HIV Endgame Program Results Spring 2020-2021

OHTNHIV Endgame Funding, News

Hands at a laptop, a note book, cup of pens, clipboard with application form, a pair of black glasses and a booklet all on a bright red background

The OHTN is pleased to announce the results of its 2020-2021 HIV Endgame Funding Program competition!

This funding program supports people and projects that have the potential to:

  • meet the needs of populations in Ontario most affected by HIV
  • drive changes in policy and practice across the HIV prevention, engagement, and care cascade
  • lead to more integrated health and social services
  • identify effective ways to address the social determinants that have a negative impact on the health of communities most affected by HIV
  • contribute to a rapid learning HIV health and social system

We are proud to support participants in each of five funding streams:

  1. Chair
  2. Innovator
  3. Policy and Practice Leader
  4. Student Leader
  5. Breaking New Ground
  6. Community-Based Project

1. Chair

Josephine Etowa, Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa

Optimizing HIV and Health Services for Canadians of African Descent (CAD) Women: A Multi-Sectoral and Innovative Approach to Capacity Building

The overall goal of this program is to improve health services and outcomes for reproductive age Canadian women of African Descent (CAD). The applicant will implement a community-informed and evidence-based capacity-building intervention for HIV, health, and social service providers, with the goal of improving HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services for CAD women. In the short term, the pilot intervention will contribute to increased knowledge, confidence, and skills among health providers working with CAD women in Ottawa. Long term outcomes include improvements in integrating HIV information and treatment in practice, positive effects on agency operations, and improved collaboration with HIV, health, and community-based agencies. The evaluation plan will assess the feasibility of scaling up to the rest of the province.


2. Innovator

Sergio Rueda, Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Cannabis Use, Mental Health, and Health Care Utilization Among Ontarians Living With and At Risk of HIV in the Era of Recreational Legalization

The applicant proposes to examine the association between cannabis use, mental health, and health care utilization for those living with and at risk of HIV in the era of recreational legalization. The program of data, evidence-sharing, and impact aims to: evaluate the impacts of cannabis use on mental health and service provision; monitor the long-term impacts of cannabis legalization on the health and wellness of people living with and at risk of HIV; and identify the knowledge, training, and resource gaps faced by healthcare providers in providing culturally-appropriate clinical care for those living with and at risk of HIV. This program of data, evidence-sharing, and impact will share findings and recommendations with key stakeholders with the goal of informing programs, services, and policies related to cannabis use and HIV.


3. Policy and Practice Leader

Alan Li, Primary Care Physician at the Regent Park Community Health Centre and Research Chair at the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment

Turning Crisis to Opportunities: Advancing HIV Prevention and Linkage to Care for Newcomer, Racialized and Non-Insured People Living With and At Risk of HIV/AIDS

This program focuses on closing the gaps in the HIV prevention, testing, and care engagement cascade amongst key priority populations of ACB, ethno-racial MSM, and racialized newcomers. This program will identify priority community needs and develop responsive innovative interventions; evaluate the effectiveness of community-driven innovative interventions in promoting HIV prevention and linkage to care for priority populations; and utilize evidence-based strategies to advance organizational and system-wide policy and practice change to reduce health disparities among marginalized and vulnerable populations living with HIV. This program will lead to changes in service provision and policy for the key priority populations it addresses.


4. Student Leader

Jennifer Gillis, PhD Candidate at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Secondary Prevention of HPV-Associated Cancer Among People Living with HIV: Acceptability and Suitability of Anal Cancer Screening

This project will support the development and implementation of evidence-informed approaches to HPV-associated cancer prevention for men living with HIV and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. The project aims to provide evidence to support the effective delivery of screening to reduce the burden of anal cancer for this population by identifying optimal ways to screen men and limiting unnecessary referral to high-resolution anoscopy. Evidence generated from this project will be used to improve HPV literacy, increase uptake of anal cancer screening, and develop best practice guidelines for anal cancer screening among men who have sex with men living with HIV.


5. Breaking New Ground

Kelly O’Brien, Associate Professor at the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto

Tele-Coaching CBE Study: Evaluating the Implementation of an Online Community-Based Exercise (CBE) Intervention using Tele-coaching to Enhance Physical Activity Among Adults Living with HIV in Ontario

This project will evaluate the implementation of a tele-coaching community-based exercise intervention designed to enhance physical activity and improve health outcomes among people living with HIV. Using the RE-AIM framework, investigators will determine the extent of participation among people living with HIV; assess the impact of the intervention on health outcomes; assess adherence and engagement in exercise over time; evaluate the process and feasibility of sustainability; and build capacity for broader implementation. Results from this study will help to inform policy and programming to implement and scale up CBE interventions across Ontario with the aim to improve health outcomes among people living with HIV while potentially reducing the need for more costly formalized health services.

This study involves collaboration with McMaster University, Central Toronto YMCA, St. Michael’s Hospital, Casey House, Realize, Toronto People with AIDS Foundation (Toronto PWA), AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), and Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP).  This project is a sub-study of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort Study (OCS).

6. Community-Based Project

Soo Chan Carusone, Director of Research at Casey House

Co-Principal Investigators: Andre Ceranto and Katherine Rudzinski

Engaging People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) Who Use Drugs and Other Stakeholders in Community-Based Knowledge Generation to Guide Harm Reduction Service Design and Delivery

This project will examine the opportunities and challenges of introducing harm reduction services at Casey House and other community-based ASOs in the context of COVID-19. The project aims to investigate how to design and deliver harm reduction services for people living with HIV and develop an evaluation framework for proposed supervised consumption services. This project will examine the facilitators and barriers to introducing harm reduction services for people living with HIV within hospitals and other community-based organizations. This project aims to improve design and delivery of harm reduction services for people living with HIV, facilitate the provision of emergency harm reduction services at ASOs, and influence harm reduction.

Fanta Ongoiba, Executive Director at Africans in Partnership Against AIDS (APAA)

Co-Principal Investigators: Lori Chambers and Precious Maseko

Because She Cares: Performance-Based Educational Intervention on AASO Employment Living with HIV

This project will translate study findings on the AIDS service and allied organizations (AASO) employment of ACB women living with HIV (ACBWH) into an educational intervention using knowledge translation methods congruent with Afrocentric performance. The team will evaluate the intervention’s educative and catalytic potential amongst ACBWH employees and others who work on behalf of the ACB Strategy in Ontario. The project aims to assess how the intervention affects audience perception of AASO employment, how one’s social positioning in AASO employment shapes perception of such employment, and how effective the intervention is in catalyzing constructive dialogue and future action relating to intersecting oppressions and the well-being of ACBWH employees. This project contributes to a growing body of participatory arts-based interventions developed in the HIV field, and could help equip AASOs to address HIV stigma, anti-Black racism, and other intersectional oppressions.