Founder & Executive Director
HIV/AIDS Policy, Advocacy, Prevention, and Program Expert
Washington, D.C. & West Virginia
A. Toni Young is the Founder and Executive Director of Community Education Group (CEG), a community-based organization focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, advocacy, and research. Originally founded to provide HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention services for African-American women in the early 1990s, CEG has evolved to advocate for all at-risk communities, including in rural markets. A national leader for HIV/AIDS training and prevention in urban areas, CEG recently expanded their service model in 2014 to rural markets by opening an office in West Virginia, one of the states leading the nation in opioid-related deaths. Drug use and addiction are inseparably linked with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.
The core of CEG’s success was the CHAMPS Model (Community HIV/AIDS Model Prevention Services) which took testing into the field. CHAMPS recruited, trained, and hired the formerly incarcerated, rehabilitated substance users, and HIV positive individuals and made them into health advocates. The CHAMPS employees were best able to find, educate, and test at-risk community members by understanding their experiences and gaining trust. The CHAMPS Model can be applied in any setting - rural, urban, or suburban - elevating and leveraging community members to help solve community problems.
Understanding the shift in need from urban to rural support services, Ms. Young is advocating for national legislation and funding for a Rural Health Service Provider Network
(RHSPN) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide resources to essential providers of nonclinical health, harm reduction, educational, and nutritional services throughout rural America. Less than 20 percent of the U.S. population live in rural areas
; however, rural populations are also spread throughout 97 percent of the country’s land mass. Therefore, reaching rural populations for health and education services is extremely challenging.
She consults with the National Institutes of Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Organization on a regular basis to provide program insight and support for grant funding. Ms. Young also serves as an advisor to The George Washington University District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research and the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services.
She was previously responsible for the National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, sponsored by the Office on Women's Health of the Department of Health and Human Services. She co-chaired HIV/AIDS Prevention Groups in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. She has spoken at and conducted international workshops on HIV/AIDS prevention in Australia, Mexico, and South Africa.
Recent research includes: