COLLABORATIONS AND SOLUTIONS IN HIV, HCV AND STI RESEARCH

Alberta

New Report Available: The Alberta CBR Regional Priority Consultation

To read the full report on the consultation, click here.


The CBR Collaborative held a regional consultation in March 2019 to better understand the current research priorities of people living with HIV and community agencies in Alberta. The consultation included three components: 1) an online pre-consultation survey, 2) a one-day stakeholder meeting, and 3) an online post-consultation survey. Participating stakeholders included independent community leaders living with HIV, representatives from community-based organizations, academic researchers, and an Alberta Health Services employee. While many priority areas were identified during the consultation, there was some consensus across stakeholder groups around the areas of:

  • Stigma and discrimination
  • Prevention (including issues related to PrEP)
  • Medical and nursing education or health service procedures
  • Knowledge synthesis
  • Access to testing

Stakeholders also brainstormed capacity-building initiatives needed in Alberta to support a responsive CBR agenda. Initiatives included:

  • Peer support and training
  • Funding for community-driven research
  • KTE conferences and program exchanges
  • Providing evidence to support program implementation in community-based organizations

These priorities serve as a road-map for developing future projects in the region, and the CBR Collaborative’s staff, infrastructure, and resources will support initiatives that align with identified community priorities. Click here to read the full report on the consultation.


This work was funded by REACH 2.0 and carried out with support from the Alberta Community Council on HIV. 

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Key findings from the upcoming report on LGBT+ seniors’ housing in Calgary and surrounding areas

Written by Scott Montgomery, Alberta CBR Collaborative Practicum Student.


The SHARP Foundation in partnership with Rainbow Elders Calgary, Centre for Sexuality, Mount Royal University, and Habitus Consulting Collective have released key findings from their report on the housing needs of aging members of the LGBT+* community in Calgary and surrounding areas. The community-based research project was guided by an advisory committee, and peer researchers led community engagement, recruitment, and data collection.

The study surveyed 117 people 50 years or older, or people under 50 who were considering their housing needs as they age. Of the participants, the majority were between the ages of 55-64 (55.9%), and nearly one third were 65 years or older (29%).  The participants primarily identified as women (48%) or men (45%), with fewer participants identifying as  trans or non-binary (8%) or other (3%).** Most participants identified as gay (45%) or lesbian (36%), with smaller proportions identifying as straight (10%) or other (10%; bi, pansexual, asexual, questioning, no label).** A total of 15 interviews were conducted with various stakeholders including community members, professionals working with the LGBT+ community, advocates, and government representatives.

The study demonstrated that LGBT+ seniors living in Calgary and the surrounding area were concerned about facing discrimination and stigma from caregivers and other residents if required to move to seniors’ housing facilities. The study found these concerns were perpetuated by stories of seniors having to go ‘back in the closet’. Results also suggested that efforts to identify and include LGBT+ people must incorporate awareness to the intricacies of ‘openness’, safety, and previous trauma. Stakeholder interviews revealed that community members and service providers were prepared to act on these issues with the ultimate goal of cultivating inclusive communities that provide support for people to age safely in place. Dr. Brent Oliver and Floyd Visser of the SHARP Foundation visited Global News Calgary on May 7th, 2019 to talk about the project. Watch the clip below, and click HERE to learn more about the SHARP Foundation’s work.

Thank you to all team members for making this project possible, including Rocky Wallbaum, Catherine Robertson, Rowena Williams, Donna Thorsten, Floyd Visser, Diana Wark, Amanda Weightman, Lisa Elford, Natasha Hoehn, and Brent Oliver.

 


*This project chose to use LGBT+ rather than LGBTQ2S+ for reasons of generational appropriateness and accessibility. It was the caution of our Advisory Committee that ‘Queer’ may have negative historical connotations for the demographic of interest.

**Total > 100% as participants were able to select multiple options.

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Welcome to Scott Montgomery: Alberta CBR Collaborative Practicum Student

Scott is a Social Work Diploma student at Mount Royal University. After completing high school in his hometown of Peterborough, Ontario, Scott moved to Toronto to study Theatre at Ryerson University. On evenings and weekends he played bass in folk and country music bands to fund his education.  After ten years in the music and theatre business, he became interested in addiction and mental health as he observed many friends and colleagues struggle to cope with the stress of life in the limelight. Scott began volunteering at various social service agencies before moving to Calgary in 2012. Scott is currently employed as a Team Lead in the Detox program at Calgary Alpha House, as well as working for Calgary John Howard Society assisting federal parolees as they prepare to re-enter society. Professionally, he remains interested primarily in addictions, and issues affecting chronically homeless individuals suffering from drug and alcohol dependency. Scott also enjoys studying gender issues, and the role of masculinity in today’s society. He is very excited to be completing his practicum with REACH, and hopes to learn more about the role of front line social workers in fighting stigma and oppression as experienced by service users living with HIV/AIDS. Upon completion of his diploma, Scott plans on pursuing his BSW and MSW.

