Black Women First Initiative

The Black Women First Initiative supports the design, implementation, and evaluation of bundled evidence–informed interventions for Black women with HIV. These interventions include:

  • Enhanced patient navigation, case management or peer engagement
  • Red Carpet Care experience to address barriers to HIV care
  • Stigma reduction interventions
  • Use of Trauma Informed Care interventions
  • Self-efficacy, health literacy and resiliency interventions
  • Interventions to address Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), sexual violence or other behavioral needs

Benefits of bundled interventions include:

  • Addressing socio-cultural health determinants
  • Expanding delivery and utilization of comprehensive HIV care and treatment services
  • Supporting continuous engagement in care
  • Improving health outcomes for Black women with HIV in a culturally sensitive and responsive manner.

This initiative is supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Minority HIV/AIDS Fund (MHAF) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HIV/AIDS Bureau, Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) program.

Demonstration Sites

The initiative provided funding to the following 12 demonstration sites across the country:

  • TogetHER by Abounding Prosperity, Inc. in Dallas, TX
  • Sisters United by AccessMatters in Philadelphia, PA
  • Black Women’s Health Initiative by AIDS Care Group in Chester, PA
  • Women Evolving by AIDS Foundation of Chicago in Chicago, IL
  • The WHIP Program (Women’s Health Initiative) by AIDS Service Center of Lower Manhattan in New York, NY
  • SHE Program (Sisterhood for Health Equity) by the City of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA
  • B.WOW! (Black Women Organized for Wellness!) by Grady Health System in Atlanta, GA
  • Care and Treatment Services (CATS) NOLA by Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies in New Orleans, LA
  • SISTA BE by Positive Impact Health Centers in Atlanta, GA
  • SIGH (Sisters Inspiring Growth and Healing) by Quality Comprehensive Health Center in Charlotte, NC
  • HERS+ (Health, Empowerment, and Recovery Services plus) by UCSF Women’s HIV Program in San Francisco, CA
  • Stepping Stones by Volunteers of America, SE Louisiana in New Orleans, LA

Evaluation and TA Center

The Evaluation and Technical Assistance Provider, The University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Lowell in partnership with AIDS United, Boston University Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health, and Impact Marketing + Communications, lead a multi-site evaluation, provide technical assistance and disseminate findings and lessons learned from this initiative. 

Contact Information

Project Contacts:

Serena Rajabiun, PhD, MA, MPH
Assistant Professor
University of Massachusetts, Lowell
978-934-3289

HRSA Contacts:

PO Name
Corliss Heath, PhD, MPH, MDiv
PO Title
Health Scientist
PO Phone
301-443-0973

Funding:

Funding Mechanism: Cooperative Agreement

Recipient Organization: University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Grant number: U90HA39727

Project Period: 2020 – 2024