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Global Experts to Discuss Stigma of HIV and other Conditions at Howard University

Phil Robinson of the Black AIDS Institute


WASHINGTON, D. C. (November 14, 2017) – Howard University and Howard University Hospital are set to bring together a full roster of international and regional community activists and health officials at its Eighth Annual International Conference on Stigma on Friday, Nov. 17.

This year’s theme is “Research and Advocacy in Action” and the speakers are at the forefront of confronting HIV/AIDS and other health-related conditions. The International Conference on Stigma takes place at the Armour J. Blackburn Center, 2397 Sixth Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20059.

Phill Wilson of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles will be the keynote. Conference director Dr. Sohail Rana and the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health were recently awarded a conference grant from the National Institutes of Health. Grant funds support scholarships for participants who would not otherwise have been able to attend. The grant also supports sponsorship of a workshop aimed at junior minority researchers, including a post-conference mentoring program.

“Stigma is the major reason why the HIV epidemic continues. It is also the biggest barrier to treatment of addictions and mental illness,” said Dr. Rana, professor of pediatrics at the Howard University College of Medicine. “We are all responsible for this stigma, and we must work together to eliminate it.”

The annual international stigma conference is coordinated each year by the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health in the Howard University College of Medicine and Howard University Hospital. A Stigma Art Project will display the works of local artists, and scientific and community posters will be exhibited.

The major sponsors for this event are the NIH- National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Gilead Sciences, DC Department of Health (HAHSTA), AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Howard University School of Social Work, and the Mid-Atlantic AIDS Education and Training Center.

Speakers include:

  • Jesse Milan, CEO of AIDS United, will lead a panel of non-profit organizations on how they address stigma
  • Vanessa Johnson, JD, Steering Committee Member, U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus, Ribbon Consulting Group, and Reverend Michael Schuenemeyer, Div, Executive for Health and Wholeness Advocacy, Wider Church Ministries, United Church of Christ will conduct a session on faith-based initiatives through the International Stigma Index Project and the Framework for Dialogue
  • Loretta Jay, MA executive director of B Stigma-Free, will lead a workshop on Leadership through storytelling.
  • Eric Grossman, LCSW, Program Director, Women’s Prison Association will address Stigma and Risk Among Incarcerated Women Living with HIV/AIDS
  • Anne Stangl, Ph.D, Senior Behavioral Scientist, International Center for Research on Women, Washington, D.C., Chris Beyrer, M.D., MPH, Desmond M. Tutu Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Director, Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Associate Director, JHU Center for AIDS Research, and Ezer Kang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Howard University will lead a workshop on stigma research directed at Junior Researchers
  • Akiv Dawson, of Howard University will lead a youth focused workshop entitled,Unpacking Stigma in The Trump Era”
  • Guy-Oreido Weston, MA, Executive Director, DC Care, Washington, DC will speak on “Cultural Competency and Stigma: Is There a Connection?”

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, nine Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 60 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States.  For more information on Howard University, please visit www.howard.edu.

About Howard University Hospital

Over the course of its roughly 155-year history of providing the finest primary, secondary and tertiary health care services, Howard University Hospital (HUH) remains one of the most comprehensive health care facilities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and designated a DC Level 1 Trauma Center. The hospital is the nation's only teaching hospital located on the campus of a historically Black university. For more information, visit huhealthcare.com