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What do Alberta stakeholders view as the most important characteristics of community-based research?

On March 6, 2019, 23 community stakeholders gathered in Calgary to discuss community-based research (CBR) priorities and capacity-building needs in the province. Attendees included independent community leaders living with HIV, representatives from community-based organizations, researchers from Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary, and an Alberta Health Services employee.

To kick-off the meeting, attendees brainstormed what they viewed as the three most important characteristics of CBR. Attendees wrote down their ideas on sticky-notes and posted them on a flip chart, grouping their responses with similar ideas suggested by others. The image above is a word cloud generated from these groupings, where larger words indicate greater frequency than smaller words. Many stakeholders highlighted the importance of:

  • GIPA/MIPA
  • Engagement
  • Collaboration
  • Relationships
  • Equity
  • Addressing gaps in knowledge

These characteristics are consistent with the CBR Collaborative Centre’s ‘Principles of CBR’, which guide the initiatives undertaken by the centre and its regional teams. Hearing these principles echoed by Alberta stakeholders in the brainstorming activity served as a reminder to reflect on how we are supporting these ideas in our day-to-day work and in the Centre’s initiatives moving forward.

The March 6 consultation provided an opportunity to discuss many topics related to CBR in Alberta. Keep your eyes (and inboxes!) open for a full report on the consultation.

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How Do We Measure Success? Developing Shared Outcome Tools for HIV Supportive Housing Services in Western Canada

A multi-province team spanning Western Canada has utilized a participatory program evaluation approach to develop shared outcome tools for HIV supportive housing programs. The team developed the tools to demonstrate how their programs improve not just the physical health of people living with HIV, but also their quality of life.

Baseline intake and follow-up tools were developed through a series of participatory workshops, interviews, and meetings that included frontline staff, clients, and the family members of service users. The aim of this process was to collaboratively build relevant outcome measures that were useful to services users and front-line staff, and were capable of demonstrating change over time among clients.

Led by Floyd Visser (The SHARP Foundation) and Dr. Cathy Worthington (University of Victoria), this project brought together service providers from across Western Canada. Service providers included Sanctum Group from Saskatoon, and McLaren Housing Society and the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation from Vancouver. Additional partners included Dr. Brent Oliver (Mount Royal University), Dr. Hart Krentz (Southern Alberta HIV/AIDS Clinic), Janice Duddy (Pacific AIDS Network), and an HIV positive peer.

In addition to developing useful tools, the collaborative nature of this project enhanced provider-provider relationships in Western Canada. The project facilitated opportunities for providers to learn from each other, and to work together in strengthening supportive housing programs for people living with HIV.

Read more about this project, and other REACH 2.0 initiatives here.

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New Implementation Science Research Design Tool

The Centre for Implementation Science at King’s College London has recently developed the ImpRes Tool. Its purpose is to support research teams who are in the process of designing implementation research and work to implement evidence-based interventions into practice.See: http://www.kingsimprovementscience.org/files/ImpRes_Guide_April_2018.pdf?utm_source=EIC+Stakeholders&utm_campaign=7c2e35f8b4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_04_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ea81bd44fe-7c2e35f8b4-295895941

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MB HIV Collective Impact Network April Symposium Great Success!

A Great Success!
The Symposium was an overwhelming success with over 95 people in attendance on April13. The purpose of the event was for knowledge exchange, idea generation and for network building. We had people from Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia as well as people from all over Manitoba!
We were pleased to have 18 posters including a quilt as a poster!
We particularly appreciated the many out-of-town presenters and participants who were able to attend.
Many thanks to all the helpers who made this happen: including volunteers, staff, students, & our Stewardship Team.
We will be preparing a report. Watch for it in our next Monthly e-news in June!

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Researcher Workshop: Navigating the New HIV Funding Landscape

CAHR is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the Early- to Mid-Career level HIV Researcher Workshop, which will focus on Navigating the New HIV Funding Landscape. This workshop will aim to enable researchers to succeed in the new Canadian research funding schemes, provide strategies for developing successful grant proposals, and explore research funding alternatives.

This workshop – to be co-chaired by Drs. Bob Hogg (Simon Fraser University), Carol Strike (University of Toronto) and Curtis Cooper (University of Ottawa) – will be held in partnership with the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative Alliance Coordinating Office, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research.

