We often talk about the ease of using new media tools, and the fact that many of them are free or low-cost ways to get the word out about your services and resources. But what if your organization doesn’t have enough computers to go around? And what type of assistance do experts in the HIV community need to become experts in using all the tools available to support their work? We spoke to Circe J. Gray Le Compte, Director of Communications at the National Minority AIDS Council , about one program that aims to address these questions. Here’s what Circe had to say:
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) , with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of AIDS Research (OAR), oversees the Equal Access Initiative (EAI) Computer Program. Through this initiative, we award computer equipment and software to qualified minority faith-based and community-based organizations in the U.S. and its territories that deliver HIV and AIDS services in underserved communities. Since its inception, the EAI has helped hundreds of minority-focused organizations provide clients access to online HIV and AIDS-related information — clearinghouses, news sites, and trainings — enabling them to make informed choices related to prevention, treatment, and care.
In 2007, the EAI program (with the assistance of the National Library of Medicine (NLM)) expanded to include a specialized training course entitled, “Equal Access Initiative: HIV/AIDS Information Resources from the National Library of Medicine.” That course was offered at the U.S. Conference on AIDS.
Two participants from the 2009 EAI program have volunteered to share their experience in the EAI Program. We will follow their progress on this blog throughout the year, learning along with them (and from them) about using new media to support their work.
Melva L. Florance is the Executive Director of LaStraw , which is located in Greensboro, NC. Her agency seeks to “create an accessible network of human and social services empowering low-income people to improve their quality of life.” Her organization is relatively new and she is very excited about sharing how she is using new media to make connections with other leaders in the AIDS community, as well as to deliver HIV prevention messages and information.
Archbishop Joyce Turner-Keller is head of Aspirations Wholistic Tutorial Services , which addresses HIV and AIDS “through community outreach, using the media, flyers, neighborhood partnerships, churches, public schools, universities, and other agencies.” She looks forward to sharing her experiences using new media tools for the first time.
The program will not be accepting new applications until later this spring – you can learn more about the 2009 EAI computer program here .
Stay tuned for further updates from the EAI participants and NMAC! And to learn more about NMAC’s commitment to new media, follow them on Twitter , Facebook , and YouTube . What do you see as barriers to equal access to computers in your community? What do you think would help address these issues?