goals are to:
- decrease new HIV infections,
- reduce HIV-related health disparities, and
- improve access to HIV care and treatment without stigma and discrimination.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program providers primary medical care, medication funding, and other support services for people living with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured. According to the program website, the program serves approximately 52% of all those diagnosed with HIV in the U.S. Additionally, the RWHAP funds “technical assistance, clinical training, and the development of innovative models of care”.