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Global Avian Flu Surveillance in Georgia

Migrating waterfowl from Asia, Africa, and Europe intersect in Georgia, which increases the potential for novel avian-origin influenzas to emerge. I-TECH, through the INSIGHT project, is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Georgia, the Georgia National Food Agency, and the Georgia  Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, through September 2024 to assess biosecurity and influenza outbreak readiness on commercial poultry farms in Georgia, and support capacity building for and development of a national wild bird surveillance strategy. Activities include a farm biosecurity survey and peri-domestic wild bird capture, sampling, and testing, as well as training in genomic surveillance and design of surveillance programs. 

I-TECH Network Presents at End-of-Year Conferences

Yao He at GDHF 2023

It was a busy fall season for teams throughout the I-TECH Network, several of which had robust representation at end-of-year conferences including the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) 2023 the Global Digital Health Forum (GDHF) 2023.

Welcome additions to I-TECH’s regular lineup of conferences were Infectious Disease Week (ID Week) 2023 and the 40th Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference, attended by representatives of I-TECH’s new network partner, the UW Center for Stewardship in Medicine (CSiM).

Representatives from the network presented more than a dozen posters, spoke at panels and discussions, and led an interactive workshop. Read below for more details (links to presentations will be posted as they are made available).

ICASA 2023, 4-9 December, Harare, Zimbabwe

The theme of this year’s conference was “AIDS is not over: Address inequalities, accelerate inclusion and innovation.” I-TECH Network partner the Zimbabwe Technical Assistance, Training, and Education Center for Health (Zim-TTECH) and its partners Pangaea Zimbabwe AIDS Trust (PZAT) and Zvandiri presented several posters representing their work to innovate and improve access at the training and community levels.

Zim-TTECH:

  • Gloria Gonese at ICASA 2023

    Romana R Katekwe, Edson Chidovi, Frances Petracca, Batsirai Makunike, Gloria Gonese, Kerry Thomson, Zwashe Bangani, Haddi Cham, Mirriam Mugwise, Emmanuel Govha, Stefan Wiktor, “Improving Access to Quality Improvement Training through Off-line Electronic Learning: A Case Study from Zimbabwe”

  • Langalokusa Sibanda, Peace Ntini, Richard Mashapa, Gloria Gonese, Rickie Malaba, Tendayi Mharadze, Ralph Makuyana, Methembe Ndlovu, Ruth Levine, Vivian Bertman, Abigail K. Korn, Kerry A. Thomson, Owen Mugurungi, Tsitsi Apollo, Getrude Ncube, Mirriam Mutseta, Beauty Nyamwanza, Batsirai Makunike-Chikwinya, Stefan Wiktor, “DREAMS Ambassadors Increase HIV Self-Testing Uptake by Male Partners of Young Women in Zimbabwe”
  • Anjali Vasavada, Phibion Manyanga, Sandra Murwira, Lucia Gondongwe, Ponesai Nyika, Batsirai Makunike-Chikwinya, Gloria Gonese, Stefan Wiktor, George Mamire, Kerry A. Thomson, “Acceptance of Free Cervical Cancer Screening Among Zimbabwean WLHIV: Implications for Integration of HPV Testing into Routine HIV Care”
  • Rumbidzai Dhliwayo, Lennox Dziva, Ponesai Nyika, Chiedza Mupanguri, Gloria Gonese, Tsitsi Apollo, Owen Mugurungi, Talent Maphosa, Haddi Jatou Cham, Batsirai Makunike-Chikwinya, Stefan Wiktor, “Assessing Implementation and Outcomes of Screening for Advanced HIV Disease (AHD) Among Persons Living with HIV in Five Provinces of Zimbabwe”
  • Gloria Gonese, “High HIV disease burden among older clients aged ≥50years attending selected health facilities in Zimbabwe, Oct 2020 through March 2023”

PZAT:

