Webinar: Interventions that work for multiply diagnosed HIV-positive homeless populations

Webinar: engaging HIV-Positive Homeless Populations bit.ly/HIVMedicalHome

June 13, 2018 2:00 PM (Eastern Time)

For many people living with HIV(PLWH), effective treatment begins with stable, secure, and adequate housing. Join us for an interactive webinar to learn how two successful programs are addressing homelessness and housing instability and behavioral health disorders, improving client engagement and retention in care, and observing improved rates of viral suppression. Presenters will share their experiences and provide practical knowledge gained from their work as HRSA/HAB Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Building a Medical Home for Multiply Diagnosed HIV-positive Homeless Populations demonstration sites.

During the webinar, presenters will explore:

  • Why the medical home model is an especially effective approach for PLWH experiencing homelessness or housing instability and co-occurring mental health and/or substance use disorders and other co-morbidities
  • Organizational resources needed to implement these evidence-informed interventions
  • How to expand partnerships with providers to build a stronger care network for your HIV-positive clients

Presenters will share best practices, intervention replication tips, and participate in a Q&A session. This webinar is brought to you by the SPNS Integrating HIV Innovative Practices (IHIP) project. The interventions presented in this webinar are two of nine demonstration sites that were part of the Med-HEART project for which CISWH and Boston Health Care for the Homeless served as the evaluation and technical assistance center.


Manisha Maskay, Ph.D.
Prism Health North Texas, Dallas, TX
Health, Hope, and Recovery (HHR)

Angélica Palmeros, MSW
City of Pasadena Public Health Department, Pasadena, CA
Operation Link

Precious Jackson
City of Pasadena Public Health Department, Pasadena, CA
Operation Link


Intersectionality and Health: Breaking Down Barriers to Quality Care

At 8:30 on a beautiful Saturday morning in April, students from the Boston University (BU) schools of social work, public health, medicine, dentistry, and Sargent college as well as health practitioners across a wide range of disciplines trooped into the Hiebert Lounge on the 14th floor of the BU Medical classroom building. They were devoting this precious time right before finals to explore how they as current or future health practitioners could deepen their understanding of intersectionality and health to provide better care and eliminate health inequities for people with multiple marginalized and intersecting identities.

The student-led conference was the brainchild of Jackson Rodriguez, who had experienced multiple frustrating encounters in their attempt to access health care that met their needs. These experiences led them to become a student at BU School of Social Work and inspired the vision for the conference.

“My hope in co-organizing [the conference] is to provide intentional space where we center the lives and stories of the people we will encounter not just in the doctor’s office or therapist’s room, but … the people we interact with anywhere on a daily basis,” explained Jackson. “I believe that by opening up ourselves to fully listen and engage with people who are consistently absent in mainstream media, we can move toward seeing and talking about these barriers in an effort to break them down over time.”

Planning team: Five people stand together facing the camera.

Planning committee co-leaders (from left) Students of Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) Megan Niegisch, Rebecca Bilodeau, and Jackson Rodriguez: and staff of BUSSW Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health Nandini Choudhury, Research Assistant, and Madi Wachman, Program Manager

Rebecca Bilodeau and Megan Niegisch, students at BU School of Social Work (BUSSW) explained that the term “intersectionality”, was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. It is about how, at a system level, people are pushed to the margins, and their oppression is compounded based on overlapping, interconnected aspects of their identities.

To explain what this somewhat abstract-sounding concept means in the lives of real people, three speakers related the challenges, discrimination, and injustices they experienced when the US health care system failed to support their multiple layers of identity and cultural beliefs.

When the health care system collides with multiple layers of identify

Mickey Thomas seated holding a microphone.

Keynote speaker Mickey Thomas: “Trying to access mental health services was one of the most frustrating experiences ever.”

Keynote speaker Mickey Thomas works as an after-school elementary school teacher and facilitates workshops on topics from addressing ableism in LGBTQ spaces to sexual education that is accessible to all. The common face of depression – that of a white, middle-aged, upper middle class cisgender woman – did not resonate with their experiences as a Black teenager. “If you’re black, you don’t have the right to be mentally ill,” they explained. “I was taught I had to be strong. We are always taught to suck it up. It is not cool that you are taught that you have to suffer in silence because you don’t deserve access to care.”

