Community health workers (CHWs) can play a key role in linking people living with HIV to critical medical care and providing ongoing support to help them navigate the health care system and remain adherent to HIV treatment.
CHWs are lay members of communities who work either for pay or as volunteers in association with the local health care system and usually share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, and life experiences with the community members they serve. In HIV care settings, they are often HIV-positive peers who give counseling and guidance on health behaviors and assist people in receiving the care they need.
With the funding from the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced a funding opportunity for a new program: Improving Access to Care: Using Community Health Workers to Improve Linkage and Retention in HIV Care (HRSA 16-185). The announcement solicits applications to support a single organization that will serve as the Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center (TAEC) for the new initiative.
The goal of this three-year cooperative agreement is to increase the utilization of CHWs to improve access to and retention in HIV care among racial and ethnic minority populations. The project will focus on assisting HIV medical care provider sites, particularly those funded by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP), with the support needed to integrate CHWs into a multidisciplinary HIV care team model through training, direct technical assistance, and collaborative learning sessions.
In consultation with HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau, the TAEC will provide three levels of training and/or technical assistance (TA): direct TA; webinars/webcasts; and learning collaboratives. Direct TA will be provided to up to ten (10) RWHAP medical provider sites serving racial/ethnic minority populations in geographic locations with low rates of retention and/or viral suppression as reported in the 2014 Ryan White Services Report (RSR). The selected sites also will each receive a sub-award to support the development and implementation of their CHW program.
The deadline for applications is July 12. The application package is available on Grants.gov. For more information on the funding opportunity and how to apply, see the archived webinar available on the HRSA HAB TARGET Center website .
This program is part of ongoing SMAIF efforts to support innovative programs that prevent new HIV infections and improve health outcomes among people living with HIV in racial and ethnic minority populations.