The AIDS United AmeriCorps program is the first and broadest-reaching national AmeriCorps program focusing specifically on HIV prevention, testing, and care. The AmeriCorps program is creating the next generation of public health leaders through intensive training and hands-on experience as HIV testers, health educators, care navigators, and in other direct service roles.
The AmeriCorps program allows people entering the workforce to become fully immersed into the field of HIV/AIDS—an experience that will continue to shape their careers and create lifelong advocates for HIV, public health, and national service.
The AmeriCorps program delivers big impact for low cost. The inclusion of AmeriCorps members greatly increases capacity of local agencies and assists with interagency collaboration. Additionally, AmeriCorps members bring new voices, new ideas, and fresh energy to the fight against HIV. As Lauren Wine of Team Indianapolis summarizes, “Being an AmeriCorps member has already made a huge impact on my life. I am the most involved in my community than I ever have been and I have found that helping others is the best way I can help myself.”
Confidence, Clarity, and Confirmation
When “David” came into The Free Clinic of Greater Cleveland for an HIV test, he was rattled. A friend had just confided to him that they tested HIV positive and David was worried he might too. HIV was no longer something other people had—it was real now.
Jim Alsop, an AmeriCorps member serving at The Free Clinic of Greater Cleveland, sat down with David and began to discuss HIV and David’s concerns. Over the course of the conversation, David opened up. Jim commended David for his safer behaviors and provided information about ways to further reduce his HIV risk. When David’s test came back, he learned that he was HIV negative and decided to make his own risk reduction plan.
Relieved, David thanked Jim profusely and committed to coming back in three months to get retested.
Jim recalls the experience:
“Making such a positive impact on someone’s life was more satisfying than any other job I’ve ever had.”
2014-2015 AMERICORPS SERVICE SITES
- Atlanta, GA
- Albuquerque/Santa Fe, NM
- Chicago, IL
- Cleveland, OH
- Indianapolis, IN
- New Orleans, LA
- Washington, DC
AmeriCorps is a Program of the Corporation for National and Community Service
Why Sector Transformation? Because healthy organizations make for healthy clients.
The health care landscape is changing, should you? That’s a question AIDS United’s Sector Transformation initiative helps organizations answer. Change may mean specialized technical assistance about the health care marketplace, the integration of new services, merging entities, developing strategic new partnerships, or initiating a new business model. But the fact is clear: the HIV care and services field is evolving faster than ever. To best support people living with HIV, health care reform needs to be leveraged to its full potential, and that means organizations critically examining how they do business.
The Affordable Care Act. Evolving funding streams. Greater emphasis on HIV biomedical approaches. Integrating health care systems. It’s a brave new world— and it can be a complicated one to navigate. Thanks to support from Johnson & Johnson, along with a recent $1 million investment from Bristol-Myers Squibb, AIDS United is available to partner with organizations to do just that.
Evolving Care Communities
Flexible. Proactive. Agile.
These can all be used to describe the work of AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) and AIDS Network. Leaders from both organizations came together to discuss how they could create more integrated, comprehensive care and social support services to best meet the increasing needs of people living with HIV in Wisconsin.
Through an AIDS United Sector Transformation grant, ARCW and AIDS Network participated in a 9-month evaluation, at the end of which the two entities decided to merge. The merger will ensure continuity of care for patients. What’s more, the merged organizations expect to now serve 4,000 people living with HIV throughout the state annually, keeping all employees intact, and increasing the number of staff to meet demand. “There have been tremendous advances made in the fight against AIDS that position us better than ever to defeat the epidemic,” says Gifford. “Our merger, along with stronger and closer relationships with key partners…will be critical to achieving that goal.”
SECTOR TRANSFORMATION GRANTEES
Of 10 total Sector Transformation grantees in 2014, those highlighted in this report include:
- AIDS Partnership Michigan Detroit, MI
- AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin Milwaukee, WI
- HIPS Washington, DC
SUPPORTED WITH FUNDING BY
“In the new era of HIV prevention and health reform, HIPS knew we needed to change in order to help sex workers and drug users in leading healthy, self determined lives. HIPS adopted a new strategic plan that expanded its mission and direction. The new plan allowed us to grow by moving forward with the construction of our Center for Health and Achievement – bringing together harm reduction, mental health, behavioral health, and medical services under one roof. Sector Transformation support from AIDS United allowed us to dedicate the time and attention necessary to make this plan a reality.”
– Cyndee Clay, Executive Director, HIPS
Getting to Zero
First funded by the CDC in April 2014, Getting to Zero (G2Zero) is a 5-year cooperative agreement focused on building capacity among community-based organizations (CBOs). Managed by highly experienced HIV prevention staff, the AIDS United team is responsive to the communities most disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic. With boots-on- the-ground experience and the broadest-reaching network of experts in the field, the G2Zero team is able to tailor-fit their approach to meet unique CBO-specific geographic, population, and organizational needs to yield high-impact results and improve organizational sustainability.G2Zero work is critical to meeting the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and in fulfilling the AIDS United mission and promise of the end of AIDS.
G2Zero staff are partners with the CBOs they serve, working together through strategic planning and implementation of high-impact interventions focused on:
- HIV-positive populations
- high-risk HIV-negative populations, and in
- organizational development, program management, and sustainability.
G2Zero capacity-building assistance is available to any CBO engaged in HIV prevention work and is not exclusive to CDC-funded organizations. Quick and nimble, G2Zero was up and running and filling requests within a few short months after funding. To date, the team has fulfilled 41 requests— a third of which have been in the South, a region severely impacted by HIV.
By working together through strategic planning and implementation of highimpact, harm-reduction interventions, CBOs can improve and refine their work while empowering their employees. As a G2Zero recipient explains,
“Working with the AIDS United capacity building team was a great experience. We were able to move from big ideas to concrete action more quickly.”
– G2Zero CBA Recipient
SUPPORTED WITH FUNDING BY
AIDS United Capacity Building
National Center for Innovation in HIV Care
Building on our success and lessons learned expanding access to and retention in care for people living with HIV, we have joined with the Fenway Institute and AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin to form the National Center for Innovation in HIV Care.
The Center, funded through a HRSA/HAB cooperative agreement with the Fenway Institute, provides further support to Ryan White-funded AIDS service organizations and community-based organizations to develop strategies to improve operational effectiveness, and implement best practices to optimize outcomes along the continuum of HIV care.