Volume 3, Issue 1 Winter 2011 North Jersey Community Research Initiative Community FirstInside this issue: About NJCRIProject RENEW WorldAIDS Day 2 The North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI) is New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive HIV/AIDS community-based organization.NJCRI Holiday Celebra-tions!! 3 Our mission is “to help people with HIV/AIDS and those at risk for HIV/AIDS.” We conduct state-wide HIV clinical trials, and provide HIV treatment, care and prevention ser- vices in the Greater Newark Area. Populations we serve include youth and adults, men andProject ACESS Drop In 4 women, men who have sex with men, people who acquire or who are at risk for HIVCenter through injection drug use and others.My Brother’s Keeper 5 NJCRI also seeks to address the concerns and disparities of access to health care faced byDrop In Center minority populations. Some of the non-HIV related services we offer include behavioral research, chronic illness management education, street outreach, substance abuse treatment, transportation, food pantry and technical assistance to other community-basedClient’s Corner 6 organizations. Approximately 6,000 people avail themselves of our free and confidential services each year.Project WOW! Health 7Fair NJCRI Celebrates its 2nd Annual Meet & Greet Fundraiser with a Visit from Newark Mayor Corey Booker!!Community Outreach 8 More than 60 people attended NJCRI’s 2nd Annual Meet and Greet Fundraiser to celebrate our 22 years of service to the Greater Newark Community. The event, held on October 7th,Upcoming Programs raised over $11,400, funds that will help NJCRI continue to provide outstanding services to 9and/or Events our clients. This year’s honorees included Newark Mayor Corey Booker, Gary Paul Wright of the Afri- can American Office of Gay Concerns (AAOGC), Henry Iwuala of The Kintock Group and NJCRI’s own Ann Sheridan, Dr. George Perez, Bill Orr, and Freddie Perry. For the second year in a row, Lisa Mateo, PIX Morning News Feature Reporter, served as our dynamic Mistress of Ceremonies. Dr. Robert Fullilove, Dean and Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health was the Special Invited Guest for the eve- ning. Thank you to all who contributed and attended. In the words of Mayor Booker, “[NJCRI] is an organization that gets the tough work done” and we could not do it without your gener- ous support! Video of the Mayor’s speech is available on NJCRI’s website at www.njcri.org.
Community First In Memoriam We are saddened by the loss of Pamela M. Bolden, one of our staff at NJCRI, who passed away on December 30, 2010. On January 13, 2011, the NJCRI community and Pamela’s family and friends came together to say good bye to a mother, sister, daughter, friend, colleague and counselor. Pam’s life was honored and we all shared with each other the many ways she touched us and made our lives better. Pam will be missed by many. To honor her great work, NJCRI has dedicated the patient lounge on the third floor to her. Please drop by to see her plaque and how her legacy contin- ues for our patients and at NJCRI. Pamela we love you and you will be missed by all youhave touched.Brian McGovernExecutive Director Project RENEW World AIDS Day st December 1 is internationally recognized as World AIDS Day and NJCRI’s Project Renew celebratedwith a spectacular program at Northern State Prison (NSP). Project Renew Health Educators Antonio Alexan-der and Liz Kimani organized an informative and entertaining event for NSP inmates. Project Renew clients at NSP shared their personal experiences with HIV/AIDS with the audience andtheir willingness to educate their peers with their testimonies was evident in their passionate speeches. Notonly did they discuss their reactions to learning about their HIV status but they stressed the importance of be-ing an active participant in their treatment program. The speakers encouraged the audience to ask questionsduring doctor visits and promoted safe sex conversations within families and communities. Dr. Anita Vaughn, an infectious disease specialist with a long history of treating HIV/AIDS patientsand a well-known public speaker was the keynote speaker. Dr. Vaughn discussed the basics of HIV/AIDS andcurrent treatment options. Her presentation was well-received by the inmates and stimulated a lively discussionabout traditional versus alternative medical treatments. Dr. Vaughn spoke candidly about the importance ofknowing one’s HIV status and taking the necessary precautions to prevent transmission to others. The highlight of the program were the performances by the Northern State Prison R&B Band. The tal-ented band members entertained the audience with covers of popular R&B songs by artists such as John Leg-end and Estelle. Additionally, the band was accompanied by two vocalists who gave rousing renditions of hitsongs. Project Renew would like to express sincere thanks to Viesha Morales (Missy) one of NJCRI’s Medi-cal Case Managers and Brian McGovern, NJCRI’s Executive Director for attending and supporting the event.Lastly, Project Renew is grateful for our clients’ participation and openness with their personal stories. We arelooking forward to hosting additional educational programs at Northern State Prison. Page 2