  • Precious Moyo, Joseph Murungu, Shamiso Nyakuwa, Casper Hera, Imelda Mahaka, Blessing Mushangwe, Phibion Manyanga, Gloria Gonese, Batsirai Makunike, Takunda Sola, Getrude Ncube, Tendayi Mharadze, Rickie Malaba, Stefan Wiktor, “Key Populations Outreach Activities for Scaling Up HIV Prevention Care and Treatment Services in Harare, Zimbabwe”
  • Precious Moyo, Joseph Murungu, Shamiso Nyakuwa, Casper Hera, Imelda Mahaka, Blessing Mushangwe, Phibion Manyanga, Gloria Gonese, Batsirai Makunike, Takunda Sola, Getrude Ncube, Tendayi Mharadze, Rickie Malaba, Stefan Wiktor, “Layering Enhanced Economic Strengthening Interventions to Reduce Vulnerabilities Among Sexually Exploited Minors and Young Women Selling Sex in Zimbabwe”
  • Sitshengisiwe Ruzibe, Casper Hera, Precious Moyo, Joseph Murungu, Shamiso Nyakuwa, Imelda Mahaka, Langalokusa Sibanda, Peace Ntini, Gloria Gonese, Batsirai Makunike, Mirriam Mutseta, Getrude Ncube, Tendayi Mharadze, Rickie Malaba, Kerry A. Thomson, Stefan Wiktor, “Services for Sexually Exploited Minors and Young Women Selling Sex Enrolled in DREAMS program, Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe”

Zvandiri:

  • Vivian Chitiyo, Tanyaradzwa Napei, Billiart Tapesana, Ann Selberg, Edson Chidovi, Gloria Gonese, Kerry Thomson, Talent Maphosa, Haddi Cham, Ngwarai Sithole, Tsitsi Mutasa-Apollo, Nicola Willis, Stefan Wiktor, “Minimizing Interruption in Treatment (IIT) through Peer Connections of Adolescents and Young People Living with HIV in Zimbabwe”

 

GDHF 2023, 4-6 December, Washington, D.C.

The Digital Initiatives Group at I-TECH (DIGI), and others from I-TECH, presented their work in a number of ways at this year’s Global Digital Health Forum. GDHF is a leading global public health industry conference for technology vendors, donors, researchers, government representatives, and implementing organizations working in low- and middle-income countries.

Hannock Tweya and Caryl Feldacker at GDHF 2023

Posters:

  • Feldacker C, Murethi M, Ndhlovu D, Bisani P, Kathumba D, Samala B, Oni F, Wagaba K, Kagereki E, Wassuna B, Tweya H, “Mobile Electronic Medical Record Systems: The Community-based ART Retention and Suppression (CARES) App Design for High-Quality, Integrated Antiretroviral Therapy in Lilongwe, Malawi”
  • He Y, AbuShweimeh R, Kouabenan YR, Assoa PH, Puttkammer N, Gloyd S, Wagenaar BH, Komena P, Kamelan N, Iiams-Hauser C, Pongathie A, Kouakou A, Hoffman N, Flowers J, Abiola N, Perrone LA, “Determinants of Routine Implementation for Electronic Laboratory Information Systems in Côte d’Ivoire: a Mixed-Methods Implementation Science Study”
  • He Y, Kouabenan YR, Assoa PH, Puttkammer N, Gloyd S, Hoffman N, Wagenaar BH, Komena P, Kamelan N, Iiams-Hauser C, Pongathie A, Kouakou A, Flowers J, Abiola N, Perrone LA, “Perceptions and Experiences of Data-Driven Decision-Making and Data Dashboard for HIV Viral Load Testing and Early Infant Diagnosis in Côte d’Ivoire”
  • Gadabu O, Manyiyo B, Yiga H, Chigoriwa C, Chirowodza L, White C, Mankowski P, Mutesasira M, Gita C, Maxwell L, Muserere C, Flowers J, “A FHIR Training Workshop to Facilitate Interoperability Between the IMPILO EHR and the LIMS System in Zimbabwe”
  • Secor, A, presented by Patric Prado, “Electronic Medical Record Data Missingness and Interruption in Antiretroviral Therapy among Adults and Children Living with HIV in Haiti: A Retrospective Longitudinal Study”

Virtual Panel:

  • “Building Next-Gen Digital Health Solutions On FHIR With Open Health Stack” Presenter: Patric Prado

Individual Presentations:

  • “Efficiently Leveraging Individual-level Health Data For Population-level Data For Decision Making: A Call To Action For FHIR-based Secondary Data Use” Presenter: Piotr Mankowski
  • “Implementation of An Online Course By MOH For Health Workers In Kenya: Strategies And Lessons For Success” Presenter: Robert Oboko
  • “Applying Critical Reflection To Reimagine Global Digital Health Interventions: Introducing The (Re)imaginator” Presenter: Beth Dunbar
  • “Advancing National Health Information Systems Maturity: Lessons Learnt On Implementing The Informatics-Savvy Health Organization (ISHO) Assessment And Action Planning Framework For Health Leaders In Zambia” Presenter: Kendi Mburu
  • “Online Learning as an Innovation And Sustainability Initiative In Digital Health In Low And Middle Income Countries” Presenter: Robert Oboko

