Public Health Consortium for HIV Disparities Research

Eric Bing, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science; Trista Bingham, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; David Kanouse, RAND Corporation; William King, UC Los Angeles; Paul Simon, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
California Collaborative HIV/AIDS Research Centers

Significant disparities in HIV transmission, treatment outcomes and quality of life exist among California's disadvantaged populations. We need a fresh, collaborative approach to developing effective HIV prevention campaigns and treatment programs among these populations.

We believe that the proposed Public Health Consortium for HIV Disparities Research offers that fresh approach. We will promote, conduct and support innovative research on community contexts and social networks that have the potential to reduce HIV-related disparities. This approach holds particular promise for reducing HIV transmission and improving care among communities who often face structural barriers to services and whose cultural beliefs strongly value social, faith-based and friendship networks.

To achieve our goal of stimulating innovative research in HIV disparities, we draw on the unique and complementary strengths of our three partner institutions--the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, a historically African American medical school; RAND, a public policy and research institute; and the Los Angeles County Division of Public Health, the largest public health department in California. The Consortium will be led by a team with representation from all three institutions, as well as community members impacted by HIV/AIDS.

The Consortium will conduct two original research projects on community contexts and social networks. In the fi rst project, an inter-institutional and multi-disciplinary team will investigate the geographic reach of HIV prevention programs to aid the development of more effective prevention policies and interventions. In the second project, Consortium investigators will evaluate the impact of social support and networks on adherence to treatment in order to develop more effective strategies for keeping African Americans and Latinos with HIV in care.

The Consortium will enhance the research capacity and sustainability of partner institutions to conduct innovative HIV disparities research through strategic planning, project oversight, statistical support, stimulating think tanks, pilot projects, methodological training and support for proposal development.

We believe that our approach has strong potential to invigorate the fi eld through high-quality research and to possibly change the course of HIV/AIDS within disadvantaged and under- researched populations of California.