Research Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Research Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Scholars Program

Rollins College Anthropology professor Shan-Estelle Brown has received a notable national fellowship from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program to study the experiences of Black women in regard to HIV prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Brown will team up with Dr. Andrea Dunn, executive director of Let’s Beehive!, a nonprofit focused on providing HIV education and resources, and Dr. J. Richelle Joe from the University of Central Florida. The award is part of an initiative to address structural racism in community health and generate a critical mass of evidence for change.

A report released through the U.S. 2021-2025 HIV National Strategic Plan identifies Black women as a priority population due to the disproportionate impact of HIV among that population. Brown and her colleagues are seeking insight into the experiences of Black women in order to focus care, prevention, and treatment efforts through a collaborative project titled “Removing Obstacles to HIV Prevention for Black Women in Orange County, Florida.” The two-year fellowship will explore how local health stakeholders can ensure that HIV prevention activities align with and are responsive to the sexual health and HIV prevention needs of Black women in our community.

“Given the critical role that Black women play in their families and communities, an HIV diagnosis or poor HIV-related health outcomes can have social and economic effects that reverberate throughout their social networks,” Brown and her colleagues said in a statement. “Our research approach is deliberately community-engaged with an emphasis on bringing together diverse stakeholders to inform efforts to eliminate obstacles to HIV prevention faced by Black women in Orange County, Florida.”

The team will collect data through interviews and concept mapping, including a diverse sample of Black women and representatives of multiple local HIV/AIDS-serving organizations.

Brown serves as coordinator of the Rollins Global Health program and specializes in medical anthropology, patient-provider relationships, health disparities, chronic illness, and self-treatment.

The Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program was founded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, led by the University of Minnesota. It brings researchers, advocates, and community partners together to advance health and equity through collaborative, applied research.

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