Topic Lounge Discussions:

  • “Perceptions On The Quality Of Electronic Medical Records In LMIC” Presenter: Jan Flowers
  • “Bringing Into Production A Health Information Exchange Architecture In Côte D’Ivoire: Using Open Standards And Software To Enable Cross-site Patient Histories And Real Time Dashboarding. Côte D’Ivoire HIE” Presenter: Casey Iiams-hauser

Interactive Workshop:

  • “Creating, Leading, And Managing Informatics-Savvy Health Organizations (ISHO): Concept, Principles, And Application”

 

ID Week 2023, 11-15 October, Boston, Massachusetts

IDWeek is the joint annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), and the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists (SIDP). This year, CSiM presented:

  • “Asymptomatic Bacteriuria Underestimates True Inappropriate Prescribing for Non-Urinary Tract Infections” Presenting author: Whitney Hartlage, PharmD

 

40th Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference, 11-13 October, Sunriver, Oregon

For this year’s Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference, Rupali Jain, PharmD, and Natalia Martinez-Paz, CSiM Manager, shared lessons learned in Cohort 2 of their Intensive Quality Improvement Cohort (IQIC) program and how Critical Access Hospitals can approach QI in the post-COVID-19 healthcare environment.

  • Session title: “Case Study: Asymptomatic Bacteriuria Quality Improvement Projects in Critical Access Hospitals”

COVID-19 Sentinel Surveillance in Malawi

Despite establishing  COVID-19 monitoring measures within the existing routine national surveillance system and significant efforts to conduct testing, contact tracing, and case investigations, Government of Malawi institutions at both the national and district levels faced many challenges in mounting an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The existing COVID-19 surveillance system relied on retrospective data and it struggled to establish the magnitude of community transmission or identify emerging variants.

In June 2022, in collaboration with the Public Health Institute of Malawi and support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I-TECH began sentinel surveillance monitoring of COVID-19 in seven sites. The COVID-19 sentinel surveillance system in Malawi was able to quickly detect changes in positivity rates and the emergence of variants. Read more about key findings and methods in I-TECH’s Sentinel Surveillance program brief.

World AIDS Day 2023: A Leadership and Community Perspective

The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Let Communities Lead.” This is not only a call to action, but also a recognition of the irreplaceable contribution of community members in the success of global programs and their critical role in their own health care.

We had the honor of capturing a brief interview between two of our wonderful I-TECH colleagues in Trinidad and Tobago–Alana Lum Lock Cardinez, Program Advisor, and Conrad Mitchell, Program Manager. Here, Alana asks Conrad for his perspective as both a community member and project lead, as well as about the lessons learned when communities aren’t engaged (4:15).

 

And for more on Conrad’s story, listen here:


.

Digitizing HIV Case Management to Support Patient-Centered Care in Jamaica

In collaboration with the Caribbean Training and Education Center for Health (C-TECH), Jamaica Ministry of Health and Wellness, JASL, and technical working group members, the Digital Initiatives Group at I-TECH (DIGI) is supporting the development and implementation of a mobile health client engagement tool in Jamaica. 

The tool facilitates communication between clients living with HIV and their healthcare providers in between their care visits, through a digital case management system and two-way text messaging services. The tool gives clients anytime access to a text-message-based health library and the ability to ping their care team for telemedicine services.  This digital health intervention seeks to strengthen the therapeutic alliance and enhance patient medication adherence.

This digital health intervention is made possible through funding and support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) via a sub-award granted to the Caribbean Training and Education Center for Health (C-TECH) and DIGI through the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH). 

IDASH Fellowship Meets in Kazakhstan for In-Person, and Virtual, Workshop

IDASH fellows engage in group work during an October workshop in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Photo credit: Jamey Gentry/CDC.

Last month, the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH), in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and with support from the World Health Organization (WHO), facilitated the second of three in-person workshops for the Informatics and Data Science for Health (IDASH) fellowship.

