Part I of a 2 part series
The Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) had the good fortune of presenting several research and evaluation projects at the recent Canadian Association for HIV Research (CAHR) Conference in Montreal, QC. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet, reconnect, and learn from a diverse group of researchers, people with lived experiences, funders, partners, advocates from across Canada (and we even met a few people from the United States!).
This post is Part I of a two-part series describing PAN’s presentations at CAHR 2017. This post discusses PAN’s oral presentation, which focused on the BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index’s methodology, as well as a poster presentation focused on the process and findings of the Positive Leadership Development Institute’s impact evaluation. Part II of this series will describe two additional poster presentations that focused on findings from the Positive Living, Positive Homes study.
PAN’s BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index Research Steering Committee was excited to give an oral presentation titled Emancipatory Participation: Active Change Agents in the Fight Against Stigma in the multidisciplinary session focused on community-based research and participatory approaches. The Research Steering Committee thought it apt to expound the methodological virtues of integrating GIPA/MEPIA vertically and horizontally across all aspects of the research design and implementation. As such, the presentation by Jaydee Cossar, PAN’s Stigma Index Project manager, highlighted the role PLHIV in conceptualizing the Stigma Index methodology and research schema, a level of involvement that adds a new twist to a core principle of community based research. The presentation stressed how the Stigma Index went one step further in the GIPA/MEIPA process by not only consulting PLHIV but by centring those living with HIV as active participants engaged meaningfully in all research activities: as research team members, core staff, interviewers, interviewees, and as drivers of the data collection, analysis, and dissemination. The main crux of the presentation postulated, vis-à-vis the Stigma Index research process of meaningful inclusion, that when efforts are made to embrace the unique and specific needs of PLHIV, individuals can break the layered and intersectional bonds of HIV stigma, becoming active change agents for their communities and themselves.
In addition to the oral presentation, PAN presented three posters at CAHR. One of the three posters focused the peer-led impact evaluation of the Positive Leadership Development Institute (PLDI). This poster included preliminary findings from the survey, interview, and focus group data collected from PLDI participants, people living with HIV, and key stakeholders at PAN and partner agencies, as well as information about the participatory evaluation approach that guided the project. Thanks to funding from REACH 2.0 and the CBR Collaborative Centre, Paul Kerber and Heather Holroyd were able to travel to Montreal to present the poster. Poster visitors were especially interested to learn more about the PLDI program and its objectives, the impacts revealed by the evaluation, and about the method of participatory evaluation. Many visitors recognized the value of a leadership training program by and for people living with HIV (PLHIV) and commented that such a training program would be well-received in their region. Several visitors also expressed interest in accessing the ‘just-in-time’ training manual produced by the community based research and evaluation team at PAN to train the peer evaluators hired for this project. The training manual has been posted in English on the PAN website and will be posted on the Evaluation Toolkit on the REACH website. The training manual can be translated into French upon request. Please email Janice Duddy, PAN’s Director of Evaluation and Community-Based Research, with any questions or comments about the training manual.
Keep your eyes out for our next post, which will focus on the Positive Living, Positive Homes study’s poster presentations at CAHR!
For more information about the presentation focused on the BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index, please contact Jaydee Cossar at [email protected]. For more information about the PLDI impact evaluation, please contact Heather Holroyd at [email protected].