Volume 3, Issue 1 Volume 3, Issue 1 NJCRI Holiday Celebrations!!On Friday, November 19th, dozens of people arrived at NJCRIto celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and spend several hourswith friends. NJCRI’s Client Thanksgiving Day Dinner wasan overwhelming success with people enjoying dinner, per-forming poetry and singing songs. The Gong Show was a hit!Generous food donations were provided by Gilead Sciences,Merck Serono, Abbott Laboratories and NJCRI staff. Eightvolunteers from Tibotec Pharmaceuticals also helped prepareand serve food alongside NJCRI staff.Our Client Holiday Dinner on December 17th also drew acrowd. Merck Serono, Gilead Sciences, Bristol-MyersSquibb, MyIT, Abbott Laboratories and Merck Serono do-nated food for the party, as did NJCRI staff. Tibotec Pharma-ceuticals supplied volunteers, presents and desserts. Meet Our Newest Volunteers! Maria Galera (left) is a high school junior in the Newark Public School System. During the fall cycle, she has been interning four hours a week in Project WOW! through Sadie Nash, an all girls leadership program. Following their 6 week summer program, Maria chose to do an internship at a nonprofit health agency because of her career aspiration to be a registered nurse. While at Project WOW! she has learned a lot of information about HIV/AIDS and has helped with clerical work and in designing the attendance sheet. She is learning how to help, comfort, and handle situations with people who are HIV positive and is interested in learning more about NJCRI’s My Brother’s Keeper and HIV/AIDS resources.NJCRI welcomes Theresa Goodwin (right). Theresa has been volunteer-ing in reception since December 14th answering phones and arrangingtransportation. She will soon begin helping with clerical work.Deirdre Coppin has been volunteering at NJCRI for nearly a month. Shehad been looking for a job and wanted to give back to the community.After coming to NJCRI to get tested, she asked about available volunteerpositions. Currently she volunteers in the food pantry, answers phones,and assists with various clerical work. Page 3
Community First 1 Volume 3, Issue Coming Soon!!...NJCRI’s Project ACCESS Drop In CenterNJCRI’s Addiction Services Department is pleased to announce that it willbe opening a drop –in–center for homeless substance users in mid-to-lateFebruary. The center which is funded by the New Jersey Department ofHealth’s Division of HIV/AIDS Services will provide participants with mul-tiple services including nutritional support, and access to showers and laun-dry facilities. Staff will work closely with other NJCRI programs particu-larly Project Access (our syringe exchange), Counseling and Testing andProject Cope to make sterile syringes, HIV testing, drug treatment and othermuch needed services available to clients. More information will be madeavailable when renovations are completed and a firm date is set for theopening. Seeking Cures For Tomorrow Providing Support For Today! Q & A with NJCRI’s Patient Navigator: Keith Williams Q: Who can set up a meeting with you? Q: How do clients find out about you? A: My job as patient navigator is to engage newly A: Anyone in need of services can contact me on my diagnosed people who are HIV positive and people cell phone at 973-277-7076. who were previously diagnosed that are not cur- rently in care. People are referred to me from NJCRI’s Care and Treatment Services (CTS), Clinical Trials, Project Q: What is the process? ACCESS, Project REACT, outreach workers, and by word of mouth. A: We have a short interview where I explain what I do and the client tells me what they want to do. I Q: As patient navigator, what is a typical day? set up an initial appointment with St. Michael’s Hospital (Peter Ho Clinic) for blood work and in- A: My typical day is spent in Project Access waiting troduce clients to the retention officers there. Re- for referrals and engaging clients that are in need of tention officers help with hospital case manage- harm reduction services. There is no easy or difficult ment and other services. This gives clients another resource to use when they are in the medical cen- part about my job, I love what I do. ter. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing a client I also assist with getting clients charity care and taking charge of their own health. transportation at our first meeting. Page 4