Held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the workshop marked the mid-point of the 12-month fellowship—and a chance for participants to come together to advance their ability to apply public health informatics and data science concepts and approaches.

“This workshop included a lot of hands-on practical exercises, and it was fun to observe how engaged the participants were with these activities and with the learning in general,” said Stacey Lissit, MPH, MS, Senior Technical Advisor for the IDASH program.

Content included all things data (quality, cleaning, analysis, visualization, governance, security, privacy, and confidentiality); interoperability; project management; business process analysis; and systems architecture. Sessions were a mix of didactic lecture, small group activities to practice application of skills and concepts, peer feedback, and guided hands-on learning in R and PowerBI. Over the course of the two weeks, participants collaborated  to develop a data dashboard, a database schema, and a data quality workplan.

The first cohort of the IDASH fellowship, with I-TECH instructors. Photo credit: Jamey Gentry/CDC.

The current fellowship, launched in April 2023, comprises a cohort of four participants each from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan—a total of 20 fellows. Each four-person team includes a mix of mid-senior level epidemiologists, informaticians, data scientists, IT, and public health policy personnel.

Fellow Zhanibek Yerubayev, Director of Public Health Emergency Operations at the Kazakhstan Ministry of Health’s National Center of Public Health, says the team mix is an integral part of IDASH’s impact. “[IDASH] connects people from the public health side with people from the IT side,” he says. “These people have a lot of projects to do [together], but they are not always well connected, and they do not always understand each other well.”

“It was exciting to see the relationships and community that are being built through the IDASH Fellowship – both within the country teams where fellows can collaborate closely with colleagues outside of their typical ‘work silos,’ and across countries within the region,” said Lissit. “That peer learning element is such an important part of the fellowship.”

And all efforts were made to ensure multi-directional collaboration. The Ukrainian team did not receive permission to travel to the workshop, so I-TECH made arrangements for them to participate via Zoom. A location was identified in southwest Ukraine where the team could  attend the workshop together remotely, experience fewer daily safety issues related to the war, and avoid the distractions of being in their own workplace. A simultaneous translator for the Ukrainian language was provided on the Zoom call.

While remote participation is not ideal, the Ukraine team was able to attend and hear most of the workshop sessions and engage in the group work in meaningful ways. “A lot of effort went into setting up the technology that enabled this participation,” said Lissit. “At one point the Ukraine team was participating in a peer feedback activity with two country teams in Almaty—there were live cameramen, screen sharing, Zoom translators…and it worked mostly seamlessly!”

Fellow Durbek Aliyev, Deputy CEO at IT-Med LLC, which works under the Uzbekistan Ministry of Health, was especially appreciative of the chance to learn from a wide range experts across the region. “The digitalization of health care cannot be done by only one country itself,” said Aliyev. “The advantage of IDASH over other programs is that it brings [together] specialists from neighbor countries. We are talking to each other….We are learning from each other directly.”

And these relationships will be a lasting benefit of the program, he continued. “IDASH is a place where we can establish very good networking with other countries,” said Aliyev. “Any time I can contact them and learn from their expertise.”

IDASH is a project within the Integrated Next-Generation Surveillance in Global Health: Translation to Action (INSIGHT) program. In addition to acquiring new skills and knowledge in public health informatics and data science, IDASH country teams are developing and will implement a collaborative team project that demonstrates key competencies and is aligned with their country’s needs and priorities.

 

 

 

New I-TECH Publication Shows Effectiveness of Index Testing Program in Ukraine

Index testing is a is a key strategy to identify and support those most at risk of acquiring HIV.1 Within the index testing framework, exposed contacts (i.e., sexual partners, biological children and anyone with whom a needle was shared) of an HIV-positive person (i.e., index client), are elicited and offered HIV testing services.

From 2019 to 2021, the I-TECH team in Ukraine provided increased technical assistance for 39 state healthcare facilities in 11 high HIV-burden regions to advance assisted partner notification/services and index testing.

In a recently published study in BMJ Open, the I-TECH team—along with representatives from the Public Health Center at the Ukrainian Ministry of Health—describe the success of this scaled program in index testing.

“Index case testing is crucial in reaching out to exposed contacts of individuals living with HIV, notifying them, and offering HIV testing,” said Anna Shapoval, I-TECH Ukraine Country Representative. “This approach is particularly important and effective in the context of Ukrainian national HIV response where, despite numerous successes, we still struggle to close HIV testing gap and reach out to people living with HIV earlier rather than later with proper treatment and support.”

