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International Stigma Conference Returns to Howard University’s Blackburn Center

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WASHINGTON – Howard University’s 13th Annual International Conference on Stigma will be held November 15-18, 2022, with virtual and in-person programs. The theme is “Power of Peer Support: Breaking the Chains of Stigma Together.” This year’s conference will also focus on social stigmas attached to relatively new diseases, such as Covid and monkey pox.

In-person events programs will be held on Friday, November 18 in Blackburn University Center, 2397 Sixth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20011. Events and programs on the other days will be held virtually, including on pre-conference sessions Sunday and Monday.

Each year, the International Conference on Stigma brings together a full roster of researchers, educators, policymakers, activists, faith leaders, youth, and community leaders to discuss health-related stigmas and strategies to overcome stigma. This year’s conference will include open discussions on a range of topics, including peer support, health equity, and internalized stigma. Stigma of HIV, mental health, sickle cell disease, Covid, monkey pox, substance use, and other health-related stigma will also be included.

The stigma associated with health conditions is a major health problem and impedes treatment and prevention efforts. The purpose of the conference is to end the stigma surrounding HIV, mental health, and other intersecting stigmas while being an important voice for marginalized people.

To register for the conference, visit https://www.whocanyoutell.org

See a full agenda here: www.whocanyoutell.org/2022-conference/

Notable Speakers include:

Keynotes: Mable Taplin, RN, MSN, community liaison for Theratechnologies; Allison Mathews, Ph.D., research fellow and executive director, Gilead COMPASS Faith Coordinating Center at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity.

Additional Speakers: Researchers including Kristin Kosyluk, Ph.D., from the University of South Florida; community advocate Bryan C. Jones, founder, DIRT Advocacy Movement, and founder and director, Sankofa HIV Initiative; and faith-based speaker Ulysses W. Burley III, founder of UBtheCURE LLC.

Altaf Husain, MSW, Ph.D., associate professor of the Howard University School of Social Work. Husain is also chair of the community, administration and policy practice concentration. He will give the inaugural Rana Family Speaker Series on Social Justice in Health lecture.

Four work groups and a host of other community organizations will be involved. A Town Hall will discuss the importance of the involvement of persons with HIV in advocacy and implementation. It will take place at 2:40 p.m. in a virtual setting on Tuesday, November 15. Events and programs on the other days will be held virtually, including a Mental Health First Aid Training and other pre-conference sessions Sunday and Monday.

Sohail Rana, M.D., is a professor of pediatrics at the Howard University College of Medicine and conference director. He shared that “most people with stigmatized illnesses like HIV have suffered layers and layers of trauma. It is hard to see the real person through the scars. Being able to tell your story without facing rejection is the first step to healing. Love is the cure.”

This year’s entertainment features saxophonist Brian Lenair, a performance by dance group Da Most Versatile, and many other vocal, dance, and spoken word selections.

The  International Conference on Stigma will also feature personal video clips from the community to share their stigma stories. Raffle prizes will be given throughout the conference, and individuals who have been working diligently to eliminate stigma will be recognized and awarded. There will be multiple networking opportunities with support for next-generation researchers and advocates working to combat stigma. Stigma-focused artwork will be presented with prizes for the top submissions.

Major sponsors of the event are Gilead Sciences and Theratechnologies, Inc., ViiV Healthcare, Research Data and Communication Technologies, and RTI International. Major collaborators include Howard University School of Social Work and the Mid-Atlantic AIDS Education and Training Center, Howard University regional site.

For more information on the conference, contact Patricia Houston at phouston@Howard.edu.

Pictured: (from left) Altaf Husain, Mable Taplin, Ulysses W. Burley III 

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About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. 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, visit www.howard.edu.

Media contact: Sholnn Freeman; sholnn.freeman@howard.edu