Targeting HIV/AIDS in Large Cities Means Engaging African-American Stakeholders

Public Health and the Black Clergy - Community Development Initiative

The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA) engaged African-American stakeholders, including clergy and other leaders, to address HIV/AIDS in three communities: Atlanta, Baltimore and Detroit.

Key Results

  • NBLCA engaged a research consultant who produced up-to-date statistical profiles on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, cervical and prostate cancer, and diabetes in the African-American communities in these cities.
    • NBLCA used this information to inform local leadership about their communities' health needs.
  • NBLCA received support from local clergy and political leaders in Atlanta and Baltimore to begin efforts to address HIV/AIDS and other health issues in their communities.
  • NBLCA initiated efforts to identify local leaders in Detroit, but they reported that their efforts to meet with many of them were slowed by the political situation in the city.
  • While NBLCA did not succeed in implementing all of its planned strategy in the three cities, project personnel viewed their ability to foster dialogue on HIV/AIDS and other public health issues among diverse groups as a positive outcome of this project.
  • The project director said that time, patience, and persistence were required in attempting to educate local leaders who had not previously worked with HIV/AIDS, but that local leaders became a force for positive change in their communities when they were afforded access to information they understood and trusted.
  • The project director made presentations on the initiative at the annual meeting of the Congress of National Black Churches and a health forum in Washington, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
  • At the close of this grant, NBLCA's national replication was underway, and they assisted the CBC in the development of new federal initiatives that created a total of $751 million in new federal funding for minority communities.
  • NBLCA was seeking funds to complete its planned activities in the three cities, continue its efforts across New York, and continue its policy and program development with elected officials in 11 other cities where racial disparities in health prevail.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the effort with a $496,679 grant from February 1997 through January 1999. The grant also allowed for the organization's transition to a national level.