The original CIHR Centre for REACH in HIV/AIDS (what we now call REACH 1.0) was founded in 2009. The original goal of REACH 1.0 was to engage partner organizations and member agencies in collaborative research around critical issues in HIV/AIDS.

REACH’s original research agenda addressed several CIHR priority areas, including:

  • Co-morbidities
  • Aging and HIV
  • Frameworks and models for care
  • Aboriginal communities and HIV, and
  • Community-based research initiatives addressing the social determinants of health (such as housing and food security).

We’re proud to say that REACH 1.0 was a success. In its first five years, REACH:

  • Demonstrated the sustainability of the collaborative model. REACH membership increased to include over 225 researchers, front-line community agencies, and service providers. More than 80% of these members remain actively involved in the Centre.
  • Catalyzed team and research projects. REACH provided more than $400,000 in direct funding for pilot projects and team meetings, which went on to form the basis for grant proposals submitted to the CIHR.
  • Assisted in establishing national initiatives to address the social determinants of health. REACH supported the development of the National HIV and Housing Collaborative, a network of agencies and researchers across Canada involved in housing issues. The Collaborative has developed effective working relationships with organizations in the housing sector and is now part of national efforts to advocate for more access to stable, affordable housing and health services.
  • Attracted and retained new researchers. Universities Without Walls, the educational and training arm of REACH, is now in its sixth year. Over 60 fellows from across Canada have participated in UWW, and 90% are still involved in HIV research.
  • Secured significant returns on investment. REACH helped its teams secure more than $20 million in CIHR funding for new initiatives. Through the UWW fellowship program and through support for students, postdoctoral fellows, and new investigators affiliated with the Centre, REACH helped secure over $1.5 million in CIHR training and salary awards for the next generation of HIV researchers in Canada.

REACH 1.0 had a significant impact. As one of our members notes:

“Over many years of collaboration with REACH and Dr. Sean Rourke, we have established a strong partnership. We credit this to an open and ongoing dialogue around issues of transfer and knowledge mobilization in our communities. This collaboration has been extremely helpful with impacts on interventions.” COCQ-SIDA, Quebec

REACH 2.0—with its focus on the populations most affected by HIV, other STIs and HCV, on the cascade of prevention, engagement and treatment services, and on intervention research, participatory evaluation and applied program science—has the potential to have even greater impact on health and on health programs and services.

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