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SPNS Grantees Present at USCA

Representatives from the HRSA/SPNS Initiative, “Building a Medical Home for multiply diagnosed HIV homeless/unstably housed populations,” participated in two seminars at the United States Conference on AIDS held in Washington, DC on September 10-13, 2015.

Over 100 people attended the seminar on “Understanding and Addressing the Multiple Dimensions of Stigma to Promote Engagement in HIV Care”. SPNS grantees Ilona Margiotta of API/SFDPH, Lisa McKeithan of CommWell Health, Manisha Maskay of AIDS Arms Inc., and Serena Rajabiun of BU SPH facilitated a discussion on the multiple dimensions of stigma and shared stories from SPNS clients. The team also led participants in a series of interactive exercises to identify the types of stigma in their communities and potential approaches to help reduce stigma at the individual interpersonal, organizational, community, and societal levels. Seminar participants underscored the need for continuing education of the public on these issues and training for both medical and social services staff, including primary medical care providers and housing agencies. Motivational and strengths based counseling were also identified as needed approaches to empower clients and build their resilience in mitigating the impact of stigma.

In addition to presenting on the multiple dimensions of stigma, McKeithan, Maskay, and Rajabiun also participated in a panel with HRSA, HUD and HOPWA SPNS grantees. Titled "Housing, HIV, HRSA and HOPWA," the panel shared current intiatives and lessons learned about differentiating the HOPWA and RWHAP programs in supporting housing stability and positive health outcomes, barriers in coordinating health and housing systems to create solutions, and identifying models to address these barriers. HRSA SPNS grantees shared case examples to date of successful collaborations with health and housing partners in Dallas, TX and Dunn, NC and the work that care coordinators and network navigators are doing to create a medical home for HIV homeless participants.

Finally, CommWell Health's staff, Krystal McCullen, Lisa McKeithan, and Mirna Allende-Mojica presented their poster presentation, "The quest for stable housing in rural North Carolina: stories and struggles from HIV+ clients participating in a health navigation and medical home demonstration project."

Overall, the conference was a great success with strong representation from the initiative.