The Year in Review
The 2020-2021 year has been one of adaption and thinking creatively. We have continued to move forward with research work that our members have identified as important, even as we deal with uncertain times. The team has risen to this challenge and have had many great accomplishments over the last year.
Stigma Reduction Research
The BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index study has had a busy year. This study is co-led by Dr. Cathy Worthington and Sophie Bannar-Martin at Island Health. We have continued to develop KTE (knowledge transfer and exchange) products from the Stigma Index surveys in partnership with the national HIV Stigma Index Team. PAN staff and Peer Research Associates (PRAs) worked with the national team to collate and present data across all regions in Canada who have used the Index.
This year we launched data collection for our qualitative study, People with Lived Experiences’ Strengths in the Face of Stigma, which looks at the strengths and resilience of people living with HIV and what makes programs and services work well for them. We talked with 20 people from across the province and have moved into analysis work.
In June, with the funding from the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) we held Let’s Talk Stigma Reduction!, an intersectoral day-long mini-conference about fighting stigma. Speakers had diverse lived and living experiences and an engaged Planning Committee set the course for the event. The evaluation results showed that participants felt the event helped them to identify new and creative approaches to address stigma and provided them better understanding of the intersectionality of stigma. This event allowed us to move the conversation about stigma in BC towards action and intervention planning. Full recordings of the event can be found on PAN’s website.
Additionally, we are pleased to report that we had a successful application to the Vancouver Foundation for funding over three years to support developing an organizational stigma assessment cycle. We anticipate beginning work on this project in the fall and will update as it moves forward.
Making it Work
PAN’s Making It Work CBR study, co-led by PAN, Sherri Pooyak at the Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Community-Based Research Collaborative Centre (AHA Centre) and Janice Duddy at PAN, is an Indigenous-focused, community-based research project in British Columbia. With guidance from people with lived and living experience(s) on the research team, this study explores why community services work well for people, with a particular focus on case management and community development programs and services that use Indigenous service delivery models. The study is trying to highlight not only if a program works, but who it works for, under what circumstances, and why.
Over the last year the Making it Work study has been using community-based research and decolonizing methodology to explore the work of four case study sites across the province; Positive Living North in Prince George and Smithers; PHS Community Services in Vancouver and Victoria and Central Interior Native Health Society in Prince George. We have moved our program theory forward through study team drop-in sessions and have been doing planning for phase 2 of the study which will include focus groups (called Community Conversations) at participating case study sites
Peer Research Associates (PRAs) have been actively engaged throughout the study. In coordination with the study team, they have been developing and delivering presentations advocating for peer involvement in research and community services, and continue training in research methods as we move into new data collection phases of the study. In July, the PRAs presented at a Community Advisory Board meeting for the GetCheckedOnline team at the BCCDC. The presentation included a discussion of how peer leadership is demonstrated in Making it Work, the embedding of Two Eyed Seeing and Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Doing within the work, and what the project hopes to achieve. Feedback from this presentation was very positive and we have heard it raised good conversations about peer engagement at the GetCheckedOnline tables.
Journal of Indigenous HIV Research
REACH Nexus (being supported and led by BC Regional staff at PAN) was invited by the AHA Centre at CAAN this past year to co-edit this year’s edition of the Journal of Indigenous HIV Research (JIHR) on the theme of allyship. The issue titled: Navigating Allyship: What does it mean to work together in service to the community? was published in the summer of2021, and proved to be very successful, eliciting the most submissions of any of the journal’s volumes. We want to thank our colleagues at the AHA Centre for inviting us on this journey – we have learned so much and appreciate all of your work and contributions to this sector. PAN staff and the Making it Work team put incredible effort into Volume 11 of the Journal of Indigenous HIV Research, and are proud of the commentary that was included. We are thrilled to have collaborated to produce such a great piece.
Communities of Practice
In 2021 PAN was excited to host and co-facilitate the Sharing Space: Indigenous Research in the Time of COVID Community of Practice, in partnership with the AHA Centre. We co-created a space for members of our research communities to come together to learn from and support one another as we struggle with this new reality within a pandemic. This opportunity is open to anyone involved in research, so we can brainstorm together, or simply build a supportive environment at a time of constant change and uncertainty.
PAN is also pleased to continue to host and facilitate the CBR in BC Quarterly meetings (a community of practice for CBR projects across BC) and continues to seek out opportunities to build CBR capacity with partners across the province. Our team does this work through our CBR Musings blog and providing individual capacity-building support to teams as needed. In June 2021 our meeting highlighted the Women-Centred HIV Care Toolkit developed by CHIWOS. We also had a discussion about recruitment for a study focused on syphilis PrEP.
The Treehouse is a collaborative project between the Research and the Evaluation teams at PAN intended to demonstrate the interconnectedness of methods and approaches used in research and evaluation and to provide space for our members and allies to engage in capacity-building and learning on these topics.
Some of the resources that can be particularly relevant for research include:
- Strong Connections: Community and Researchers Working Together
- Equitable online access for information sharing
- Negotiating information sharing in community based research and others.
We will be growing the tree by adding more resources in different areas of research and evaluation.
As always, we want to thank all of the Peer Research Associates (PRAs) and all of the people with lived and living experiences who support studies and research teams for their contributions as leaders, researchers, participants, and knowledge translators. It is through their engagement that the work of the Research Department does really takes flight. We also want to thank our academic and health authority partners in leadership roles on our studies. And to all of the members, participants and supporters of our research teams, thank you for your continued dedication to all of the projects and studies we are focused on. Thank you to our hard-working and creative staff team who have moved the department’s work forward over the last year – Joanna Mendell, Jennifer Demchuk, Madeline Gallard, Paul Kerber, and those no longer at PAN, Katsistohkwí:io Jacco, and Diandra Oliver. We are grateful for the funding and support from REACH Nexus, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the AHA Centre, the Vancouver Foundation, the University of Victoria, and Island Health which have made this work possible.
For more information, contact Janice Duddy, Director of Evaluation and Research, at [email protected]
Image: Jens Lelie, Unsplash