Sandy Ho shared her experiences in the form of a letter to her first social work therapist.

Sandy Ho is a disability community-organizer and the founder of the Disability & Intersectionality Summit. In an open letter to a social work therapist, she explained how the treatment she received made her feel dismissed and ignored. “I was not sure I was allowed to give voice to my pain,” she said. “I did not have the privilege to be listened to.” Sandy explained to her therapist the importance of being viewed as an autonomous individual, not as a recipient of services. She ended with a challenge to all of us listening to her letter: “How will you acknowledge the wholeness of the next person who comes into your office?”

Nikki Friedman stands at Boston University podium talking to attendees listening.

Nikki Friedman: Having a sense of self does help, but it doesn’t make it [the struggle with mental health] go away. It is still going to be a struggle and I am not afraid to be open about it.”

Nikki Friedman, a student at BUSSW with a focus in macro practice, draws on her lived experience with mental illness in her work as a peer specialist with Riverside Community Care. Nikki shared her own experiences seeking mental healthcare, and highlighted the limits of employment support for people struggling with mental illness. Nikki recognized her privilege in living in a white, upper middle class family as enabling her to receive plenty of care, and cited the desire to ensure that all people have access to care as a motivation for pursuing social work.

Breakout Sessions

A series of breakout sessions gave attendees the opportunity to hear from organizations that work with communities who often are marginalized by the dominant culture, leading to challenges gaining access to culturally appropriate, respectful services.


Representative from Boston GLASS controlling a video from a laptop at the podium as attendees watch.

Boston GLASS presented a provider-focused discussion of challenges in accessing health care among LGBTQ+ populations.

Shannon Al-Wakeel of the Muslim Justice League speaks in front of a microphone.

Shannon Al-Wakeel, executive director and co-founder of the Muslim Justice League, talked about how “counter-extremism programs” impact marginalized communities.

Organizations share information with attendees

Participants also had the opportunity to explore materials and interact with representatives from several organizations at tables set up around the room. Presenting their services and resources were ZenCare, BAGLY – the Boston Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Youth, Boston GLASS, the Triangle Program at Arbour-HRI Hospital, and the Bisexual Resource Center.

Two attendees stand talking with a person seated at a table with a rainbow-colored tablecloth, with conference attendees seated at tables behind them.

Two attendees talk with a representative from the Triangle Program at Arbour-HRI Hospital

Two people seated behind a table with a banner displaying the BAGLY logo and URL (www.BAGLY.org)

The Boston Alliance of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Youth was on hand to share resources and information about their services with attendees.

Afternoon panel shares experiences working with people with marginalized intersecting identities

Dawn Belkin-Martinez, clinical associate professor, BUSSW, moderated a panel of professionals who serve marginalized communities. The panel shared their perspectives on breaking down barriers to quality care for people with multiple, marginalized and intersecting identities.

The panel included Paula Cushner, a nurse practitioner who works with adults experiencing homelessness at Cambridge/Somerville Healthcare for the Homeless Program of the Cambridge Health Alliance, Tfawa Haynes, a clinical social worker and research study therapist and clinical supervisor at the Fenway Community Health Center, the Fenway Insistute, and AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Tanekwah Hinds, the women’s health program coordinator at Fenway Community Health Center, and Dave Rini, the Prison Rape Elimination Act project coordinator at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Panelists reflected on the role of their personal and professional identities in how they serve clients, how they strive to welcome all people, and how they learn from their clients.

Group of five people standing smiling at the camera.

Panelists front row from left: Paula Cushner, Nurse Practitioner, Cambridge/Somerville Healthcare for the Homeless Program of the Cambridge Health Alliance; Dawn Belkin-Martinez, Clinical Associate Professor, BUSSW (moderator); Tanekwah Hinds, Women’s Health Program Coordinator, Fenway Health
Second row from left: Dave Rini, Prison Rape Elimination Act Coordinator, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center; Tfawa Haynes, Clinical Supervisor, Fenway Health.

