Emory University Rollins School of Public Health receives $6 million from the Gilead COMPASS Initiative® to End HIV in the South

Emory Centers for Public Health Training and Technical Assistance at Rollins School of Public Health has announced a $6 million grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc. over three years to continue to build the capacity of organizations already working on the frontlines of the HIV crisis in communities across the U.S. South. Emory University will serve as one of four COMPASS coordinating centers alongside the Southern AIDS Coalition, the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, and Wake Forest School of Divinity to provide direct support to local community organizations to help mitigate the HIV epidemic in the Southern United States. Directed by Neena Smith-Bankhead, MS, COMPASS collaborative director, Emory will also act as the backbone organization to align and amplify collective impact across the multisite initiative.

“We are excited to continue the work with our community partners, focusing on populations most impacted by the Southern HIV epidemic. Our goal is to build organizational capacity and support the sustainability of community organizations through collaborative partnerships for maximum collective impact on HIV/AIDS in the South. We thank Gilead Sciences for their continued investment in this important work,” said Dr. Linelle Blais, principal investigator.

HIV remains a public health crisis in the United States, almost 40 years after the first cases were diagnosed, particularly in the Southern United States, where it claims the lives of 20 people each day. The impact of HIV is inequitable, with Black communities and other communities of color disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic.

“The Emory University Rollins School of Public Health has extensive experience in HIV research, training and technical assistance, which has helped local organizations improve their capacity to help patients access quality healthcare services and reach more people in communities most impacted by HIV,” said Brett Pletcher, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel. “We are grateful to Emory for its continued commitment to bring HIV to an end.”

Through Gilead’s work with the COMPASS Coordinating Centers and direct engagement with partners in the region, the company has provided $52 million in funding to the Southern United States in support of nearly 150 organizations. Through this same funding, the Emory University

COMPASS Coordinating Center has directly distributed more than $4.3 million to 104 community organizations across the US Deep South.

The second phase of funding will continue to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States by reducing HIV/AIDS-related disparities through the provision of grants, trainings, collaborative learning opportunities and resources that facilitate infrastructure development and sustainability, and create positive social change. We will continue to provide cutting-edge geospatial mapping to build novel data visualizations to better understand where and how HIV is impacting communities.

“COMPASS is about increasing the effectiveness of organizational resources in order to provide our community partners with better support, and to help them build stronger organizations, which will create a greater impact in the communities they serve,” said Kia Colbert, MPH, Emory COMPASS Coordinating Center program director.

The Emory Coordinating Center will expand our service area to include Arkansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, increase funding provided through the Transformative Grants, and will launch our activities with the HIV Stigma & Faith Summit that commences on February 24, 2021.

About The COMPASS Initiative® and the Emory Coordinating Center: Gilead’s COMPASS Initiative is a 10-year, more than $100 million collaborative effort that seeks to eradicate underlying serious and systemic challenges that contribute to the HIV epidemic in the Southern United States. The COMPASS Coordinating Centers work collaboratively to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern region of the United States. This community investment opportunity provides community grants to organizations across the Southern United States to support the development of programs and activities that align with programmatic focus areas of the COMPASS Initiative® and builds the overall capacity of organizations across the South in efforts to eradicate the HIV epidemic in the South. The Emory COMPASS Coordinating Center focuses on building organizational capacity and sustainability.

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