The Year in Review
This year has been a busy one for the Community-Based Research (CBR) Department at PAN! We currently support three signature CBR projects – the BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index, Making it Work, and Positive Living, Positive Homes. We also support capacity-building relating to CBR with our members and allies throughout British Columbia. While this year brought many challenges for us and our communities, PAN’s CBR team has been working with our partners to move work forward as we all adapt to accomplishing things differently amidst COVID-19.
BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index
Progress with the BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index has been terrific this year. This study is co-led by Dr. Cathy Worthington at the University of Victoria (UVic) and Sophie Bannar-Martin at Island Health.
In November 2019, we held a Deliberative Dialogue focused on interventions and initiatives for stigma reduction, generously supported by the Community Action Initiative and Provincial Health Services Authority. This was a wonderful event with representation from across the province and a great opportunity to share with and learn from each other. You can view a webpage with resources from the day and a full report here. Out of the Deliberative Dialogue, we also formed an Evaluation Working Group that has been working on a preliminary tool for evaluating individual experiences of stigma. We have also been using direction from the Deliberative Dialogue in planning for future stigma-reduction initiatives.
A webinar led by Peer Research Associates (PRAs) from the first phase of the BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index was held in October 2019. Three PRAs shared their experiences working on the study, as well as best practice recommendations for working as a PRA. PAN staff Paul Kerber and Madeline Gallard also presented findings at the Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC)’s 2019 Summit.
We have begun an affiliated qualitative study, People With Lived Experiences’ Strengths in the Face of Stigma. This study explores experiences of people living with HIV in respect to their own strengths and experiences of services. This study is currently recruiting and you can learn more about the study and view a downloadable, shareable poster here.
Making it Work
PAN’s Making it Work (MiW) is an Indigenous focused, community-based research study, co-led by PAN and Sherri Pooyak at the Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Community-Based Research Collaborative Centre (AHA Centre). MiW is looking at whether people living with HIV, hepatitis C, and/or associated health and social conditions experience better outcomes when they access organizations that link case management and community development services and/or approach service delivery with an Indigenous worldview of health and wellbeing. One of the goals of the study is to highlight if a program works, but also who it works for, under what circumstances, and why. To answer these questions, the study team is looking to realist evaluation, an evaluation approach that attempts to explain complex interventions.
The MiW team experienced significant growth in the last year. MiW confirmed three case study sites in four communities this year: Central Interior Native Health Society in Prince George, Positive Living North in Prince George and Smithers, and PHS Community Services Society in Vancouver and Victoria. In addition, the team was pleased to welcome Katsistohkwí:io Jacco as the Graduate Research Trainee as well as Martin Morberg and Daniel Sands as Peer Research Associates from two of our case study communities: Vancouver and Victoria. Michelle Stewart, MiW’s PRA in Prince George who has been involved in the project for the last couple years, became a part-time staff member at PAN this year as well. We are thrilled to have these new individuals join our team, as they bring unique perspectives to the study and come from a variety of Indigenous nations.
The MiW team was invited to develop and present a poster at the Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research (CAHR) 2020 Virtual. MiW also produced several blog posts, such as the introductions of Katsistohkwí:io Jacco and Michelle Stewart, and a reflection piece on Two-Eyed Seeing and realist evaluation. Current undertakings of the MiW team are the ongoing development of the Realist Program Theory for the study, training and onboarding new Peer Research Associates, and planning our research methods for the next phase of the study.
Positive Living, Positive Homes
Positive Living, Positive Homes, PAN’s community-based research (CBR) study looking at HIV and housing in BC, continues in the knowledge translation stage. This study is co-led by Dr. Cathy Worthington at the University of Victoria (UVic).
This year, Darren Lauscher and Madeline Gallard had the opportunity to share findings at the BC Non-Profit Housing Association’s 2019 Housing Central Conference. As well, we have developed a ninth module for our online HIV Housing Toolkit, based on an expressed need for accessible information about HIV for staff working in housing, such as maintenance and cleaning staff. This module is focused on providing clear, accessible information for housing staff and contains a downloadable and printable poster.
Building Capacity and Community with CBR
We continue to lead a thriving CBR Community of Practice – the CBR in BC Quarterly Meeting (which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2020) and the associated Peer Research Associates’ Meeting, a meeting space reserved for people with lived experience working in research. We are pleased to be able to continue to offer these opportunities for shared learning and engagement with our CBR community across the province. We also offer opportunities to build capacity surrounding CBR through our CBR Musings blog and to teams across the province as requested.
We were invited this year to co-edit the Journal of Indigenous HIV Research (JIHR) alongside staff of the AHA Centre at the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN). The theme of this year’s JIHR is allyship. We hosted a webinar to share about the JIHR and how others can participate by submitting and reviewing submissions. We are grateful for this opportunity to work together and look forward to the Journal’s publication.
Thank you to the peers who lead, support, and give to this work – as PRAs, study team members, peer consultants, research participants and community leaders. To all the members, participants and supporters of our research teams, thank you so much for your leadership, guidance, and engagement with this work. Special thanks to our CBR staff members, Joanna Mendell, Katsistohkwí:io Jacco, Michelle Stewart, Martin Morberg, Daniel Sands, Madeline Gallard and Paul Kerber. We are grateful for the funding and support from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the CIHR Centre for REACH in HIV/AIDS, the CIHR CBR Collaborative Centre (A Program of REACH), the AHA Centre, the Community Action Initiative, the Provincial Health Services Authority, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, University of Victoria, and Island Health, all of whom have made this work possible.
For more information on Community-based research at PAN, contact Janice Duddy, Director of Evaluation and Community-Based Research, [email protected]