White House: Preparing the Future HIV Program a Collaborative Community Model for Nation
In a city where one of every 40 people older than 13 is HIV positive,
the JACQUES Initiative (JI) of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at theUniversity
of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has mobilized a "model" program of
unprecedented health, psychosocial, and legal resources called
Preparing the Future (PTF) that could make HIV testing and linkage to
care more routine and normalized, say federal officials.
A central component of PTF brings together graduate students into teams
from the University's dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and
social work schools to address the goals of National HIV/AIDS Strategy
(NHAS), including identifying new infections of HIV and increasing
access to care for people living with HIV, says Jamie Mignano, MSN, MPH, RN,
director of JI development and information dissemination.
The PTF program has so far educated and trained 334 students. Each
student takes a basic HIV classroom course, then performs community
service to test and counsel patients on seeking appropriate care and
medications, says Neha Pandit, PharmD,
assistant professor at the School of Pharmacy and one of the PTF
At its current pace, the program will test more than 7,000 people for
HIV in 2013.
The program is supported by a grant from Gilead Sciences' HIV FOCUS
Program, for the JACQUES Initiative, which is in the UMB School of
Medicine, Institute of Human Virology directed by HIV co-discoverer Robert Gallo, MD. The JI program
provides long-term holistic HIV care for urban populations.
JI staff coordinate the didactic and hands-on curriculum for the PTF
students, equip current providers to routinize HIV testing in their
clinical practice and facilitate linkage to care for persons identified
as HIV positive.
The director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, Grant
Colfax, MD, says that such a "commitment to a multidisciplinary
approach to fighting the epidemic could be a model for other
communities across the country."
The PTF is "about a lot of communication and a lot of community," says
Pandit. "And it is about explaining to patients what it means to be on
medications, to stay adherent to medication, and what are some of the
things that make the progression to good HIV care."
The program also includes the University of Maryland Medical Center,
the hospital on the UMB campus. All patients admitted in the Department
of Medicine are now routinely offered HIV tests, with streamlined
linkage to care and supportive services, in partnership with JI. "The
goal is to capture a good number of the patients with a potential of
several thousand a year tested," says Mangla
Gulati, MD, FACP, FHM, assistant professor of medicine. "It is very timely and we have very engaged patients
and very engaged residents who are very excited and open with the
patients about it."
PTF is also a good match with existing efforts in University of Maryland School of
Dentistry, which has recruited both dental students and dental hygiene
graduate students for the program. The School has operated the PLUS
Clinic since 1989, where students work closely with faculty members to
treat HIV-positive patients. Also, in partnership with the JI, the
School has implemented protocols for offering routine HIV testing and
linkage to care in its extensive public dental clinics.
Valli Meeks, DDS, MS, RDH,
associate professor, teaches students that proper infection control is
vital for all patients, not just those suffering from HIV. And she
hopes that students in the PTF, as well as those in the PLUS Clinic,
learn lessons in tolerance as well as dentistry. "I tell them: Before
assuming you can't treat an HIV patient, look at the whole picture.
It is still a little bit of a stigma, but it is changing."
Indeed, the PTF is as much about creating broad awareness of HIV issues
among all UMB graduates as it is about testing and helping patients,
says Derek Spencer, MS, CRNP,
executive director of the JI. "You have to expect the students to come
in with their own biases. Many go through a transformation, a new
openness. The questions they ask they couldn't ask before. We are
making a big difference."
Mignano says HIV "is a chronic disease that is treatable, like high
blood pressure or diabetes. And students are learning how to address a
public health crisis, that with treatment has potential positive
impacts on the health of the entire community."
Through the PTF, the University's Francis King Carey School of Law
contributes to a special clinic held each Tuesday at the JACQUES
Initiative by law students and preceptor attorneys. They meet with new
HIV patients to discuss insurance, benefits, financial support, and
more. Jeff Weaver, a
physicians' assistant, says it is an "amazing" collaboration.
"I tell them what I learned about the patient and they see the patient
on the spot," Weaver says. "It is another professional side of HIV
health. Every individual school and profession has their own ethical
and professional background and they can come together and better help
Throughout the 2012-2013 academic year, teams of interprofessional
students from all the schools have discussed thousands of cases with
each other as they tested and counseled people at locations such as
Walgreens Community Pharmacy on Baltimore's busy downtown Howard
Recently, a delegation from the White House Office of National AIDS
Policy visited the JACQUES Initiative on April 30 for an update on the
University's innovative Preparing the Future program. Colfax, the
office director, says he "very much enjoyed" the visit, adding, "I know
[Preparing the Future] will continue to be an important partner as we
implement the national HIV/AIDS strategy."
The JACQUES Initiative (Joint AIDS Community Quest for Unique and
Effective Treatment Strategies) was initiated by IHV in 2003 by the
Institute of Human Virology in memory of Joseph William Jacques, PhD
well-known contributor to the field of HIV and AIDS activism.
|Posting Date: 05/22/2013
|Contact Name: Steve Berberich
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