Several themes emerged during the course of the panel discussion. The clinics where Paula works enable patients to have direct access to and build relationships with service providers. “If they need more than what we can offer, then we will do everything we can to get what they need. We have a motto: If we tell you we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do it.” Dave shared that he has to do a lot of “code switching.” “When I speak with staff in the correctional system, I need to ‘talk lawyer’ to them in a way that is effective and informed but not threatening,” he said. But with clients, he puts the lawyer talk aside and tries to speak in a way that helps clients regain the sense of agency that was stripped away by sexual violence. These experiences reflect the importance of building relationships and trust with clients by meeting them where they are/adapting to different situations.

The role of a professional or practitioner’s identity also plays a role in service delivery, Dave emphasized that his experiences are different from the incarcerated individuals he meets with, particularly in the sense that he has never been incarcerated. “I have come to understand that I don’t necessarily know what folks are going through. So I try to ask a lot of questions—questions that don’t have assumptions in them.” Tfawa highlighted bringing a sense of personal authenticity to the work. “When someone comes into a session with me, there’s often times this blank slate where they can project onto me,” explained Tfawa. “But I am in no way blank…You can’t know everything about the other, but you can know about yourself. I try to bring the truth about who I am and not hide that from them.

The panelists also highlighted the need to engage clients in healing and center the experiences and strengths of community members. “I put the expertise back on the client, move the desk away and work side by side. We are here working on this together,” said Tfawa. Providers may sometimes perpetuate oppression by putting people into binary boxes instead of allowing them to use their own language to define themselves, said Tanekwah. In her role as community organizer and activist, Tanekwah recognizes the people who are already doing the work and seeks to uplift their voices. “I use the outreach I have to uplift those voices and communities by empowering them to do a workshop, for example.”

In closing

Lydia Brown speaking into a hand-held microphone while raising the other hand.

Lydia X.Z. Brown, Disability Justice Organizer and Advocate wraps up the conference.

Lydia X.Z. Brown, a disability justice advocate, organizer, and writer, summarized the day’s discussions by explaining the distinction between disability rights and disability justice: while disability rights focuses on changing laws, regulations, policies, and programs, disability justice incorporates these efforts into a framework that seeks to transform the intersecting systems in society and culture that lead to patterns of abusive behavior.

“We can’t do the work without asking ourselves who’s not here and why?” Lydia said. Disability Justice asks “how we can build whole communities and value systems that challenge the current ones that devalue some of our bodies and minds?” they asked. “How can we support one another, because we all are worthy, valuable, and desirable, and we all deserve love and care. This is what disability justice has to offer us.”

Lydia called upon participants to be activists, while also showing compassion for themselves, a key message for participants to carry forward into their practice.

Many thanks to our sponsors for making this day possible!

    • BUSSW Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health


  • BUSPH Activist Lab & Santander
  • BU-ALPS (Advancing Leadership in Public Health Social Work) HRSA Grant
  • BUSSW Office of the Dean
  • BUSSW Macro Department
  • BUSSW Student Organization
  • BUSPH Office of Student Services
  • BUSPH Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health


More photos available on our Facebook album: Intersectionality and Health

Catalyst Center surveys families about their experiences with Medicaid Buy-in programs

Results suggest Medicaid Buy-in Programs in Lousiana and Massachusetts improve access to care for children with disabilities

Because children with disabilities use more health-care services than children generally, their families often experience higher health care costs to provide for their children’s needs. Families covered by Medicaid receive assistance with these costs because all medically necessary health care services for enrollees under the age of 21 are covered, with very limited cost-sharing. However, these costs can pose a significant problem for families whose household income is too high to qualify for the state’s Medicaid program but whose employer-sponsored insurance may be inadequate to cover their children’s health care needs. To enable families to better afford the health care their children with disabilities need, several states provide Medicaid Buy-in programs. These programs expand Medicaid coverage to children who meet the disability criteria established by the Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and whose family income is too high to be eligible for Medicaid but falls below 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

How effective are these programs in increasing access to benefits while reducing costs for families whose income exceeds Medicaid eligibility? In 2012, the Catalyst Center conducted surveys of families in two states to learn about their experiences with the programs. The results of the surveys, conducted with families in Massachusetts and Louisiana, have now been published.

