IHAP TA Center
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Participants highlighted successful strategies and shared challenges related to effective planning body structures and processes, including efforts to:
- Center community both in leadership roles (e.g., community co-chairs) and in decision making processes. With community members leading the groups, health department or other non-community leads can serve as liaisons between the group and their departments, leaving space for community-led decision making. Participants shared how this dynamic fosters a sense of trust in the group. Co-created planning group activities extend an essential feeling of trust and community prioritization in processes and outcomes.
- Create opportunities to learn and engage through active conversation instead of didactic presentations. Several participants stressed that members want to actively participate and understand the HIV prevention and care landscape and that true engagement is not just “checking a box.”
- Establish structures to support retention and recruitment, including formal applications, interview processes, and work plans that document council or committee terms to outline member responsibilities and anticipate membership changes. Formalizing mentorship and training opportunities can also help support and maintain strong community leadership. Additionally, participants shared different approaches to providing stipends.
- Assess ongoing recruitment challenges, specifically related to inequitable engagement opportunities that threaten diverse and representative membership. Participants specifically highlighted barriers related to reaching and recruiting youth and individuals from rural communities.
- Acknowledge how burnout affects member engagement and planning staff capacity. Functioning within an overworked system exhausts all participants and risks consistent engagement and connection, which can negatively affect the group dynamic.
- Continue learning from each other by sharing experiences of what has and has not worked.