In May, APA's Public Interest Directorate received $1.6 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand the work of its Healthy Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Students Project.
The project-which began in 1999-is funded under a CDC program that aims to reduce HIV infection among young men who have sex with men, particularly among African Americans and Latinos. It focuses on building schools' and youth-serving organizations' ability to improve health and mental health outcomes for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
HIV-prevention efforts that focus too narrowly on behavioral risks without considering the broader context in which those risks develop are likely to achieve only limited success, says Hank Tomlinson, PhD, director of the project. APA's project works at both levels, he says, by strengthening individual HIV-prevention interventions and by improving the broader psychosocial environment for LGBT youth.
The project's goals are three-pronged, Tomlinson explains. First, APA will continue to offer a daylong HIV-prevention education workshop to education agencies and community-based youth-serving organizations. The workshop has been offered 37 times over the past five years, training approximately 1,100 school counselors, nurses, psychologists and social workers. Second, the team plans to recruit and train behavioral and social scientist volunteers to help community-based organizations-such as churches, schools and advocacy groups-enhance their HIV-prevention programs.
"The help might be as simple as providing basic guidance for new organizations to develop infrastructure, attract volunteers or raise money for HIV prevention," Tomlinson explains. "Or it could be as complex as working with a well-developed organization that already has HIV-prevention programs to adapt and tailor evidence-based interventions to make sure they're as effective as possible."
Finally, the team plans to conduct a literature review and a needs assessment to find out what kinds of capacity-building assistance community-based and nonprofit organizations that work with LGBT youth need most.
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