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Massachusetts has operated a Medicaid Buy-in program for individuals with disabilities since 1988. Results of the survey of parents whose children are enrolled in the MassHealth CommonHealth Buy-In Program reflect a sample size of more than 600 responses. An article published in the Journal of Child Health Care describes the survey process and results. Findings suggest that the MassHealth CommonHealth program improves access to care for children with disabilities overall. The article also suggests policy and administrative changes that could improve the program and further increase access to care for children with complex, costly conditions. The Massachusetts survey article abstract can be viewed on the PubMed.gov website.

Louisiana implemented a Medicaid Buy-in program for families of children with disabilities in 2007. An article in Maternal and Child Health Journal describes the process and results of the survey of parents and caregivers whose children with disabilities were enrolled in Louisiana Family Opportunity Act (FOA) Medicaid Buy-in program as of June 2012. Results suggest that the program fills a niche in coverage needs among families of children with disabilities in Louisiana; however, small sample size and significant differences between the sample enrolled in the Medicaid Buy-In program and the comparison groups limits how generalizable the results are. The Louisiana survey article abstract can be viewed on the SpringerLink website.

In addition to Massachusetts and Louisiana, Medicaid Buy-in programs have been implemented in Colorado, Iowa, North Dakota and Texas. The results of the two surveys suggest that adopting a Medicaid Buy-in program may be an effective way for states to create a pathway to Medicaid for children with disabilities whose family income is too high for Medicaid and who have unmet needs and/or whose families incur high out-of-pocket costs for their care.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all the survey participants in Massachusetts and Louisiana who took the time to share their insights and experiences to help broaden the knowledge of how this policy affects their families’ well-being.

To learn more about Medicaid Buy-in programs, visit the Catalyst Center website at https://ciswh.org/project/the-catalyst-center/financing-strategy/medicaid-buy-ins/

The Catalyst Center, the National Center for Health Insurance Coverage and Financing of Care for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, is supported by HRSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U41MC13618, Health Insurance and Financing/CSHCN ($473,000 annually). This information or content and conclusions are those of the authors and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government. LCDR Leticia Manning, MPH, MCHB/HRSA Project Officer.

Preventing the school-to-prison pipeline

An Innovative Collaboration between Social Work, Legal Services, and Public Health

The recording of this event, which took place on April 12, 2018 is now available:

View article MAC on the Care: the school-to-prison pipeline on Massachusetts Advocates for Children website

Thursday, April 12
Boston University College of General Studies
871 Commonwealth Ave
Room 511
5:30-7:00 pm


Maria Dixon, BA
Senior Family Partner
Dimock Community Service Agency | Justice Resource Institute

Vigny Fong, LCSW
Intensive Care Coordinator
Dimock Community Service Agency | Justice Resource Institute

Liza Hirsch, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Massachusetts Advocates for Children

Stephanie Molina, Esq.
Bart J. Gordon Fellow/Staff Attorney
Massachusetts Advocates for Children


Astraea Augsberger, PhD
Assistant Professor
BU School of Social Work

The school-to-prison pipeline refers to a trend in which punitive school disciplinary policies and practices increase the likelihood that children will become involved with the criminal justice system. The school-to-prison pipeline is a critical public health and racial equity issue as it disproportionately affects low-income students, students of color, and students with disabilities.

This event featured an innovative, interprofessional partnership between lawyers from Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) team members from Dimock Community Service Agency/Justice Resource Institute. The panelists highlighted systems-level approaches to combat the school-to-prison pipeline, including a discussion of current MA laws related to school discipline, safe and supportive schools, and pending legislation related to the use of student arrests in schools.

This event was jointly sponsored by the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health and the BU-ALPS (Advancing Leadership in Public Health Social Work) HRSA grant.

Questions? [email protected]

Center for Advancing Health Policy and Practice and Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health join forces to improve population health and well-being

April 19, 2018 — The Center for Advancing Health Policy and Practice (CAHPP) has joined with and is now known as the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health (CISWH or Center) at Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW). As CISWH, the core team will continue its focus on addressing the social determinants of health at the intersection of social work and public health; promote community collaboration, health equity and social justice; foster partnerships with multiple disciplines and sectors to address inequities that impact the care of vulnerable populations; and prioritize outcomes-oriented research to advance health policy and practice.

The Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health, housed within the BUSSW, is a trans-disciplinary team of educators, researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and students dedicated to demonstrating the value of social work in improving health equity and population health, and to promoting social work leadership in achieving these outcomes. The mission of the Center is to expand the impact of social work in health, public health, and global health in order to reduce health costs, improve outcomes and the patient experience, and to promote population health and health equity nationally and globally.

CISWH will draw on the strengths of the CAHPP staff’s expertise in research, evaluation, policy analysis, project implementation, training, and technical assistance. For 25 years, CAHPP has partnered with consumers, researchers, private and public agencies, academic institutions, community-based organizations, health care providers, and local, state, and federal policy makers to design and implement programs that have meaningful, lasting impacts. The CAHPP team has produced and disseminated hundreds of peer-reviewed articles, manuals, and other products related to HIV care, cultural issues in care delivery, homelessness, challenges of substance use and mental health, health care policy, and financing of care for children with special health care needs.

The transition to a single organization will be led by Sara S. Bachman, Ph.D., Paul Farmer professor at the BUSSW and research professor of Health Law Policy and Management at the Boston University School of Public Health. Bachman is director of the CISWH and served as director of CAHPP since 2013. CAHPP’s transition to CISWH will not impact the scope, effort or budget of the work on any current projects. The change will broaden the approach previously taken by CAHPP to include both a public health and social work perspective as the merged organization takes on new challenges related to the combined mission of improving the health and well-being of vulnerable populations.

Learn more about our combined organization on the CISWH About Us page.

April 21: Intersectionality and health

You are invited to this student-led interprofessional health conference on Saturday, April 21.

Breaking down the barriers to quality care

  Saturday, April 21, 2018 Boston University School of Medicine 72 East Concord Street, Boston, MA Hiebert Lounge — 14th floor 8:30 am – 3:00 pm

People with multiple marginalized, intersecting identities face individual- and systems-level challenges in accessing medical, mental health, and social services. This student-organized event aims to provide training for students and those working in health-oriented professions, including social work, public health, medicine, community health work, nursing, and dentistry to provide better care and eliminate health inequities. The conference seeks to center voices of people with these identities and encourage interprofessional collaboration to break down silos. The conference will feature engaging TedX style presentations and practice-focused breakout sessions and panels.

  register.   *4 free SW CEs available Lunch will be served


  Boston University School of Social Work, Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health Activist Lab. Santander. Maternal & Child Health Center of Excellence, Boston University School of Public Health

BU-ALPS (Advancing Leadership in Public Health Social Work) HRSA Grant


BUSSW Student Organization


BUSPH Graduate Student Life/Student Services

April 9 You’re invited: 2nd annual Boston Medical Center patient navigator, care coordinator and community health worker symposium

The Power of Team: The Role of Community Health Workers and Building Collaborative Partnerships in the New Accountable Care Organization Era

  Monday, April 9 Boston University School of Medicine Hiebert Lounge, 14th Floor, 72 East Concord St., Boston, MA 9 am – 4 pm   Please join us for the 2nd annual Patient Navigator and Community Health Worker symposium, a day-long event on Monday, April 9, 2018. View agenda

Keynote Speaker

Durrell J. Fox Community Health Worker and Health Equity Consultant, John Snow, Inc. Sessions include:

  • Housing and health
  • Social determinants of health and the role of BMC
  • Innovative collaborations with community health workers and other health professionals


This event is jointly sponsored by Boston Medical Center and the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health at Boston University School of Social Work.

Webinar: Aligning Services with Needs: Complexity Tiering for Children with Chronic and Complex Conditions

Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, Catalyst Center, and Family Voices.

Webinar: Aligning Services with Needs: Complexity Tiering for Children with Chronic and Complex Conditions Sponsored by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, the Catalyst Center, and Family Voices, this webinar was presented on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. It was a moderated conversation with three of the authors of a new report that describes current tiering practices and uses, and makes recommendations for policy and research, particularly as the process relates to children with special health care needs. Webinar recording and slides Questions and answers from webinar

Webinar description: As health care and financing systems become more sophisticated, health care systems are increasingly using a process known as “risk tiering” to group patients with similar degrees of need for health care and care coordination services. Payers are becoming part of this conversation, which for children is in its very early stages. Families and care providers of children with chronic and complex conditions should understand the risk-tiering process, as it may affect access to services these children need.

