AIDS United Partner Attends National HIV/AIDS Strategy Implementation Dialogue

By jschneidewind on October 21, 2011 in National HIV/AIDS Strategy

by Laurie Conratt, Director of the Northwest AIDS Education and Training Center,  Secretary for the National Alliance for HIV Education and Workforce Development

How are we going to meet the escalating demand for HIV care in our country when our waning HIV care workforce already is stretched to the limit?  That was the topic at the second National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) Implementation Dialogue meeting, hosted by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) on October 4, 2011 in Seattle, WA.  Entitled “Building Capacity within the HIV Workforce so that it Delivers What We Need Today and Tomorrow,” the event brought together representatives from the community, state and federal government; HIV researchers; and healthcare professionals (HCP) to  collect community-driven input about the crisis facing the HIV care workforce.  Jeffrey S. Crowley, Director of the ONAP, presented an overview of the Strategy and the implementation processes currently underway, including community input via these dialogue meetings, and encouraged the audience to share their ideas and suggestions for increasing HIV workforce capacity.

Dr. David Spach, Principal Investigator and Clinical Director of the Northwest AIDS Education and Training Center and Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington’s Division of Infectious Diseases, presented a snapshot of the current HIV workforce and potential solutions for expanding the number and diversity of HCP involved in HIV care.  A defining factor of the current HIV workforce is the increase in the number of individuals living with HIV in the United States due to the success of antiretroviral therapies and expanded efforts to implement the CDC’s 2006 Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing.  This increase in demand for HIV services has outpaced the number of HCP willing and able to manage patients with HIV infection.  Solutions for building the capacity of the HIV workforce rely heavily on recruitment during training in medical schools, residency programs and HIV fellowships as well as continuing educational support for HCP currently in practice.  Innovative financial incentives, co-management and mentoring programs, and the use of technology to support HCP in rural and isolated areas were also identified as solutions to HIV workforce shortages.

Panelists from academic, federal, state, and community settings discussed the role of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program in supporting the HIV workforce, ways to attract “new talent” into HIV care and engage “non-HIV” providers (i.e., those not experienced in providing HIV care and treatment) into care, as well as ways to generate local solutions to HIV workforce challenges through private sector and philanthropic resources.

An energetic discussion among panelists and audience members included an acknowledgement of the Ryan White AIDS Education and Training Centers’ role in building the capacity of HCP across the country, as well as an affirmation of the need to target educational efforts to the pre-service “pipeline” as a means of capturing the interest of future HCP before they begin practice.  Involving the entire health care team and evolving roles to support optimal patient care outcomes and clinic efficiencies was also addressed, as was linking prevention and care efforts.  The Ryan White clinic setting also was identified as an exemplary Medical Home model that could be more broadly applied in new clinical care settings that develop within the constructs of health care reform.

These ideas and suggestions will inform the on-going implementation of the NHAS.  If you would like to provide input into the continuing implementation of the NHAS, please contact AIDSPolicy@who.eop.gov.

For more information about this and other National HIV/AIDS Strategy Implementation Dialogue meetings across the United States, please visit the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.

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