CHIPTS welcomed our newly elected CHIPTS Community Advisory Board Co-Chairs to the position on Friday, October 12, 2018 for the 2018-2019 year. Dahlia Ferlito, who was re-elected for a second term, and Aaron Celious both have a great wealth of experience and vision for the board that will guide the CAB to reach its full potential. The CHIPTS CAB has long been a place of collaboration and discussion between our researchers and the communities affected by HIV. The goal of this advisory group is to ensure that the research, dissemination, and activities conducted by CHIPTS researchers are relevant and meaningful to the lives of the diverse communities they serve. Dahlia and Aaron have shared their thoughts on leading this board together in the upcoming year.

Dahlia’s vision for the CAB is to have representation from communities most impacted by HIV and mental health/substance use comorbidities. In addition, to provide critical feedback on research efforts, and use the CAB as a way of bridging the divide between academia and community by creating opportunities for the dissemination of research findings in an accessible way. Dahlia declares, “I am a firm believer in community based participatory research” and also believes that those who are impacted by HIV and/or substance use, and sit at the intersections of multiple identities should benefit in tangible ways by receiving and understanding research findings, particularly since they provide crucial information about their lived experiences to enhance our understanding of issues. Dahlia would like to see the CAB actively participate in ensuring that the knowledge gained through research studies is used to enhance service delivery, develop policies, and scale up advocacy efforts.

Aaron echoed this sentiment adding that the working vision of CHIPTS in collaboration with the CAB is to identify and summarize key findings of current and previous CHIPTS studies that support three platforms of service delivery, policy and advocacy. Aaron believes that research findings from the center should be summarized and disseminated via the CHIPTS website and in policy briefs for the benefit of community members engaged in the aforementioned platforms.

Both Co-Chairs are looking forward to guiding the CAB in a direction to help create awareness, provide feedback to investigators and disseminate research information to target communities and we’re so excited to have them on board this year!