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Christopher Stille.Christopher Stille, MD, MPH, is professor of pediatrics and section head of General Academic Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. The primary focus of his research has been improving communication and coordinated care for CYSHCN between primary care clinicians, subspecialists, and family members. He has led projects funded by the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and local and regional funders to pursue this investigation.

Nora Wells.Nora Wells, MSEd, is executive director of Family Voices, a national grassroots network of families and professionals dedicated to improving health care systems and services for children and youth with special needs. She has directed multiple family-led research and programmatic projects and initiatives, promoting the engagement of families in the design and delivery of quality family-centered health care services for children. She is the parent of an adult son with cerebral palsy.

James Perrin.James Perrin, MD, is professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and former director of the Division of General Pediatrics at MassGeneral Hospital (MGH) for Children, having previously headed a similar division at Vanderbilt. He holds the John C. Robinson Chair in Pediatrics at MGH. He was president (2014) of the American Academy of Pediatrics, chair of its Committee on Children with Disabilities, and past president of the Ambulatory (Academic) Pediatric Association.



Holly Henry.Holly Henry, PhD, is research program manager at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. Her work is focused on improving care coordination and self-management support for children with special health care needs and their families. She also directs the California Community Care Coordination Collaborative. She earned her PhD at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Webinar recording and slides Questions and answers from webinar

To make the most effective use of the webinar time, read Aligning Services with Needs: Characterizing the Pyramid of Complexity Tiering for Children with Chronic and Complex Conditions.

This webinar is fifth in our series on care coordination. See recordings of earlier webinars:

You’re invited: Collaborative approaches in primary care behavioral health integration efforts

Working at the Intersection of Public Health, Social Work, and Medicine


collaborative approaches.

Monday, February 12
Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH)
670 Albany Street Auditorium (1st floor), Boston, MA
5:00-6:30 pm


Molly Brigham, LICSW
Pediatric Integrated Behavioral Health Clinician
Codman Square Health Center

Sandy Cohen, MSW, MPH
Program Manager, Behavioral Health Care Transformation
Cambridge Health Alliance

Daniel Do, LICSW, MPH
Project Director, Integrated Primary Care Team
Lynn Community Health Center

Sasha Feliciano
Family Partner
Codman Square Health Center


Emily Feinberg, ScD, CPNP
Associate Professor, Community Health Sciences, BUSPH;
Associate Professor, Pediatrics, BUSM

This event will feature providers who work in settings integrating primary care and behavioral health. Panelists will share their experiences working on collaborative, interprofessional teams to improve health outcomes and address social determinants of health. The goals of the event are:

    1. to explore the challenges and opportunities in working on interprofessional health care teams within primary care behavioral health integration efforts


  1. to increase knowledge on the intersection of public health, social work, and medicine in community health settings. The first half will be focused on panelists’ experiences in their primary care behavioral health integration efforts and the second half will be a moderated panel discussion with Q&A from the audience.


This event is co-sponsored by the BUSPH Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health and the BUSSW Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health’s Advancing Leadership in Public Health Social Work HRSA grant

2 free SW CECs available

Parking available in 670 Albany Street Garage (some metered street parking too)

BUSSW researchers will evaluate HHS multisite initiative to improve HIV health outcomes through coordination of supportive employment and housing services

Up to $700,000 annually over three years to provide evaluation and technical assistance for 12 demonstration sites nationwide serving low-income racial and ethnic minority communities

Providing effective HIV care for communities at the greatest risk for poor health care outcomes involves addressing structural factors, such as poverty, lack of education, unemployment/underemployment, homelessness, and other social determinants of health. Researchers from the Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health (CISWH) at Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) have the opportunity to explore innovative strategies for integrating supportive services for two of those factors—housing, and employment services—into a coordinated HIV care intervention. These researchers and their partners will serve as the Evaluation and Technical Assistance Provider (ETAP) to 12 demonstration programs to develop, implement, and evaluate models of care that coordinate health, housing, and employment services to reduce barriers to HIV care and improve health outcomes. The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau made the award through its Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Program. Up to $700,000 will be awarded annually over three years as part of the national initiative Improving HIV Health Outcomes through the Coordination of Supportive Employment and Housing Services.