I-TECH developed exhaustive standard operating procedures for index testing; thoroughly trained healthcare teams on the index testing algorithm; as well as provided consistent and regular methodological support as part of its index testing program.

The study includes clients enrolled in index testing services in 2020, who had with both recent (<6 months) and previously established (≥6 months) HIV diagnoses. Ukraine’s physician-led model involves a cascade of steps including voluntary informed consent, partner elicitation, selection of partner notification method and follow-up with clients to ensure partners are notified, tested for HIV, and linked to HIV prevention and treatment services, as needed.

“Ukraine’s index testing services were rolled out as a standard part of Ukraine’s HIV service package at the targeted governmental health facilities, and carried out by existing physicians,” said Alyona Ihnatiuk, Strategic Information Lead for I-TECH Ukraine and lead author of the study. “At each supported facility, one or two staff members were designated as focal persons for case management and follow-up. This integrated, physician-led model was streamlined to target index cases with both recent and established HIV diagnosis, to arrive at a high number of new cases of HIV identified.”

There were 976 new cases of HIV identified through the study period, representing a yield of 19.3%, and 1,408 people living with HIV (PLHIV) have been identified throughout the two-year index testing program.

Of 14,525 index clients offered index testing, 51.9% accepted, of whom 98.3% named at least one sexual partner, injection partner, or biological child. Clients named 8,448 unique partners; HIV case finding was highest among clients with recent HIV diagnosis and among people who inject drugs (PWID), and lower among clients with established HIV diagnosis. More than 90% of all partners with new HIV diagnoses were linked to care.

“The BMJ Open study confirms that comprehensive assisted partner notification services and index testing are highly effective in identifying people living with HIV,” says Ms. Shapoval, “as well as tracing previously diagnosed partners and supporting their linkage to care. I-TECH was honored to contribute to the design and implementation of this vital intervention in Ukraine early on and see it gradually rolled out across the country with multiple partners successfully implementing it now.”

  1. Golden M, et al. Partner notification for sexually transmitted infections including HIV infection: an evidence-based assessment. Sexually transmitted diseases. 4th edn. McGraw-Hill; New York, NY: 2007.

THIS PROJECT IS SUPPORTED BY THE HEALTH RESOURCES AND SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (HRSA) OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (HHS) UNDER U91HA06801, THE INTERNATIONAL AIDS EDUCATION AND TRAINING CENTER (IAETC). THE CONTENT OF THIS POST IS THE AUTHOR’S 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.

National HIV Psychosocial Services Expansion in Trinidad and Tobago

In 2019, I-TECH conducted an on-site assessment at Trinidad and Tobago’s largest HIV treatment site. The findings of that assessment led to the establishment of an integrated psychosocial program at this site that has yielded favorable results. This further inspired the need for expansion of this psychosocial approach to other HIV treatment and care sites.

In 2022, I-TECH collaborated with the HIV/AIDS Coordinating Unit (HACU) of the Ministry of Health (MOH) to conduct a similar rapid assessment throughout the national treatment and care sites. The results reflected that there was a need for specialized staff to identify and treat common mental health and psychosocial concerns, as well as a standardized approach. Therefore, I-TECH is supporting the HACU to lead the expansion and strengthening of mental health and psychosocial (MHPS) service delivery for persons living with HIV at HIV treatment and care sites in Trinidad and Tobago. Goals include the standardization of psychosocial assessments to support the early identification of psychological distress, symptoms of co-morbid mental illness and psychosocial issues; as well as the standardization of the procedures for making interventions.

Activities include:

  • Developing a draft MHPS Protocol to include screening and intervention tools and psychosocial standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Establishing a standardized referral system
  • Training and supporting psychosocial team members in the use of the SOPs and all screening and assessment tools. Training will address areas of intimate partner violence, gender-based violence, and mental health challenges that are frequently encountered within the client population
  • Training and supporting psychosocial team members in data collection and reporting requirements
  • Training and capacity -building of psychosocial team members of the Psychosocial Coordination Unit being established by the HACU

eLearning Programs for Health Care Workers in Trinidad and Tobago

I-TECH partners with the HIV/AIDS Coordinating Unit (HACU) of the Ministry of Health (MOH), the National AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) of the Office of the Prime Minister, and other local organizations to make accessible learning and capacity-building opportunities for all cadres of health care workers.