Volume 3, Issue 1 Grand Opening of My Brother’s Keeper Drop In Center NJCRI Announces the launch of My Brother’s Keeper, a new program for MSM’s between the ages of 25 and 34. This program will offer mentorship, counseling, a supportive men’s group, health education training and risk reduction workshops. For this and more information on other services, activities, or events, call (973) 483 – 3444. After Hours at NJCRI’s Project WOW!Funded by New Jersey’s Department of Health interventions, they begin documenting their behavior(DOH), Division of Addiction Services (DAS), change in photos. The youth are able to track their indi-and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), vidual progress and hold themselves accountable forNJCRI’s Project WOW! is Newark’s first drop- their actions, helping to make them less susceptible toin center specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, HIV or frequent substance use.transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Thedrop-in center provides opportunities for young Money for cameras and equipment was purchased us-people to socialize and build supportive net- ing funds from a DAS grant. The Photography Pro-works while learning new HIV and substance gram takes place on Tuesdays from 5-7 p.m.abuse prevention skills in a safe space. For a calendar of events, visit Project WOW! at 393On average, Project WOW serves up to 400 Central Avenue, Newark, NJ, 07103.youth per month who live in the NJ/NYC met-ropolitan area. With its dedicated staff andyouth advisory board (Leaders of the Future“LOF”), Project WOW was awarded the 2010Sakia Gunn Community Service Award byNewark Essex Pride Coalition during Newark’sPride Week.Aunsha Hall, Manager of Project WOW! en-courages the youth to “spread the word that Pro-ject WOW! has all these things going on. Thereis always something to come to that you may beinterested in”.WOW’s latest project uses photography as ameans to encourage the youth to identify“triggers” and change those behaviors that put Picture: Project WOW! Staffthem at risk. After taking part in group level Page 5
Community First Client’s CornerThe following is the transcript of a conversationwith Don, a client at NJCRI. Seeking Cures For Tomorrow Providing Support For Today!The first thing I want to do is extend the warmestthank you to all of the staff members at NJCRI be-cause I am an NJCRI success story. And I began the process of rebuilding my im-I came to the facility here in February 2008, at that mune system and getting my body back on trackpoint I had been off medication for 7 years. I was and within 10 months my blood scores lookedliterally at the end of my life, I was so ill I couldn’t excellent, they were very quickly rebounding andeven walk up the stairs in front of the building I probably, within that first year, made incrediblevery easily. I had had a stroke, primarily for hav- progress.ing been off of meds for so long. And then this last time now, it’s 2 years, I have gotten the results of my blood work back. AndAnd the first time I came here I was examined by my viral load had been 275,000 parts per cubicAnn Sheridan who took wonderful care of me right centimeter blood, and now it’s 20, which is noth-from the very beginning, and said to me “you’re ing short of an incredible gift from the facility tonot necessarily dying if you don’t want to die. You have healed me to the point where I now am verycould. You certainly are very close to the end. If sure that I will live a perfectly normal life.you believe that that’s it, you’re done. But if youbelieve in getting better we will help you.” I give back to the community here at the facility as often as I can and do all sorts of fun, creativeAnd at that point Ann arranged for me to become a things that I enjoy doing. And I love to show upmember of the ADAP program and we first got me because any time I can give back to this place, I certainly do. And from the bottom of my heart Ion medication. And then I saw Dr. Pobletti who am grateful to everyone here.then prescribed me an excellent regime of Tru-vada, Noravire, and Reates. And then of course I Thank you.also had to go on anti-stroke medication. Test-4-Turkey Day In keeping with our annual tradition, NJCRI’s CTR Unit gave out 160 turkeys for Thanksgiving this year. One hun- dred and ten clients who registered in advance received a free turkey. The other 50 turkeys were given out on No- vember 22nd at 3 locations in Newark (St. James Tower, Seth Boyden, and Bradley Court) in exchange for getting an HIV test. Congratulations CTR! Page 6
