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Minority-Serving Institutions’ HIV/AIDS Prevention Sustainability Demonstration Initiative

In an effort to advance new strategies to increase HIV prevention activities for minority youth (ages 18-25), the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP) initiated the Minority-Serving Institutions’ HIV/AIDS Prevention Sustainability Demonstration Initiative (MSI Demonstration Initiative) in the fall of 2009. The MSI Demonstration Initiative, managed by Abt Associates, provides technical assistance to MSIs, increases their capacity to address the sexual health needs of minority college and university students, and encourages and promotes new partnerships for HIV prevention activities.

In August 2010, MSIs around the country were invited to apply for funding to participate in the MSI Demonstration Initiative based on their designation as a Historically Black College, Hispanic Serving Institution, or Native American Tribal College/University.  In September 2010, Abt Associates Inc. convened a panel of experts in HIV prevention research and youth programming to review applications from 24 schools.  Seven MSIs were funded; these included 4 historically black colleges and universities, 2 tribal colleges, and 1 Hispanic-serving institution. In October 2010, each school participated in a one and a half day All–Grantee meeting hosted by Abt Associates in Bethesda, MD to discuss their proposed program and learn about the overall Demonstration Initiative. The HIV prevention programs being developed at the seven MSIs included a variety of methods including peer education, social marketing and new media, and evidenced-based interventions such as Nia, Sistering, Informing, Healing, Living, and Empowering (SiHLE) and Popular Opinion Leader.

Year 1 start-up activities for each institution included conducting a needs assessment.  The needs assessment was used to guide program planning and implementation, and to assist schools in obtaining a better understanding of the cultural environment on each campus to ensure that their programs fit the needs of students.  Abt Associates along with their partners at the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) and the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC) conducted site visits at each MSI in early 2011. The site visit teams met with funded project staff at each school, including the Principal Investigator (typically a faculty member), the Project Coordinator in charge of the day-to-day operations, and other school personnel to discuss the program’s resources and potential technical assistance needs. Technical assistance topics identified through the site visit included trainings for peer educators and HIV counseling and testing skills, utilization of new media technology, developing and implementing social marketing campaigns (to bring awareness to the programs, raise HIV awareness, and reduce stigma), evaluation techniques and best practices, and creating sustainable programs and partnerships. Also in this first year of the initiative, schools participated in joint grantee monthly Learning Community webinars with Abt, NMAC, and NNAAPC staff that included topics such as working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered communities to best practices for recruiting and retaining peer educators.

Looking ahead, activities will continue in Year 2 as schools implement their programs and receive ongoing technical assistance provided by Abt, NMAC, and NNAAPC.  Data collection to inform a cross-site evaluation will also begin in year two with a focus on identifying successful initiatives and characterizing best practices.  Findings from the MSI Demonstration will be used by OHAIDP to inform the direction of future HHS initiatives to implement successful and sustainable programs and activities that will enhance HIV prevention efforts targeting racial and ethnic minority youth; to assess the viability of campus-based HIV outreach and prevention activities; and to suggest meaningful opportunities for cross-agency coordination and collaboration on our MSI campuses. 

Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs): 

Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs):

Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs):