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Take the Rural Health Service Providers Network Survey

Please fill out the survey using the embedded form, below. If your device does not display the form, please click on the button to be redirected to a website version.

National Rural Health Service Providers COVID-19 Resources Survey

National Rural Health Service Providers COVID-19 Resources Survey

Help us understand the resource needs of RHSPs

Cardea, Community Education Group, and TruEvolution are partnering to learn how COVID-19 is impacting Rural Health Services Providers (RHSPs) so they can better facilitate conversations with policymakers and advocate to expand access to resources to support client care.

RHSPs are a vital component of American public health infrastructure that often serve as entry points into care for populations that may not otherwise engage in health or social services. RHSPs provide healthcare-related services in rural counties, as designated by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), or rural census tracts in urban counties. RHSP is a broadly defined term, and they can be:
  • Public or private
  • Non-profit or for-profit organizations and corporations
  • Faith-based or community-based
  • Located in rural, suburban, or urban areas
Despite the critical services they provide, they do not meet any existing federal designations designations set forth by the HRSA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and/or any other federal entity.

Do you operate an RHSP? Please consider participating in this 10-minute, voluntary, and confidential survey to share your experiences. Findings from this survey will be summarized in a brief report and will inform planning and policy conversations. This survey will close on September 7, 2020.

This survey will ask whether your organization has received several different types of resources to support COVID-19 response. The CARES Act created a couple of different pools of funds that health care providers might be able to access. For example, the CARES act Provider Relief Fund enables CMS to distribute federal funds to health providers in response to COVID-19. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which has received wide media coverage, was also established by the CARES Act and provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. PPP funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Several state and local governments as well as community foundations have also provided funding to service providers to respond to COVID-19.

If you would like to participate in this survey, please click the ‘Next’ button below.

People Worth Knowing – Dr. Alan Greenberg

This week’s #PeopleWorthKnowing interview features Dr. Alan E. Greenberg, Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at George Washington University, and Director at the District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR).

Alan E. Greenberg is Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Professor of Medicine and of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Professor Greenberg, a graduate of GW’s School of Medicine, returned to the University after a 23-year hiatus to become Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in August 2005. Deeply committed to cross-cutting partnerships that advance public health, he has developed numerous interdisciplinary initiatives among academic, community and government partners in Washington DC. Currently, Dr. Greenberg is:

  • Director of the NIH-supported District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR)
  • Principal Investigator of Public Health Partnerships between GW and the District of Columbia Department of Health and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
  • Senior Co-Investigator of the NIH-supported DC Cohort and the GW HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) Clinical Research Site (CRS)
  • Secretariat for the NIH-DC DOH Partnership for AIDS Progress (PFAP)

Prior to joining the GWSPH, Dr. Greenberg served as a USPHS Commissioned Corps Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1985-2005, where he provided scientific leadership for domestic and international HIV epidemiologic research. He served as the director of CDC’s HIV research station in Cote d’Ivoire from 1993-1997, and Chief of the HIV Epidemiology Branch from 1998-2005. He was the recipient of the American Public Health Hero Award from Research America! in 2008, the Alvan R. Feinstein Award for Clinical Epidemiology from the American College of Physicians in 2015, and the Sizanani Award from Global Camps Africa in 2018.

You can visit DC CFAR’s website by clicking on the logo, below, and links to their various social media pages will be listed below.

Color Matters: Incarceration – Beyond These Walls

The second Color Matters webinar – Incarceration – Beyond These Walls – will premiere on August 19th, 2020, at 6:00 PM Eastern.

This conversation will be moderated by Nikole Parker (Director of Special Projects, Equality Florida).

She will be joined by Navon Stephens (Trans Community Voice), Angela Hunt (Educator, Heart and Hands), and Omega Chuckii (Founder, Tranz of Anarchii, Inc.).

About the Guests

Project Director
TransAction Florida
Equality Florida

Nikole Parker is the TransAction Florida Project Coordinator, assisting with Equality Florida’s statewide Transgender Inclusion Initiative. She also currently works for the onePULSE Foundation as the Stakeholder & Community Relations Manager.

Nikole has sat on various non-profit boards within the community, including the LGBT+ Center Board of Directors, the Orlando United Assistance Center Advisory Board, TransAction Advisory Council, Spektrum Health Board of Directors and Peer Support Space Board of Directors.

In addition to her work with the onePULSE Foundation, Nikole co-leads the work of the Orlando Trans Collective, a collaborative group of transgender and gender non-conforming leaders of color who focus on community building and advocacy efforts for the Central Florida transgender community.

In 2018, Nikole was honored with the Humanitarian of the Year award by the Miss Glamorous Pageant. Nikole was also was recognized as one of Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2018 for her work with the onePULSE Foundation and her ongoing advocacy and empowerment of the transgender community.

In 2019, Nikole was recognized by Congressman Darren Soto for LGBT+ Pride Month and her biography was read into the Congressional Record. She hopes to encourage open dialogue on transgender issues and educate individuals from the community on healthy and safe ways to undergo a transition, finding self-care practices and providing resources so black market hormones and unsafe lifestyles can be avoided.


My name is Tai’Rance S Kelly Sr. B.K.A Omega Chuckii a native of “Chilanta” which is a cross of Chicago & Atlanta. I’m an educator, father, trainer, facilitator, empowerer activist, advocate & creator of my own organization, Tranz of Anarchii, Inc.

The goal is to detoxify the overall spectrum of MASCULINITY within both the trans and cis-gendered communities by healing, empowering, and bringing awareness to related issues; such as behavioral, mental, physical, parental, sexual, spiritual, and financial health. Tranz of Anarchii Inc. is also here to educate the African American community about rehabilitation and to protect our society by providing community residential services to residents prior to and after their discharge from incarceration. The primary goals are to develop self-discipline and promote skills required for continued rehabilitation, transitional initiatives, and positive re-entry into the community.


Angela Hunt is a public speaker and educator on wellness and health for the trans community. She brings experience in managing customer service teams, volunteer recruitment, and event coordination.

Angela volunteers as a peer mentor to transgender women in Orlando, FL, connecting them to services and providing social and emotional support as well as inspiration.

She served on the executive host committee for the 2018 U.S. Conference on AIDS and co-organized and co-chaired the Trans Lounge for the conference.

As a survivor of the foster care system, Angela went through a transformative journey to discover and reconnect with her own identity. She is known for being an excellent listener and is passionate about self love and wellness for transgender people, especially those living with HIV.

As a Black transgender woman diagnosed with HIV herself in 2011, Angela wants others to know that anything is possible once you accept and love yourself completely for who you are.


Image of the state outline of West Virginia superimposed over floating virus cells with the words "Coronavirus in West Virginia"

Community Education Group to Distribute COVID-19 Relief Packages

Image of the state outline of West Virginia superimposed over floating virus cells with the words "Coronavirus in West Virginia"

#CEGInWV is in the process of preparing #COVID19 Relief Packages for distribution to West Virginia residents across the state.

These packages will be backpacks containing face masks, hand sanitizer, personal hygiene supplies, educational materials on COVID-19, #HIV, and #ViralHepatitis testing, a localized resource guide (relative to the distribution points), and a gift card for purchasing food.

In just two weeks, we have secured an unprecedented 18 distribution partners for our COVID-19 Relief Packages.

We had initially planned on distributing only 500 packages, but ultimately received requests for 1,535.

As such, we have ordered a second round of supplies to put together a second round of distribution.

Round One will begin sometime in mid- to late-September, depending upon how quickly supplies arrive to put together the packages.

You can find a list of our distribution partners, below, as well as links to their respective websites.