Community First Community Outreach The following article was written by Aliya Wadood, a junior at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. “Safe sex is great sex." This comment made by a student made my hour and a half of standing outside in thirty four degrees weather worth it. Myself, along with two group members had a mobile testing unit on campus December 8th from 2:30pm-4:00pm. Our event was supposed to last until 5:00pm, but due to the amount of students being tested there were no more tests left. After weeks of preparation it was finally our big day. I decided to focus on the advertising aspect and made postersand information cards for Montclair State University students. Each poster contained a statistic and eachinformation card included a statistic and condom. My mother works with the sister of Nimaako Brown whois the project manager at NJCRI. She was able to get me assorted condoms, lubricants, proper condom us-age information and information about NJCRI services. As I rushed through the University hallways I hoped that students excited about our event and wouldnot let the cold weather deter them from getting tested. When I got to the student center quad, I realized wehad about seven students waiting. I was happy to see that students wanted to know their HIV status even ifit was frigid outside. I let my group member know I was there and then when to the student center to havemy poster enlarged to display on the side of the mobile testing unit. While I waited for my enlarged poster, a group of four girls and a guy asked me where our mobiletesting unit was located. I told them that it was right outside and gave four of them informational cards withcondoms taped on the back. I dug deep into my handbag to look for a card for one girl who seemed disap-pointed when I could not find it. I told her I was sorry but to take a long pack of condoms as an apology.She laughed and showed her friends who laughed even more. After I got my poster I continued to search foran informational card because I knew I had one for her. Luckily I found one on the side of my bag. When Ifinally gave it to her she laughed again and jokingly said, "Thanks, I had thirty and now I have thirty-one."It was important that she had the condoms but she needed the knowledge as well. I finally got outside and put together a bin of condoms, lubricants, information about proper condomuse and information about services NJCRI offers in Newark. I told anyone who walked by that we had freecondoms and testing. I noticed that some people were offended when I offered them condoms. This mademe somewhat uneasy because I did not want to make anyone uncomfortable but I did want them to take ad-vantage of everything we had to offer. Within an hour and a half thirty people were tested for HIV. Ourevent was supposed to last until 5:00pm but it ended at 4:00pm because there were no more testing kits. Iwas happy to see people open about testing for HIV. One person even told me "Im negative. Can I get acondom?" I am proud to say the students were not the only ones who benefitted from our event, I benefittedas well. Page 8
Volume 3, Issue 1 Phone: 973-483-3444 Upcoming Programs and/or Events Fax: 973-485-7080 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Harm Reduction & Treatment in NJ: Having Faith In Recovery Founder William P. Orr, M.A. Conference January 26, 2011 from 9 - 3:30 p.m. at Robert Treat Hotel, Newark, NJ Board of Trustees For information , call (973) 483-3444 ext 204 Dwight Peavy Chair My Brother’s Keeper Thomas Flynn For information, call (973) 412-7080 Vice Chair Carol Mori Project WOW! Health Fair Treasurer February 5, 2011 from 12—6 p.m. at NJCRI For information, call (973) 412-7080 Jeffrey Bomser In Memoriam Support Groups For information about upcoming group meetings, call (973) 483-3444 Institutional Review Board James M. Oleske, M.D. Chair Project WOW! KIKI Function For information, call (888) 688-9078 Youth Advisory Board Kaleef C. Washington Chair Substance Use and Mental Health 101 Training For information, call (973) 483-3444 x 204 Directors Brian McGovern, L.S.W. Executive Director George Perez, M.D. Medical Director Does your organization have a presence on Twitter or YouTube? If so, follow NJCRI at Corey DeStefano, B.S. http://www.twitter.com/NJCRI Director, Clinical Research and Compli- http://www.YouTube.com/NJCRI ance Officer Robert C. Baxter, M.P.A. Director, Addiction, Prevention and Educa- tional Services Joseph Rothenberg, M.B.A. Director, Finance Donate Over the Phone (973) 483-3444 ext. 191 Seeking Cures For Tomorrow Donate on our Website Providing Support For Today! www.njcri.org Donate By Mail Send Us A Check NJCRINewsletter created by: Aura C. Caicedo 393 Central AvenueEdited by: Bob Baxter, Nimaako Brown, Aura C. Caicedo, Caroline E.S. Harris Newark, NJ 07103