  • Learning Management System (LMS): I-TECH and the University of Washington Department of Global Health’s eLearning Program (eDGH) collaborated to adapt an LMS for Trinidad and Tobago from the Jamaica LMS. The LMS for Trinidad and Tobago will support ongoing, standardized capacity-building of an increased number of health care providers in a cost-effective way. The LMS will also function as a monitoring and evaluation tool for training and skill building. I-TECH will support, develop, and adapt HIV course material and provide local administration and coordination support.
  • Key Populations Preceptorship Web Modules: I-TECH is currently developing self-paced, eLearning training modules to improve providers’ knowledge, skill, and comfort in providing respectful and gender-affirming care for gay and bisexual men, other men who have sex with men, people of transgender experience, and people engaging in sex work. This module will be an adaptation of the innovative in-person Key Population Preceptorship (KPP) Program for Clinicians and will be made accessible on the I-TECH/eDGH LMS that is being developed. The modules will incorporate video recordings featuring local community members, modeling of best practices, and show interactive exercises.
  • UW eDGH Online Courses: I-TECH, through eDGH and in collaboration with HACU and the NACC Office of the Prime Minister, provides online certification courses to health care providers in Trinidad and Tobago. Courses include: Clinical Management of HIV; Leadership and Management in Health; Fundamentals in Global Health Research; Policy Development and Advocacy for Global Health; Project Management in Global Health; Monitoring and Evaluation in Global Health; Fundamentals of Implementation Science; Wellbeing for Healthcare Professionals; and Global Mental Health.
  • Medical Research Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (MRFTT) HIV/STI Project ECHO® Series: In April 2019, I-TECH supported MRFTT, the HIV treatment site with the largest adult population in Trinidad and Tobago, to become an ECHO® hub site. The hub provides virtual clinical consultation support as well as brief didactic sessions for healthcare workers in Trinidad and Tobago on a range of medical/clinical and psychosocial topics, as well as those relevant to HIV care, treatment and support. Healthcare workers (HCWs) who have benefitted from the series not only include those from Trinidad and Tobago, but also HCWs from Haiti, Barbados, Bahamas, St. Vincent, Grenada, and Florida, USA.
  • Management of HIV Infections Diploma Course: In 2014, I-TECH partnered with the University of the West Indies (UWI) – St. Augustine campus in Trinidad and Tobago to develop a blended eLearning course that enables HCWs to provide high-quality clinical management of patients living with HIV. This ten-month post-graduate diploma program is delivered through a series of online, self-paced courses taught by UWI faculty, and is augmented by synchronous virtual classroom discussions and hands-on, clinical practicum experiences. In recent years, I-TECH worked with the UWI to integrate extensive care and treatment content specifically focused on comprehensive care for key populations affected by HIV. The course is offered annually to healthcare workers from PEPFAR priority sites in the region. Course graduates include health care workers from Trinidad, Jamaica, Suriname, and Barbados.

Key Populations Preceptorship Program in Trinidad and Tobago

Reducing stigma and discrimination toward vulnerable groups in health care settings can have a positive impact on enrollment in care, retention in care and treatment, and viral suppression of HIV. The Key Populations Preceptorship (KPP) program is a simulated one-on-one patient-provider training program that brings together a health care provider and a preceptorship trainer (PT), who is a member of a key population group, with the observation of a training facilitator. The PT takes on the role of a mock patient and uses a pre-scripted scenario as a guide to interact with the provider-in-training, giving feedback after each scenario. The KPP builds the provider’s capacity to provide comprehensive and nonjudgmental care to key population groups including gay and bisexual men, other men who have sex with men, persons of trans experience, and sex workers.

The KPP was adapted  based on Jamaica’s KPP for clinicians in 2016 for physicians in Trinidad. In 2017, it was adapted for nurses and was delivered in-person over the course of a two-day period. In response to COVID-19 protocols, the KPP for social workers, which was adapted in 2020, was delivered virtually.

To be both cost efficient and effective, the KPP for Clinicians will be made into web modules and be accessible on a Learning Management System (LMS) that is being developed as a collaborative between I-TECH and the University of Washington Department of Global Health’s eLearning Program (eDGH).

In late October 2021, the KPP lost one of its most vibrant PTs when Trinidad and Tobago activist and community leader, Brandy Rodriquez, passed away.