Photo of an outline of the state of West Virginia made out of white powder, presumably heroin or cocaine, and a rolled up straw for snorting it

Community Education Group Launches West Virginia Opioid Treatment Survey

Photo of an outline of the state of West Virginia made out of white powder, presumably heroin or cocaine, and a rolled up straw for snorting it

CEG has launched a statewide survey for providers and People Who Use/Inject Drugs (PWUD/PWID, respectively) focusing on West Virginia’s 2007 legislative moratorium on opening any new Opioid Treatment Programs in the state.

In 2007, the West Virginia state legislature enacted a legislative moratorium (§16-5Y-12) on the opening of new Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP), halting in place the number of programs that prescribe and dispense Methadone for use in Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) to treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

This moratorium limited the number of OTPs in the state to only 9 sites, statewide, who can legally provide MAT services using Methadone. It also prevents these facilities from opening secondary satellite locations, essentially locking in place where people can seek inpatient or outpatient MAT services using Methadone.

Since the passage of (§16-5Y-12), West Virginia’s opioid addiction crisis has raged out of control, leaving with the highest rate of Drug Overdose Deaths, the highest rate of new Hepatitis A infections, the highest rate of new Hepatitis B infections, and the second-highest rate of new Hepatitis C infections in the United States in 2018. In addition, Injection Drug Use (IDU) of both opioids, and stimulants accounted for 91 (62.3%) of the 146 new HIV infections in West Virginia in 2019.

The survey will gauge awareness of West Virginia’s 2007 Moratorium on the expansion of existing or opening of new Opioid Treatment Programs, as well as attitudes related to West Virginia’s Opioid Addiction Crisis. There are also sections related to Substance Use Disorder (SUD), SUD/OUD Treatment Provision, and the provision of other services that are inextricably linked to West Virginia’s opioid addiction crisis.

This survey takes between 5-30 minutes to complete, depending on how many questions pertain to the person taking this survey. Not every person surveyed will be required to answer every question.

To participate in our survey, either fill out the form, embedded below, or click on the button. Please note: the form scrolls within the page.

People Worth Knowing – Dr. Stephen Lee

Dr. Stephen Lee
Executive Director
National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors

This week’s #PeopleWorthKnowing interview features Dr. Stephen Lee, Executive Director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD).

Stephen oversees all NASTAD programs – Health Care Access, Prevention, Hepatitis, Drug User Health, Health Equity, Policy & Legislative Affairs, and Health Systems Integration – as well as NASTAD’s overall operations. Stephen has deep expertise in program and organizational management, and his experience as a physician brings a practical perspective with regard to policy and program implementation.

Prior to joining NASTAD, Stephen was a global HIV expert for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, where for 13 years he managed the development and implementation of programs that provided prevention, care, and treatment services to individuals affected by HIV.

He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Baylor University, a degree in medicine from Emory University School of Medicine, an MBA from Heriot Watt University, and a post graduate diploma in health systems management from the University of London, School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

You can learn more about NASTAD by visiting clicking on their logo to visit their website and/or following them on social media.

Photo of the state of West Virginia outline with counties shaded red where confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been identified. Counties without diagnoses are colored in grey.

So, I’ve Been Thinking…Defending Science

I’ve been thinking about science versus politics, especially since clashes between the White House and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, are in the news so much these days.

It’s important that we defend science. After all, whether we are trying to solve COVID-19, HIV, Substance Use Disorder, or even racial and class inequality, it’s science that will undergird successful strategies. But we also have to defend science because science is how we explore, understand, and unpack what we believe to be true. It’s right there in the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” The United States was born as a hypothesis: Everybody deserves equal rights, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—and here’s how we give it to them.

How do you test a hypothesis? Perform an experiment. George Washington called the new American government a “great experiment.” And this country is an experiment in many ways. The whole history of the United States has been our ongoing attempt, as a people, to “form a more perfect Union.” To figure it out. To get it right.

