HIV Providers Share Outreach Strategies to Improve Linkage and Retention in Care across Pennsylvania

Outreach workers participate in a biannual learning session, held at EQT Plaza.

Four HIV case managers shared lessons learned over the past decade through implementation of the statewide Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) at an HIV conference hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health Division of HIV Disease in Gettysburg, PA on September 13th. MAI is focused on improving linkage and retention in care through outreach and health education for HIV positive individuals, and JHF provides grants management, training, and facilitation of peer-to-peer education as a fiscal agent for this program.

Deborah Murdoch, far right, and Emma Seagle, second from right, facilitate a panel on improving HIV care.

Deborah Murdoch, MPH, senior program manager, community health, and Emma Seagle, MPH, program officer, facilitated the panel which included discussion of strategies for targeted outreach to clients in hospitals, prisons, and communities. Panelists included: Ciera King, program manager at Einstein Medical Center Immunodeficiency Center; Odessa Summers, case management coordinator at Action Wellness; Sandra Valdez, chief human services officer at the Spanish American Civic Association; and Reinaldo Camacho-Torres, medical case manager at Co-County Wellness Services. In addition to sharing successful strategies for promoting linkage and retention in care in the communities they serve, panelists discussed the importance of building trusting relationships, advocating for their clients, improving health systems, and addressing barriers to care.

Twenty-two outreach workers from the 11 grantees participating in the program also gathered in Pittsburgh for a bi-annual learning session on September 27th and 28th. Dr. Ken Ho, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Pittsburgh shared clinical updates impacting HIV care and strategies for messaging around these developments. Participants discussed approaches for health education using case scenarios and a 'knowledge café' focused on addressing stigma, mental health, and clinical care updates. The group explored strategies for meeting the specific needs of immigrant and refugee communities through agency spotlights for organizations working with these groups and a presentation by Abby Jo Perez, refugee health and stabilization supervisor at Hello Neighbor, on culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health care. The learning session also included a half-day training session on motivational interviewing. 

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