Serena Rajabiun, senior project director, CISWH, will serve as principal investigator, with Jane Fox, senior project director, CISWH, and Thomas Byrne, assistant professor, BUSSW, as co-principal investigators. Byrne, together with Howard Cabral, professor of biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, will serve as evaluators for the project. The BU team will draw on the expertise of several consulting partners to provide support to the clinical sites as they develop their models, including:

  • Boston Health Care for the Homeless for guidance around HIV primary care, housing support, and employment services
  • University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for evaluation and employment expertise
  • Harvard Law School Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation for support on legal issues related to housing, employment, and care of people living with HIV
  • Impact Marketing for marketing and publication design
  • Boston University School of Public Health Biostatistics and Epidemiology Data Analytics Center (BEDAC) for data collection, reporting, and analysis
  • Consumer advisors for expertise in training, culturally appropriate materials development, and consumer involvement in design of service delivery models
  • Consultants in employment training and housing support for people experiencing homelessness

The ETAP will provide technical assistance to 12 clinical sites nationwide as they implement demonstration projects that will coordinate HIV treatment, housing, and employment services to improve HIV health outcomes for the low-income racial and ethnic minority communities they serve. Grantees are current recipients of HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS) and Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funding and are geographically distributed across all regions of the continental U.S. Working with the sites, the ETAP will develop resources, such as implementation manuals and peer-reviewed articles, to share key findings. These materials will be disseminated to organizations who wish to improve the health outcomes of people living with HIV in the communities they serve.

Demonstration sites include:

  • AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Avenue 360 Health & Wellness (formerly Houston Area Community Services), Houston, TX
  • Bexar County Hospital District, San Antonio, TX
  • Family Health Centers of San Diego, San Diego, CA
  • Fenway Community Health Center, Boston, MA
  • Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Inc., New York, NY
  • City of Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City, MO
  • City of Pasadena Public Health Department, Pasadena, CA
  • City of Paterson, NJ, Paterson, NJ
  • Positive Impact Health Center, Inc., Duluth, GA
  • Positive Resource Center, San Francisco, CA
  • Yale University, New Haven, CT

“In a previous multisite evaluation that we conducted, we noted employment as a secondary effect among participants—people who wanted to work received support to become employed, which led to an improved ability to maintain stable housing,” said Rajabiun. “Research indicates that access to housing and employment services has a positive association with health status and quality of life. Yet little research exists on the efficacy and implementation of these supportive services and their impact on engagement and retention in HIV care among people who use them. This project gives us the opportunity to research innovative approaches to improving HIV care that incorporate housing and employment services, two key social determinants of health.”

“A coordinated approach to delivering medical care, mental health services, substance use treatment, housing, and employment services at the individual, organization, and community level is essential if health disparities are to be eliminated among low-income people living with HIV from racial and ethnic minority communities,” said Sara S. Bachman, Paul Farmer professor at BUSSW, research professor of Health Law Policy and Management at BUSPH, and director of the CISWH. “This project exemplifies the use of a multifaceted wide-lens public health social work approach to investigate social factors as causes of poor health and advocate for structural and systemic change to achieve health equity.”

“This important work will offer new insights into the effectiveness of models of care and interventions that seek to address some of the social determinants of health associated with HIV health-related disparities,” said Jorge Delva, dean and professor, BUSSW. “It attests to the BUSSW’s commitment to promoting racial, social, and economic justice.”

Learn more about the Evaluation and Technical Assistance Provider (ETAP) for the SPNS Initiative Improving HIV Health Outcomes through the Coordination of Supportive Employment and Housing Services.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U90HA31449 (Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Initiative Improving HIV Health Outcomes through the Coordination of Supportive Employment and Housing Services- Evaluation and Technical Assistance Provider, in the amount of $700,000) awarded annually to Trustees of Boston University. No percentage of this project was financed with nongovernmental sources. This information or content and conclusions are those of the authors and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.