The experiment has revealed some important truths. Like you can’t have equality and liberty and democracy if you take away land from Native people, enslave Black people, deny a voice to women and poor people. And when you finally stop doing those things? You can’t just pretend they never happened and magically have a system that will be fair and equitable for everybody. Not after generations of restricting, for instance, where Black people could live, go to school, and work, making it nearly impossible for many to emerge from poverty, purchase homes, or pass along wealth.

You can see people out there right now, absorbing that data. Look at the diversity in age, race, and class among people who are in support of Black Lives Matter. More people than ever before now understand that systems in this country are biased, and need reform. Not just the police and the criminal justice system, but most of our systems and institutions. That’s why we’re in the midst of social unrest, leading to social realignment. Because people are paying attention. They are looking at the data. They are seeing Black people getting profiled, stopped, arrested, beaten, shot, imprisoned, and executed at disproportionate rates compared with other people. They are recognizing the bias within systems and institutions, spoken or unspoken, and they’re saying, “Okay, it’s not working. Let’s try things a different way.”

Some people feel threatened by calls for change. They believe trying things a different way means admitting the experiment was a failure. What they don’t understand is: America is not the product of an experiment. America is the experiment. And that experiment is still playing itself out. It is still going on, every day. That’s how science works. If the data proves your hypothesis wrong, you admit

that you still haven’t found the best way to guarantee people equal rights—and then you keep experimenting until you figure it out. Until you get it right.

Calling for change is not rejecting America. Rejecting science is rejecting America. Because America is science. That’s why it’s so bizarre and inappropriate when people criticize Dr. Fauci for changing his positions over time. That’s what a good scientist does! Hypothesis: Here’s how we protect people from COVID-19. Then you look at the data and adjust the hypothesis as the experiment reveals the truth.

Here’re some more data: You can’t stop a pandemic like COVID-19 if you’re only worrying about yourself—if only half the people in the country are practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. You have to think about family members, neighbors, strangers. You might think everything’s fine because you’re asymptomatic, but science tells us that wearing a mask and social distancing is how you work on behalf of the greater good, your country, the world. Science tells us to take care of each other.

Politics does the opposite. Modern politics is all about dividing people up into Us and Them, and no need to care about Them. In politics, no truths are self-evident and the only important data is whatever confirms what we want to believe. But simply insisting “Everything’s fine” about COVID works no better than simply insisting everything’s fine about race, justice, and equality. The data says otherwise.

So what I’ve been thinking about is how America is the greatest scientific experiment in history. Being loyal to that experiment means asking: Did things go the way we expected? If not, what did we learn and how can we apply that information to making things better?

America is science. We can’t let politics get in the way of that. That’s why I support Dr. Anthony Fauci. All Americans should.

Harpers Ferry Train Tunnel

When an Epidemic Meets a Pandemic: Effects of COVID-19 on the Opioid Epidemic

Amanda G. S. Morgan
HIV Free WV Coordinator
Community Education Group

By: Amanda G. S. Morgan

The opioid epidemic has become a large part of the lives of most Appalachians. If we haven’t been affected directly by it, then we know someone who has been.

But now, with COVID-19, the opioid epidemic is poised to become an even bigger issue.

Supply chains have broken down, largely due to quarantines and border closings (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime [UNODC], 2020, p. 1-6). While most would think that addicts would just be forced into withdrawal from such an event, it has only changed how opioid addicts get their “fix”. Heroin shortages have been noted across the world, so other drugs may be used as replacements or additives. Fentanyl is commonly added to heroin to increase its potency, but with the shortages of heroin, fentanyl is a likely replacement (Kaur, 2020; UNODC, 2020, p.4). This, alone, could lead to overdoses.

