Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing will join with public health officials and nursing educators in Thailand to help thwart a potential resurgence of HIV/AIDS among that nation's underserved communities.
A $125,000 gift from an anonymous School of Nursing supporter will launch a unique HIV/AIDS educational alliance between the school's Center for Health Disparities Research, the Thai Ministry of Public Health and Thailand's seven nursing universities. OHSU's expertise in addressing health disparities will help Thailand's public health nurses expand their capacity to initiate community-based interventions among populations most at risk for an increase in HIV/AIDS incidence. The program marks the first time Thai institutions have partnered in such a comprehensive manner to address a public health priority.
As the lead organization in this alliance, OHSU will work to help Thai nurses and public health professionals implement rapid assessment, response and evaluation strategies for HIV/AIDS cases, as well as provide an ongoing framework of education, training and technical assistance. The donation will help fund start-up activities such as developing a curriculum, training the alliance's 14-member nursing faculty, and implementing the assessment strategies in targeted communities.
Participation in this program has been a major goal of the Center for Health Disparities Research since its inception two years ago, said Center Co-Director Nancy Glass, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N. "This program is an important first step that holds tremendous promise for improved access to health care in many resource-poor nations. It also underscores the critical importance of private philanthropy in achieving great things at OHSU."
Despite international recognition for Thailand's achievements in fighting HIV/AIDS, the Thai Ministry of Public Health reports an immediate threat of a resurgence of HIV/AIDS among groups that current interventions do not reach. Thailand, along with the World Health Organization, recognizes the critical role nurses play in addressing HIV/AIDS because of their uniquely close and continuous contact with families and communities. Therefore, the nation has been seeking innovative approaches to better leverage the expertise of nurses in the effort to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV/AIDS.
"Thailand offers the ideal environment for this program," said Glass. "It has a rich diversity of social environments and possesses institutional resources and structures that exceed those of most developing nations. Furthermore, it combines access to some of the world's most vulnerable and resource-poor communities with an institutional framework that ensures public health initiatives will be implemented and completed."
The mission of the Center Health Disparities Research at OHSU is to use sustainable community-academic research collaborations to create new knowledge and enhance our understanding of strategies to eliminate health disparities.
The OHSU Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that exists to secure private philanthropic support for Oregon Health & Science University. The foundation raises funds from individuals, companies, foundations and organizations, and invests and manages gifts in accordance with donors' wishes.