Individuals wishing to attend the Early to Mid-Career level HIV Researcher Workshop must apply to the Canadian Association for HIV Research. Registration will be open to HIV researchers from all tracks who meet the following criteria:

Applicants must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant
  • Focus their area of research in HIV or HCV Co-Infection
  • Have an academic appointment or a position as an independent researcher at a hospital or other organization at the time of application

The following must be included in the application:

  • Letter of request indicating reasons for attending the Workshop (max 200 words)
  • A two page bio sketch, using NIH format. Please click here for link.

Event details are as follows:

Date: Sunday January 15 – Tuesday January 17. Sessions will run from Monday Morning to Tuesday Evening

Location: Buffalo Mountain Lodge, Banff, AB

Cost: Registration for the workshop is $200. This includes 3 nights’ accommodation at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge, all workshop materials, and food throughout the meeting. *Note that participants will be expected to cover their own travel costs to and from the meeting*

Please visit email tmerkeepp@icid.com for more information.

Apply Now! Application Deadline: Monday, November 21

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Where are we now? The Impact of the IPV Protocol Screening Survey

Intimate partner violence (IPV) refers specifically to abuse within an intimate relationship, the immediate and long-term effects of which can have devastating impacts.

Recent studies are showing that people living with HIV experience a high burden of IPV, and although it has also been shown to be a significant risk factor in acquiring HIV, few studies have focused on how past or current experiences with IPV affect individual’s engagement to HIV care after their diagnosis.

The team at the Southern Alberta HIV Clinic in Calgary (SAC) believe in the importance of asking all individuals living with HIV a series of standardized questions, via the IPV Protocol Screening Survey, that address their experiences with IPV. The data collected from the last several years has allowed for a broader understanding of the prevalence of IPV in different and more diverse populations than previously reported, and has also led to the expansion of the definition of ‘communities impacted by IPV’ to include populations beyond those usually considered ‘vulnerable’.

The IPV Protocol Screening Survey is a low cost, high reward intervention that can positively impact individuals living with HIV and the effects of IPV and is accepted by both patients and providers because it gives space to acknowledge the impact of people’s experience with IPV and enhances HIV care outcomes while expressing empathy and understanding.

This project is ongoing and you can read more about their findings in the following articles:

Miller P, Siemieniuk RAC, Woodman K, Krentz HB, Gill MJ  Interpersonal violence and its impact on persons living with HIV: a social work response. Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services 2015; 14:308-318.

Rassi SE, Krentz HB, Siemieniuk RAC, Gill MJ Implementing an IPV screening protocol in HIV Care. AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2015; 29(3):1-9

Siemieniuk, RAC, Krentz HB, Gill MJ 2013 Intimate Partner Violence and HIV: A Review. Curr HIV/AIDS Reports 10:380-389. DOI 10.1007/s11904-013-0173-9

Siemieniuk, RAC, Krentz HB, Miller P, Woodman K, Gill MJ 2013 The clinical implications of high rates of intimate partner violence against HIV-positive women JAIDS 64(1):32-38

Siemieniuk, RAC, Miller P, Woodman K, Ko K, Krentz HB, Gill MJ 2012 Prevalence, clinical associations, and impact of intimate partner violence among HIV-infected gay and bisexual Men: a population based study. HIV Medicine   DOI:10.111/hiv 12005 (2012)

Siemieniuk RAC, Krentz HB, Gish JA, Gill MJ 2010. Domestic Violence Screening: Prevalence and Outcomes in a Canadian HIV Population. AIDS Patient Care and STDs 24(12):763-770.

 Questions or concerns about this project? Contact: hartmut.krentz@ahs.ca

 

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Calgary Men’s Wellness Initiative Survey

The Calgary Men’s Wellness Initiative is a community-based research project that investigates the health and wellness needs of the MSM population in Calgary. They have recently completed a survey and interviews that asked

  1. What are the health and wellness needs of gay, bisexual, queer and other men who have sex with men, including trans men?
  2. What gaps and barriers exist in the health sector for GBQM?

The results of this project are having a huge impact! There have been a number of educational outreach initiatives to inform service providers and community members. Findings have been shared in a community forum in Calgary, at a provincial meeting of HIV service providers, and at a one-day skills building conference for medical students and health care providers.  Additionally, The Calgary Sexual Health Centre has used the findings to inform an HIV/STI testing clinic twice a month. It has even sparked conversation about potentially developing an LGBTQ-specific health clinic in Calgary.

The data collected will also be used to guide a larger province-wide project that was recently funded by CIHR that aims to engage Alberta based researchers, decision makers, front line workers, and community-based organizations in identifying a provincial research agenda for HIV prevention in Alberta.

A summary report and other relevant publications are in the works and will be shared as soon as they’re available!

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