248593 Partnerships for successful reentry: Staying healthy with HIV beyond prison walls

Monday, October 31, 2011

Alison N. McCullough, BA, BS, MPH (August 2011) , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Donna J. Smith, MA , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Richard Rothenberg, MD , Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Kelvin Parker, Field Coordinator Community Connections , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Tina Taylor, MPH , Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Community Connections is a reentry intervention for former State prisoners living with HIV/AIDS. This intervention grew out of community-based participatory research in an urban neighborhood planning unit in 2006. The community identified ex-offender reentry and reintegration as driving high levels of criminality in their neighborhoods, and as their primary public safety concern. Residents envisioned a program linking mentoring and employment resources to formerly incarcerated persons in their communities. Community Connections is a further outgrowth of this CBPR project targeting services to reentrants who are HIV positive. Community Connections is coordinated by an academic institution serving as the junction for three types of community partners: governmental, organizational, and individual. The diverse partners linked by Community Connections together provide support for successful reentry. The Department of Corrections provides Pre-Release Planning to HIV positive reentrants by scheduling essential social service and medical appointments, and providing copies of medical records. They serve as the first link to Community Connections' post-release services. Community Connections identifies unmet needs of reentrants and provides critical linkages to the expertise of community-based organizations chartered to meet those needs: housing, substance abuse treatment, education, medical, and social support. Peer-guides with knowledge of corrections, HIV/AIDS, addiction, and mentoring serve as genuine connections to the community for reentrants in the first year following release. A healthy association with a peer-guide provides a stable relationship for reentrants, who often face chaotic and overwhelming situations. Peer-guides as individual partners inform the development of the program through feedback and monthly progress narratives.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1. List six barriers to successful reentry for formerly incarcerated persons living with HIV/AIDS 2. Explain how engaging different types of community partners can strengthen reentry interventions. 3. Describe challenges of partnering with State government-operated correctional institutions to address public health issues 4. Design methods to identify community-based organizations best equipped to partner with academic institutions 5. Identify individuals in the community who have the skills and knowledge to serve as peer-guides for formerly incarcerated persons 6. Discuss the benefits and limitations of using an academic institution as the primary coordinator for community based health interventions

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Special Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present on Community Connections because I have been working on this project as a graduate research assistant since since January of 2010. I have assisted with program development and implementation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.