Many people currently receiving treatment for substance use disorders have experienced significant changes to many of their support networks. While many patients who are compliant with their medication-assisted treatment therapies have been granted the ability to get increased days supplies of their prescription medications (Roy, 2020a; Roy 2020b), regularly scheduled face-to-face follow up appointments have largely been transitioned to telemedicine or online appointments. Support groups that were previously only accessible by meeting in-person have been forced to switch to online meetings (Kaur, 2020; National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA], 2020). Zoloft, an anti-depressant that is sometimes used as an adjunct therapy for substance use disorder treatment, has become a part of the FDA’s drug shortages list since the start of the coronavirus pandemic (Berger, 2020).

These changes could lead to many people who are currently receiving treatment for various substance use disorders to turn to illicit substances again, especially if their access to their normal treatments is limited. The effects of this could range significantly, including recurring relapses, overdoses (including death), disease transmission, and more.

Many affected by opioid misuse are already in less-than-stable situations: homelessness, job loss, and stigma affect many people who suffer from substance use disorders.

Since many assistance programs are closed for services during the pandemic, drug users who participated in needle exchange programs may not have access to sterile needles. This may likely lead to an increase in bloodborne diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis C (Kaur 2020).

Even without the increased risk for relapse, people who have used high dose opioids are at higher risk from COVID-19 simply from the negative effects that long-term high-dose opioid use can have on the lungs and heart. Opioid use also has the inherent risk of respiratory depression, as well, so a respiratory disease, such as the respiratory effects of COVID-19, could cause low to no oxygenation of the brain. The effects could range from brain damage to death (NIDA, 2020).

Many cities across the United States have reported overdose rates that may be increasing as the coronavirus lockdowns continue. Many harm reduction services, such as needle exchange and naloxone distribution programs, have had to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic (Kaur, 2020).

Not enough data is available yet to conclude if the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting shutdowns have or will cause an increase in opioid overdoses. But we do know that many people may not have access to their support networks. They may not have access to many of the programs that are available to help mitigate risks, such as bloodborne pathogens from needle sharing or group therapy and support sessions. They may not have access to the substances they normally abuse and have turned to other illicit substances that may be more potent or otherwise less safe (Kaur, 2020).

During these times, if you know someone who suffers from substance use disorder, it is crucial to check on them. Social contact certainly will help them feel less isolated, even if it is just a phone call or a video chat. Checking in on them could also help, especially if they live alone. If someone who lives alone overdoses, they won’t be able to administer life-saving naloxone to themselves if they overdose (NIDA, 2020; Roy, 2020b).

While the coronavirus pandemic is certainly quite troubling in and of itself, the fallout from it could certainly have far-reaching effects. Some of our already vulnerable populations, including those suffering from opioid use disorder, could see even more effects than many people realize. Because someone prone to opioid abuse does not have access to their support systems, normal treatments, or drug of choice, they may become desperate and resort to other means to get their fix.

If you or a loved one need help in locating resources to help with opioid addiction, please contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

References

Berger, M. (2020, June 4). Shortages of Antidepressant Zoloft Reported in the Midst of COVID-19. New York, NY: Healthline: Health News. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/shortages-of-antidepressant-zoloft-reported-in-the-midst-of-covid-19-pandemic

Kaur, H. (2020, May 7). The opioid epidemic was already a national crisis. Covid-19 could be making things worse. Atlanta, GA: CNN: Health. https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/07/health/opioid-epidemic-covid19-pandemic-trnd/index.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, June 29). COVID-19 Resources. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse: Drug Topics: Comorbidity. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/comorbidity/covid-19-resources

Roy, L. (2020, April 21). Treating Substance Use Disorders in the Era of COVID-19. New York, NY: Psychology Today: Substance Use, Stigma, and Society. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/substance-use-stigma-and-society/202004/treating-substance-use-disorders-in-the-era-covid-19

Roy, L. (2020, May 28). Collision Of Crises: How Covid-19 Will Propel Drug Overdose From Bad To Worse. Jersey City, NJ: Forbes: Healthcare. https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2020/05/23/collision-of-crises-how-covid-19-will-propel-drug-overdose-from-bad-to-worse/

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2020, May 7). COVID-19 and the Drug Supply Chain: From Production and Trafficking to Use. Vienna, Austria: United Nations: Office on Drugs and Crime. Retrieved July 6, 2020 from: https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/covid/Covid-19-and-drug-supply-chain-Mai2020.pdf.

