On October 31st, Vida/SIDA staff attended the 4th Annual LGBTQ Health Conference “Bridging Research and Practice” at Center on Halsted. This year’s conference was focused on creating a dialogue between researchers and practitioners by integrating both research findings and public health applications into each oral and poster presentation and workshop. The LGBTQ Health Conference is an interdisciplinary translational research conference that brought together research, public health professionals (practitioners), social workers, psychologists, and counselors, as well as other health-related professionals, further aiming to foster professional development and networking opportunities.
Researchers and practitioners at all levels, from students to established professionals, were welcome. Sessions were designed for scholars conducting applied or translational research with LGBTQ populations and practitioners working with LGBTQ individuals and communities. The conference was co-organized by the Impact Program at Northwestern University, with which Vida/SIDA has partnered to conduct research projects— including the ChiGuys Study. Participants spoke about working on research projects and community engagement with youth as part of the research process. Gustavo Varela, from Vida/SIDA, was able to attend workshops and seminars about MSM, their health needs, the advances in medication, & PrEP. The information learned was helpful to inform his work with Latino MSM. Gustavo also conducted a poster presentation titled “Implementing Comprehensive Risk Counseling Services (CRCS) with High Risk, HIV-Negative, Latino MSM in a Community Setting: Lessons Learned from Proyecto Social,” where he spoke about how PRCC-Vida/SIDA has been implementing this evidence-based intervention with the Latino community of Chicago. The poster was co-authored with Paisley Williams, Vida/SIDA Program Manager, and Mayra Estrella, Director of Vida/ SIDA. Gustavo also spoke about all the services our clients are able to receive through PRCC by enrolling in CRCS, and how the IMPACT program from Northwestern University has been conducting the evaluation process with PRCC as a community partner. Vida/SIDA would like to thank our IMPACT Program for the opportunity to participate in the event. Also, congratulations to Pedro and Gustavo on their work to improve the health and lives of Latinos in Chicago.
By Pedro Mercado, Gustavo Varela, & Mayra Estrella