COMPASS Initiative® Funds 32 Organizations to Transform the HIV Epidemic in the South

Atlanta, Georgia (November 30, 2018) – In recognition of the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day and in support of the united efforts to address HIV/AIDS-related disparities in the Southern United States, the three Coordinating Centers of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative® – Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Southern AIDS Coalition, and University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work – announced the 32 recipients of their 2019 Transformative Grant. These one-year grants provided by the COMPASS Coordinating Centers focus specifically on the Southern United States and address disparities within the HIV epidemic by increasing organizational capacity, reducing stigma, and promoting well-being, mental health, and trauma-informed care.

The selected 2019 Transformative Grant partners include a myriad of passionate and diverse organizations serving the nine Deep South states, with innovative proposals, focused on reducing disparities through service expansion, stigma reduction campaigns, leadership and coalition development, community-based interventions, and much more. “We are excited to learn from and support each of our new partners,” said Neena Smith-Bankhead, MS, Director of Capacity Building and Community Engagement at the Emory COMPASS Coordinating Center. “We also look forward to developing a collaborative learning community of organizations committed to ensuring that Southern communities are providing high-quality services to those most impacted by HIV.”

Recipients were selected from a competitive group of applicants from across all nine Deep South states and reviewed by an external panel comprised of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and Southern organizations, totaling a combined 355 years of HIV-related prevention and care experience. “The quality and diversity of proposals we received speaks to the tremendous and fundamental work being led in the South,” says Dafina Ward, JD, the Senior Manager of Grant Operations and Strategy at the Southern AIDS Coalition. “Elevating Southern non-profit organizations who are addressing stigma and intersecting issues in their provision of HIV-related services is a key objective of our Transformative Grant funding. We look forward to not only working with, and learning from, our 2019 partners, but additional partners in years to come, with the unified goal of making positive strides towards ending the HIV epidemic in the South.”

On World AIDS Day, the COMPASS Initiative® is proud of the selected partners’ collective commitment to having a positive impact on known challenges in addressing the Southern HIV epidemic, particularly in underserved and rural communities where prevention efforts and services are limited. “Our Transformative Grantees will change the landscape of the South by providing community-centered and justice-focused programs,” says Samira Ali, PhD, LMSW, Assistant Professor and Center Director at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. “The selected partners are rich in experience and passion and have expertise across the COMPASS Initiative’s programmatic focus areas. They are ambitious, thoughtful, and most importantly want to transform the South!”

Read more about the 32 selected Transformative Grant recipients here.

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