ESCALATE Learning Collaboratives

ESCALATE will implement two Learning Collaboratives (LCs) with organizations selected across RWHAP. The first LC will run from fall 2021 to fall 2022 with up to eight organizations seeking to implement stigma- reduction programs. The second will run from winter 2023 to summer 2024 with another sixteen organizations also seeking to implement stigma-reduction programs. LC1 will focus on cultural humility, an overall topic selected during the RFP process and supported by subsequent discussion with NMAC’s community advisory bodies. The overall topic for LC2 will focus on another aspect of HIV stigma to be informed by the interest expressed in the LC2 applications and by lessons learned from LC1.

The LCs will support organizations in addressing HIV stigma at organizational and structural levels to engage staff, clients and those organizations to whom they refer. Ideally, these organizations will either be ready to implement a stigma-reduction program focused on a population of interest or have already begun implementing such a program. LC participation will assist organizations in reaching the next stage of implementation (and/or overcoming barriers to successful implementation) of their program.

Application Process and Criteria

Apply for an ESCALATE Learning Collaborative

PDF of ESCALATE TA/LC Application

PDF of ESCALATE Learning Collaborative FAQs

The Technical Assistance Program and Learning Collaboratives will share a joint application process. Stigma Reduction Teams within organizations may submit one application into one or both of the organization-level activities (TA and/or LC). Stigma Reduction Teams will represent diverse organizational levels, roles, and experience across organizations.

  • Shared criteria across TA and LCs:
    • Demonstrated understanding of HIV stigma.
    • Description of HIV stigma challenges in organization and community.
    • Commitment to implementing stigma-reduction strategies into organizational activities, policies, practices, and behaviors.
    • Organization-level buy-in as evidenced by CEO letter of support, including:
      • Commitment from leadership to allow identified staff to participate in TA/LC.
    • Identification of a change management sponsor/stigma champion to provide the visible leadership needed to drive a program forward, create a vision for change, and lend credibility to the change project.
    • Identification of a team with a designated responsibility for addressing stigma with:
      • training;
      • leadership support;
      • representation from members of the population of interest (or a means to receive input from that population).
    • Resources, including:
      • dedicated time for developing/implementing stigma-reduction program (to be defined by the organizations);
      • dedicated time for participating in the TA and LCs;
      • dedicated space/time to meet;
      • dedicated time/funds for training others at the organization;
      • dedicated funds for communications and media (as necessary, if the stigma-reduction program requires communication with the public/clients);
      • resources to participate in virtual learning (computer, smart phone, reliable internet access).
  • Criteria for LCs:
    • Identification of need for stigma reduction with a given population.
    • Existing anti-stigma policies.
    • Commitment from the stigma “champion” and Stigma Reduction Team to disseminate lessons learned with staff at their own organizations and with others via digital storytelling.
    • An implementation plan for a stigma-reduction program.
    • An evaluation plan for measuring current and ongoing perceptions of stigma at their organization.

Structure: Learning Sessions and Action Periods

Learning sessions are 5 hour-long interactive sessions facilitated via online video conferencing that offer an opportunity for LC members to interact with and learn from each other and subject matter experts. Each of the four Learning Sessions will focus on Learn, Share, and Compare components:

  • The one-hour Learn components will include facilitated discussions, didactic and interactive presentations by SMEs intended to build LC members’ knowledge about stigma reduction.
  • Share components (typically two hours in length) will provide an opportunity for LC members to:
    • Introduce their programs (via 15 minute presentations for each of eight organizations during Leaning Session 1);
    • Share their experience applying a PDSA cycle during the last Action Period (via 30 minute presentations in two breakout groups with four organizations each during Learning Sessions 2 and 3), including describing planned actions taken, studied and revised, as well as opportunities to request input from other LC members.
  • During one-hour Compare components, the LC team will review PDSA cycles overall and compare metrics shared by the organizations and aggregated across LC members.

Action Periods are 3-4 month periods between the Learning Sessions, during which LC members are expected to develop and implement their stigma-reduction activities. They will be supported by two regular check-ins with their LC Liaisons (who will discuss progress and help organizations problem-solve and find resources), Affinity Group Webinars and an LC Newsletter that shares resources and overall LC progress via reporting on PDSA cycles, between each Learning Session.