Local HIV/AIDS educator Linda N. Stringfellow, director of AmeriCorps*VISTA at Delta State University, has earned travel to attend the 2014 United States Conference on AIDS in San Diego, Calif. in October in recognition of her brown bag lunch program, a training initiative by the Black AIDS Institute (BAI).
Stringfellow’s trainings are one of dozens that occurred across the country this year. BAI is a collective of leaders engaged in a seven-part series that provides information to local communities about HIV science, policy and prevention.
According to the Center for Disease Control, African Americans account for approximately 14 percent of the United States population and 44 percent of new HIV infections. Increasing science literacy in disproportionately impacted communities is vital to ending the epidemic.
Stringfellow organized the lunches after engaging in training and capacity-building initiatives with BAI.
“I’ve always had a passion for teaching and sharing knowledge,” said Stringfellow. “The brown bag trainings provide the perfect opportunity for me to serve as a bridge that transfers knowledge from a larger source directly to a particular group of people. Community mobilization is key in any movement — education empowers communities.”
These events consisted of panel discussions, group discussions, and lunch and learn sessions. Collaborating organizations included: My Brother’s Keeper, Jackson; Building Bridges Inc., Jackson; BTAN Jackson; Mississippi State Department of Health; and the MS HIV Planning Group, Jackson.
The program attracted college students, community volunteers, staff with AIDS service organizations, health clinics, Black Treatment Advocates Network participants and people living with HIV/AIDS.
The program is an eight-segment series that aims to improve HIV care and treatment through training, networking, and mobilization. A cohort of over 40 people will host educational events from January 2014 to December 2014. Trainers work with the institute to learn information, then organize local events.
Founded in May of 1999, the BAI is the only national HIV/AIDS think tank in the United States focused exclusively on the black population. The institute’s mission is to stop the AIDS pandemic in black communities by engaging and mobilizing black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV.
Learn more at http://www.blackaids.org/.