Making It Work Project Funded in BC

The Pacific AIDS Network has been successful in receiving funding under CIHR’s HIV/AIDS CBR Catalyst Grant – Aboriginal Stream for the Making It Work: Supporting Community Approaches to Integrated Service Models for People Living with HIV, HCV, Ill Mental Health, and/or Problematic Substance Use project. This project was initiated by a team of front-line workers and people with lived experience in BC and is headed by Evin Jones, Executive Director of PAN and Dr. Melanie Rusch from Island Health.

Front-line workers in BC have noticed that people living with HIV and/or hepatitis C (HCV) are facing many challenges, and for those who are also confronted with ill mental health and/or problematic substance use, it becomes exponentially more difficult to access services and maintain good health. It is often community-based organizations (CBOs) who provide a first point of contact and assist these individuals in navigating complex health care landscapes.

The proposed project will examine how service providers support the needs of people accessing case management and/or community development programs to inform an evaluation framework for assessing program outcomes for service users living with HIV, HCV, ill mental health and/or problematic substance use. Because Aboriginal peoples are disproportionately impacted by the HIV/HCV epidemics, this catalyst work will enable our team to examine culture as an important context to consider and we will therefore evaluate how service providers support Aboriginal clients and whether services are culturally safe. To achieve this, we will use a Realist Evaluation (RE) framework – a theory-driven approach that asks “How or why does this work, for whom and in what circumstances?” rather than just “what works” (Pawson and Tilley) thus paying attention to the context of a program and the mechanisms that produce particular outcomes − to develop a detailed program theory.

Outcomes and Impacts of Our Work: A key outcome of this project will be to submit an innovative Operating Grant proposal that will expand and build upon this catalyst phase to implement the program theory and conduct an evaluation of a broad spectrum of case management and community development services in the province to (a) evaluate program outcomes, (b) to assess the linkage between cultural safety and outcomes, and (c) to examine synergies between approaches. The evaluation findings will allow us to test our hypothesis that services for people living with complex issues would be improved by linking case management and community development services and by ensuring cultural safety for service users. The ultimate goal of this work is to improve services for people living with complex health issues.

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