CHIPTS Strategic Launch Meeting

On Monday, March 14, 2022, CHIPTS was honored to host 37 members, affiliates, and community advisory board representatives at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center for the CHIPTS Strategic Launch Meeting. The launch meeting was an opportunity to discuss innovative approaches to advance intersectional science in HIV and co-morbid psychosocial and structural conditions, and ways to elevate the Center’s impact for the new 5-year grant cycle. CHIPTS Director Dr. Steve Shoptaw provided the opening remarks, emphasizing the importance of taking risks, lifting up new, strong leaders in the field, and expanding the Center’s partnerships and reach both locally and globally.

Global HIV Prevention Science at CHIPTS

CHIPTS Global HIV Co-Director Dr. Pamina M. Gorbach moved the conversation forward by discussing the impactful work of CHIPTS scientists globally on the topics of PrEP, substance use, and STIs. Dr. Gorbach highlighted the importance of establishing collaborative networks among UCLA programs with existing global training opportunities, including CHIPTS, the Fielding School of Public Health, and the David Geffen School of Medicine, to expand global HIV prevention science. Group discussion centered on how to best use available funding mechanisms and leverage partnerships to elevate CHIPTS’ global work in the new grant cycle.

The State of HIV and STDs in Los Angeles County and Aligning with the Local Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative

Dr. Shoptaw then welcomed Mario J. Perez, Director of the Division of HIV and STD Programs (DHSP), and Julie Tolentino, Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Program Manager, from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to share the state of HIV and STDs in LA County and discuss local initiatives that target the national EHE goals.

Mr. Perez offered promising data showing an overall decline in the number of new HIV diagnoses in LA County while highlighting significant concerns regarding health disparities, retention in care rates, syphilis rates, and perinatal HIV transmissions. He noted that these issues are all exacerbated by intersecting health challenges (e.g. substance use, mental illness) and social and structural conditions. Ms. Tolentino then provided an update on the EHE Initiative in LA County, which takes an equity-oriented approach to addressing the HIV epidemic and related syndemics with a focus on disproportionately impacted communities including Black and Latinx populations. She defined several activities of focus under each EHE pillar (diagnose, treat, prevent, respond). Mr. Perez and Ms. Tolentino both emphasized a need to continue leveraging the partnership between DHSP and CHIPTS to support effective implementation of strategies and resources to address the HIV epidemic in LA County.

Brainstorming Solutions/Opportunities

CHIPTS Co-Director Dr. Raphy Landovitz facilitated the final portion of the meeting, which was dedicated to brainstorming solutions and opportunities to address local EHE needs and meet Center goals. Participants  were split up by core (methods, policy, combination prevention, and development/administrative) to respond to a set of guiding questions with actionable core-specific and cross-core recommendations. Community advisory board members were invited to share their ideas, discuss priorities, and consider roles they could play in connection with each core.

Each group discussion was led by the respective core’s leaders and focused on strategies to address challenges presented throughout the meeting, ways to increase diversity at the Center and within each core, and ways to align with and support the local EHE goals and priorities outlined by Mr. Perez and Ms. Tolentino. Additionally, cores discussed methods to enhance collaborative efforts with the UCLA Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), and other partners.

Brainstormed strategies were written on poster paper and presented to all participants at the end of the activity. Participants were then invited to view all strategies brainstormed by each core and indicate their top priorities. This information will be used to inform core-specific and CHIPTS-wide activities moving forward.

View our mini-gallery featuring photos from the meeting.