Dr. George Greene, associate director of the Evaluation, Data Integration, and Technical Assistance (EDIT) Program in the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) and research assistant professor of Medical Social Sciences and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern, and the Chicago Women’s AIDS Project (CWAP) were recently awarded a Community Collaborative Award through the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research to establish their community-academic partnership. In addition to supporting the establishment of the partnership between EDIT and CWAP, this funding will be used to enhance the existing research infrastructure at CWAP and to collect long-term follow-up data from CWAP’s ongoing HIV prevention intervention projects. Co-Principal Investigators on the grant are Dr. Greene; Catherine Christeller, executive director of CWAP; and Jessica Dehlin, community health program manager and therapist at CWAP.
This funding will primarily focus on maximizing the public health impact of CWAP’s Returning Sisters HIV prevention program. Returning Sisters is an individual-level, comprehensive HIV prevention program combining behavioral and biomedical approaches, including HIV counseling and testing, harm reduction counseling and referrals, PrEP navigation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and peer-based substance abuse recovery coaching. Primarily tailored to the needs of African-American women re-entering local communities following incarceration, Returning Sisters aims to address the alarming HIV disparities of cisgender and transgender women with substance use disorders and histories of incarceration.
In addition, EDIT and CWAP will use their partnership to audit current CWAP research practices and build capacity within existing programs to address identified challenges. CWAP will also collect follow up data from Returning Sisters participants to continue evaluating long-term outcomes of the program. Through evaluation and enhanced research, EDIT and CWAP aim to address existing HIV disparities, primarily amongst African-American women who have histories of addiction and incarceration.