Frontline Worker Spotlight: Recipients of the 2017 US Conference on AIDS Scholarship

Frontline Worker Spotlight (10)

By, Rebecca Levin

Positive Resource Center’s work in the community extends beyond interactions with clients with its work in the Frontline Organizing Group (FOG), a group that provides training and networking opportunities to San Francisco’s HIV frontline workers. As a founding member, PRC’s work with FOG has opened new opportunities for the growth of many San Francisco frontline workers.

This year, FOG extended scholarships to six exceptional individuals working directly with people living with HIV in San Francisco to attend the 2017 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) in September. Recipients will present their findings at a FOG training.

After careful deliberation, FOG selected the following individuals:

Dianne Georgetti is a Registered Nurse Case Manager at Westside Community Services. Dedicated to improving the psychological, spiritual, and physical health of community residents, Westside Community Services provides a wide range of mental health, case management, and substance use services to community members, regardless of HIV status. Dianne’s clients “have been discriminated against for years and some live lives made extremely difficult by the nature of the social and government structures in place here in the US.”

In her own words: “I have had a personal connection to the AIDS epidemic since I was 12 years old and I am committed to advocating for this community for the rest of my career.”

Edwin Geovani Espinoza is a Youth Advocate / Health Educator at Instituto Familiar de la Raza. Since 1978, Instituto Familiar de la Raza has been providing culturally competent therapy, case management, social support and classes to the Chicano/Indigenous/Latino community. Edwin hopes “to gain knowledge on how to improve prevention strategies for transitional age youth and how to keep those living with the virus on a treatment plan.”

In his own words: “I hope this conference helps me become a better role model to Latino LGBTQ youth who lack resources that cater to their various cultural backgrounds and might have a difficult time facing the stigma of living with HIV, being LGBTQ, and being Latino all at once.”

Jorge Vieto is a Health Systems Navigator at GLIDE Memorial. GLIDE’s mission is to promote inclusivity, justice, and love in order to alleviate suffering and break cycles of poverty and marginalization. GLIDE provides food, health services, a crisis walk-in center, and a legal clinic to assist its mission. As a phlebotomist and linkage to care representative at GLIDE, Jorge is interested in learning about, “how biomedical HIV prevention is being expanded to people of color and trans folks,” expand his scope of work, and how to affect public policy initiatives.

In his own words: “Attending USCA  would expose me to new perspectives and ideas to help reach folks that are disenfranchised, homeless, and undocumented to find the care they deserve and STAY in care regardless of the barriers they may face.”

Patrick Kinley is a Rapid Linkage Specialist at San Francisco City Clinic. SFDPH’s mission is to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans, regardless of immigration, insurance, or HIV status. At USCA, Patrick hopes to learn about new innovations for retention in care, information on the most successful interventions for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), and different methods for reducing stigma in the San Francisco community.

In their own words: “I [will] use the knowledge I acquire [at USCA] to better implement and coordinate RAPID and early retention efforts here in San Francisco.”

Pau Lagarde is a HIV & Mental Health Case Manager at A Woman’s Place. This 24-hour supportive residential service organization offers emergency shelter and long-term treatment to women and trans women with special needs, such as mental disabilities, sexual or domestic violence, drug and alcohol use, and HIV/AIDS. At USCA, Pau hopes to learn more about bringing down the barriers to care for many transgender people of color, such as, “language barriers, discrimination, racism, anti-LGBT policies, stigma, lack of health coverage, immigration status, [and] awareness & education.”

In his own words: “I care deeply about my clients and my goal for them is to know that they don’t have to be alone in this fight, they don’t have to feel hopeless.”

Zachary Davenport is a Behavioral Health Clinician at South Van Ness Adult Behavioral Health Services, San Francisco City Clinic, and San Francisco Department of Public Health. South Van Ness Adult Behavioral Health Services provides intensive case management, medication monitoring, individual and family therapy, group therapy, socialization, and peer support to a variety of individuals in the community. Zachary’s primary focus for the conference is cis and trans women. More specifically, they “want to better learn how to advocate for changes within the systems of public health that will promote greater outreach that is cultural relevant to trans and cis women.”

In their own words: “One of my best friends was an HIV positive trans woman who was murdered over 10 years ago in the Tenderloin, so I am very passionate about increasing access to services for trans women, gender non-conforming individuals, and women.”

Scholarship recipients will give presentations on the information they received at FOG trainings and other meetings. To find out more about FOG trainings and events, email sfhivfog@gmail.com.

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