Alcorn’s Health and Disability Services recognized for reducing the risk of HIV infection

Alcorn’s Health and Disability Services recognized for reducing the risk of HIV infection

Alcorn State University Director of Health and Disability Services Dorothy Davis ’95 and student organization ASU H.E.R.O.S. (Health Educators Reaching Other Students) recently received two awards, “Making the Difference” and “Essential Piece of the Puzzle” in recognition of their contributions to the Advocates for Youth HBCU Initiative 2010 – 2013.

“The work of Alcorn’s student health center has helped significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection among black men and women ages 18 to 24 and improve the overall health and well-being of students at the University,” shared Davis.

Alcorn is among five HBCUs and two community-based health care facilities that in 2010 started a demonstration project “Minority Community HIV/AIDS Partnership: Preventing Risky Behaviors among Minority College Students” in partnership with Advocates for Youth, a national nonprofit organization, dedicated to helping young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. The funding for the project comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.

While working on the ambitious goals of this project, Alcorn increased condom availability on campus, establishing youth-friendly HIV counseling and testing and administering HIV tests. The Center also established collaborative partnerships with the Mississippi State Department of Health.

In addition, Alcorn’s student health center reviewed and improved its HIV/AIDS-related policies, consistent with recommendations from the American College Health Association, to strengthen access, referral and utilization of services and reduce stigma and discrimination.

A goal of the partnership was to also institutionalize a youth leadership council, ASU H.E.R.O.S. (Health Educators Reaching Other Students), to conduct HIV prevention education for young men and women providing students with education, affirmation and support to help them reduce their risk for HIV infection. During the project period, Alcorn conducted 86 workshops, forums, health fairs and other events to reach students with prevention messages.

Alcorn’s student health center with the assistance of its youth leadership council promoted “Greater Than AIDS”, a national social marketing campaign created by the Black AIDS Institute.

Trina Scott, associate director of Health Equity and Youth Empowerment for Advocates for Youth, thanked Alcorn for helping make the project a success and said, “Together we have worked to improve HIV prevention, testing and care for young Black men and women, a population at disproportionate risk for HIV infection. Thank you for your invaluable contributions to helping us get one step closer to achieving an AIDS-free generation. We hope that you are able to sustain your efforts to support public health priorities to reduce HIV disparities among young Black men and women.”

For more information on Alcorn’s Health and Disability Services, please contact Dorothy Davis at [email protected] or call 601.877.6460.