|HIV and AIDS Program|
|Monday, 17 January 2011 13:45|
Since 2003 EMG Health Communications, a not-for profit organization with a 501©(3) designation, reaches out to faith-based leaders through its HIV/AIDS educational program whose goal is to serve those leaders and their assistants by:
While focusing on the above tasks during the year, it also became imperative to organize an annual educational forum whereas most leaders will have the opportunity to discuss their basic needs to outreach their community in addition to identifying the specific tools necessary to conduct non-threatening, positive and formative AIDS education within their place of worship.
EDUCATIONAL FORUM: Held in mid-summer, this event attracts approximately two hundred (200) leaders of the faith-based community leaders, most of which have their church in Brooklyn, New York. The target group comes primarily from the Haitian Clergy Association with a membership of five hundred members. For several years, EMG Health Communications has made it its prerogative to attend the monthly clergy meeting held at the church of the Evangelical Crusade of Sinners of Men located in Flatbush, New York. Although they are some young pastors in attendance, the majority are men in their sixties. They are regarded as the elders and are highly respected by all in the community. At the meeting, the Clergy also welcomes visitors to speak on a specific topic or made a community announcement.
HISTORY: In 2003, Dr. Eustache Jean-Louis, Founder and CEO of the Center for Community Health, Education and Research [CCHER] in Boston, approached EMG Health Communications to coordinate a two-day training on HIV/AIDS for Haitian leaders of the faith-based community. Reverend Monifa A. Jumanne, PhD and her team from the NATIONAL FAITH LEADERS TRAINING INSTITUTE of Atlanta, GA provided this exceptional instruction through the use of narratives, principles and individual experience. Following this successful gathering of concerned participants, EMG Health Communications saw the need to develop an HIV/AIDS education and prevention with a focus on Capacity Skill-Building for religious leaders to address within their churches, HIV/AIDS in a comprehensive manner.
The goals and objectives: 1) To reach out to all Haitian-American spiritual leaders, 2) provide them with HIV/AIDS education and, most importantly, 3) strengthen their skills and most importantly to become our partners in helping to reduce the HIV/AIDS incidence in New York. They learn how to introduce the AIDS topic in their churches through an opened constructive, non-discriminatory dialogue with the worshippers. The aim is to de-stigmatize the AIDS disease in the faith world.
In the second year of its inception, the program included case management services, information and mental health referrals. During outreach activities, the public receives a large amount of culturally-sensitive materials on AIDS prevention while staff encourages HIV testing. The highlight of this program is the August Annual Meeting where leaders of different denominations meet together for a day of learning and sharing.
In 2011, EMG Health recognized the Association of the Haitian Clergy for its collaborative efforts to join forces in the fight against HIV/AIDS. From 2003 to 2013, EMG Health Communications reached out to more than four hundred churches.
EMG Health Communications is a professional organization which promotes positive changes and creates a forum to improve physical and mental health.
PROGRAM DELIVERY: The agenda calls for a full day of workshops ranging from presentations on HIV prevention and mental health issues to at risk-youth behaviors and AIDS stigma. The topics of discussion vary from year to year. Ninety-five (95%) of participants return each year as there are different exposes well presented by local field experts and other interesting discussions that ensue from the topics of discussion. Break-out sessions occur and yield optimum results due to an active participation. Dr. Joseph Paul, a well-versed physician with in-depth cultural skills and working with different ethnic groups, is the official medical advisor of HIV/AIDS Program.
At the end of the day, a survey questionnaire is distributed and collected. This is a very important and critical tool in the evaluation process as it allows our program administration to review and perhaps make changes for future improvement. The feedback is generally positive. Respondents state that the time allotted for each presentation is nearly perfect. There is ample time for questions and answers and most interestingly are the free breakfast, lunch and souvenirs that are provided. At the end of the day, every participant receives a certificate of attendance.
SUSTAINABILITY: Based on the numbers we continually see growing and the new eye-opening this program has created amongst spiritual leaders, we deduce that the program is well accepted and highly successful. The HIV/AIDS Program receives meager donations from the community. The annual forum is only supported by a small funding from pharmaceutical agencies and in-kind donation i.e. logistics from local vendors.