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NCLR/CSULB Latino Center Hosts Session On HIV/AIDS Prevention

Published: August 15, 2011

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR)/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training convened HIV/AIDS researchers, medical providers, elected officials and Latino community leaders involved in HIV/AIDS prevention at the NCLR Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. July 22-26.

The conference is the largest gathering of the nation’s most influential individuals, organizations, institutions and companies working with the Latino community.

In collaboration with the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of AIDS Research, the NCLR/CSULB Latino Center hosted a special workshop, put together and moderated a featured session and released a HIV/AIDS white paper highlighting efforts to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Latino community and reach the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goals.

The events were organized and hosted by Britt Rios-Ellis, director of the NCLR/CSULB Latino Center, and center staff including the associate director Melawhy Garcia-Vega.

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Additionally, the NCLR/CSULB Latino Center provided 25 travel scholarships for front-line HIV prevention program managers, coordinators, panelists and community health workers who work with the Latino community to attend the conference and workshops. With funding from the Office of AIDS Research, the center coordinated the scholarship selection process and all logistical arrangements for the health workers.

Titled “A Call to Action: Prevention of HIV/AIDS in the Latino Community,” the workshop was held on July 25 and focused on effective community-based prevention, testing and treatment models. It also highlighted the importance of the Latino community’s involvement in community-based participatory research targeting HIV prevention.

The featured session on July 26, titled “¿A Dónde Vamos? New Directions for Community Involvement in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Research,” brought together a variety of national, county and university experts to discuss national services and funding streams, trends, disparities and progress within health departments and state efforts, current HIV prevention research and new directions for effective interventions, and released a white paper of the same title.

“The importance of the legacy and continuation of our work in aligning community based participatory research in Latino communities, the creation of structural environmental models to address to Latino context, and the National HIV Strategy is an urgent imperative,” noted Rios-Ellis, the primary author of the paper. The white paper will be publicly available free of charge through the NCLR and the Center for Latino Community Health websites.

NCLR/CSULB Latino Center Hosts Workshop and Featured Session on HIV/AIDS Prevention at 2011 NCLR Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
Britt Rios-Ellis (r) with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

“We worked with Kurt Organista, renowned HIV/AIDS researcher and associated dean of the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley; Laura Bellamy, CSULB lecturer and center research associate; and Lilia Espinoza, assistant professor and assistant director of the USC Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center, to ensure that we included a broad spectrum of viewpoints regarding the importance of Latino community involvement in HIV/AIDS research,” Rios-Ellis added.

Earlier in July, Rios-Ellis was invited to participate in the 6th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome. While there, she and two colleagues from the National Latino AIDS Action Network Leadership Committee (NLAAN) met with IAS Executive Director Betrand Audion and the IAS Governing Council to plan specific activities and increase involvement of Latinos at the 2012 International AIDS Conference, which will be held on U.S. soil for the first time in 16 years after President Barack Obama lifted the travel ban for HIV-positive visitors.

Rios-Ellis and other NLAAN members are leading in the planning of conference activities among the U.S. Latino community and in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as build collaboration among nations fighting HIV/AIDS.

This year, more than 20,000 people attended the NCLR Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., including President Obama, who addressed NCLR attendees regarding a myriad of issues impacting the Latino community.

–Rick Gloady