Tuesday Morning HIV Discussion Series: South Central AETC collaborates with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

In February 2016 Elyse Malanowski, MLS, became the Education Coordinator for Parkland Health and Hospital System/North Texas for the South Central AETC (SCAETC). The SCAETC along with the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) Medical Center co-host a weekly informational session for clinicians and medical staff called the Tuesday Morning HIV Discussion Series (“Series”). These sessions are meant to educate participants about all aspects of HIV care and include a wide array of speakers. We asked Elyse to tell us about her role coordinating these activities, and the impact they have on SCAETC program training objectives.

When did the Series begin?

The Series is an Infectious Disease (ID) Fellowship Program at the UTSW and SCAETC collaboration.  A Tuesday morning lecture series for the ID fellows has been part of the UTSW curriculum for decades.  Over time more and more non-fellow staff including nurses, case managers and social workers, started attending the lectures and a partnership between the two programs developed into the current Tuesday Morning HIV Discussion Series. Collaboration with the SCAETC and UTSW started on September 1, 2015, along with the new grant cycle. 

How do you find speakers?

Since the current Series grew out of required lectures for the UTSW ID Fellowship Program, the speakers were primarily faculty at UTSW. Recruitment efforts beyond this were rare and usually occurred when UTSW did not have a suitable faculty member for a topic or when a decision was made to bring in a renowned topic expert.  However, now as more non-affiliated people attend the sessions, speakers are being sought from outside UTSW faculty. UTSW and SCAETC staff follow up with those expressing interest in the Series, in search of new speakers to participate.

How do you choose topics?

Topics are determined mainly by the requirements of the ID Fellowship Program, since education of the fellows is the primary reason for the Series.  Their curriculum includes all aspects of HIV care from testing, diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation of opportunistic infections and complications of therapy.  The Series calendar is synched with the academic year and runs from July 1st to June 30th.  Traditionally, fall term presentations begin with HIV pathogenesis and cover other related topics such as HIV testing, and treatment of different populations of patients.  This allows for scheduling of topics based on the interests of the audience, local speakers, and other factors during the spring term.

What makes the Series successful?

The Series began as a course strictly for Fellows, but more non-Fellow staff – including medical students, began attending the lectures and showing interest in the material.  Currently, the list of presenters includes pain service providers from the hospital who are invited to speak on opioid use, and licensed professional counselors from mental health facilities.  Only a few of the presenters are ID specialists. UTSW responded to the increased interest by looking into ways to make the lectures ongoing, and SCAETC was the perfect partner. As a result, the Series has been seen as very successful.

What has been the impact of these sessions?

Clinicians of all experience levels, some with little or no ID training, have been attracted to the Series. Usually this type of interest opens up possibilities for preceptorships for healthcare professionals who are beginning to care for people living with HIV. Currently, I’ve been working to facilitate training for various health professionals through the expertise and volunteer efforts of expert HIV providers in the North Texas area. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the U.S.: Updated to 2020 targets at least 25% fewer new HIV diagnoses and at least 80% of persons diagnosed with HIV infection virally suppressed by 2020. With more providers engaged and trained to diagnose, treat and manage HIV infection, we are closer to the national goals. The preceptorship process has engaged various providers that have become interested in learning more so that they are able to provide HIV care services and education in their non-HIV specialized clinical sites.

Helping to prepare ID Fellows for their ID board exams is another important outcome of the Series. Providers are learning from each other through the vast array of lectures, and by being exposed to different areas of expertise within the HIV-related field.

What, if any, resources or materials have been developed as a result of the Series?

Since the same topics are repeated on a yearly basis, often by the same presenters, the UTSW and SCAETC staff and faculty are continuously updating presentation materials. In the past, participation by speakers outside of the Parkland system has resulted in opportunities for collaboration with other agencies in both Dallas and North Texas, and materials created for those presentations, including slide sets and handouts, are available on the SCAETC section of the AETC National Coordinating Resource Center website. Providing access to these materials extends the reach of those unable to participate.

If you would like more information about the Series, please visit the South Central AETC website at www.aidseducation.org.

 

SCAETC

 UTSW

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