For Release Upon Receipt - October 20, 2006
Contact: Kira Jastive, 617-358-1240, firstname.lastname@example.org
BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK AWARDED NEW GRANTS TO HELP FIGHT AGAINST HIV AND AIDS
(Boston) – The Boston University School of Social Work (SSW) was recently awarded two new grants totaling more than $3 million from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund projects aimed at helping the fight against HIV and AIDS.
The first grant from SAMHSA will allow the SSW researchers to test whether providing mobile mental health and health services will result in a reduction of HIV risky behaviors among a sample of 700 Puerto Rican injection drug uses. It includes $500,000 for evaluation and $2 million for intervention. The program effort will expand upon services of Tapestry Health’s La Voz stationary HIV outreach program to include mobile van services for the Western Massachusetts region providing HIV outreach, education, testing, and mental health counseling services.
“This project is especially important since this geographic area has one of the highest HIV incidence rates related to injection drug in the nation,” said Lena Lundgren, associate professor of social welfare policy and the project’s principal investigator. “The Latino population is disproportionately affected, so hopefully the new La Voz mobile program facility will prove to be a great benefit to them.”
Currently, all HIV prevention efforts are located in one community in Springfield, MA. Through this new effort, La Voz will acquire and adapt a van to serve as a mobile program facility. Outreach workers, trained in motivational interviewing techniques, will provide HIV risk avoidance education and supplies, as well as referrals to van medical and mental health staff and to substance abuse treatment services. A trained nurse on the van will conduct testing for HIV, Hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections and a full-time mental health counselor will provide mental health screenings, counseling, and referrals to psychiatric care.
The second grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA) will provide SWW and the BU School of Public Health (SPH) $550,000 to establish an Evaluation and Support Center to support new approaches to providing oral health care to HIV-positive, underserved populations in urban and non-urban areas where oral health services are inadequate or do not exist.
The grant is funded under the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Program of the Ryan White CARE Act. The CARE Act was enacted in 1990 to provide health care and services to low-income, underinsured individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. SPH Professor Carol Tobias is the principal investigator and SSW Professor Sara Bachman is the co-principal investigator.
“This award is significant since a key requirement of the SPNS Program is to develop, evaluate, and replicate innovative models of HIV care around the country,” said Bachman.
In addition to the local program evaluation plan, the researchers will provide a plan for disseminating project findings to HIV/AIDS policy bodies nationally and to wider CARE Act and other audiences working with HIV-positive individuals.
The School of Social Work at Boston University is one of the oldest schools of social work in the country and is known for its research and training in the areas of substance abuse, gerontology, health and mental health, and children and youth, and for the involvement of its faculty in community-based projects.
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 30,000 students, it is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. BU contains 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.
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