REACH ALBERTA WORKING GROUP MEETS, MAPS AND IDENTIFIES

On March 11, 2015 the REACH Alberta Working Group (RAWG) met at Mount Royal University (MRU) in Calgary. The group, created in November 2014, hopes to link HIV research efforts in Alberta to the CIHR Centre for REACH and other community-based research (CBR) initiatives across Canada. Members present at the MRU meeting participated in a facilitated mapping exercise of current HIV CBR initiatives in order to discuss current initiatives as well as identify areas that could benefit from increased collaboration.

The successful mapping exercise brought forth many issues that were subsequently categorized into three main areas where focused work is recommended:

1. Partnership: The lack of partnerships between CBR stakeholders has led to missed opportunities to share resources, information and engage in more collaborative action. This may benefit from a point of contact that would coordinate initiatives, enhance communication, and share information to all relevant stakeholders.

2. Capacity Building: The lack of capacity among community organizations to engage effectively in research is likely due to a combination of time constraints and heavy workloads. It was suggested that there is a need for more Alberta- focused research in order to support program planning and funding applications.

3. GIPA Principles (the incorporation of): There is a pressing need within Alberta to engage people living with HIV in more meaningful ways in research. This can be made possible with funding to provide skills training for peer research associates and academics.

It was a successful meeting overall, and we look forward to hearing more from RAWG!

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