Disclaimer: Blog posts on CEG’s Community Perspectives blog do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community Education Group, its grantors, its corporate sponsors, or its organizational partners, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby each author serves to promote open, honest discussion about issues specific to their personal expertise, lived experience, and perspective. Please note that some of the content on Community Perspectives may be graphic due to the nature of the issues being addressed by the author.

Color Matters: Law Enforcement Interactions

Flyer
Color Matters: Law Enforcement Interactions

The first Color Matters webinar – Law Enforcement Interactions – will premiere on July 22, 2020, at 6:00 PM Eastern.

The first conversation will be moderated by Nikole Parker (Director of Special Projects, Equality Florida).

She will be joined by Captain James Young (Deputy Chief, Orlando Police Department), Aryah Lester (Deputy Director, Transgender Strategy Center), Ty Williams (Project Coordinator, Community Education Group), and Chanel Haley (Gender Policy Manager, Georgia Equality, Inc.).

Those interested may register for the first webinar may do so by visiting the event registration page.

About the Guests

Project Director
TransAction Florida
Equality Florida

Nikole Parker is the TransAction Florida Project Coordinator, assisting with Equality Florida’s statewide Transgender Inclusion Initiative. She also currently works for the onePULSE Foundation as the Stakeholder & Community Relations Manager.

Nikole has sat on various non-profit boards within the community, including the LGBT+ Center Board of Directors, the Orlando United Assistance Center Advisory Board, TransAction Advisory Council, Spektrum Health Board of Directors and Peer Support Space Board of Directors.

In addition to her work with the onePULSE Foundation, Nikole co-leads the work of the Orlando Trans Collective, a collaborative group of transgender and gender non-conforming leaders of color who focus on community building and advocacy efforts for the Central Florida transgender community.

In 2018, Nikole was honored with the Humanitarian of the Year award by the Miss Glamorous Pageant. Nikole was also was recognized as one of Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2018 for her work with the onePULSE Foundation and her ongoing advocacy and empowerment of the transgender community.

In 2019, Nikole was recognized by Congressman Darren Soto for LGBT+ Pride Month and her biography was read into the Congressional Record. She hopes to encourage open dialogue on transgender issues and educate individuals from the community on healthy and safe ways to undergo a transition, finding self-care practices and providing resources so black market hormones and unsafe lifestyles can be avoided.


Deputy Chief James Young
Orlando Police Department

James “Jim” Young has been working in law enforcement for 30 years. He Grew up in northern Ohio, and upon completing High School, he entered the U.S. Air Force at age 17. He worked in the Security Police field and served tours within the U.S., Central America and the Middle East. He was honorably discharged in 1990. He joined the City of Pinellas Park Police Department in 1990 where he served in patrol, criminal investigations, undercover drug unit, gang unit, SWAT and as special assignment in Chief’s staff. Jim Young earned Officer of the Year in 1996 while completing his Bachelor’s Degree in criminology at St. Leo University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He left (PPPD) at the end of 1996 to continue a full-time education in law. He was also named St. Leo’s Citizen of the Year in 1995 for his work with non-profits and within minority and underserved neighborhoods, always trying to help others.

He returned to law enforcement in 1997 by joining the Orlando Police Department. In his first several years he worked in various sections of patrol, FTO, ASL, special operations and crime prevention. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2010, and has served as a patrol supervisor, Mounted Patrol Supervisor and Media Relations Supervisor. He also served on the FDLE Training/Standards Commission for recruit curriculum and state testing. In 2014, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He served as a patrol watch commander, Special Patrol Section Commander, Traffic Enforcement Section Commander and Staff Director for the Chief of Police. He also served as the awards committee chair. In 2018, he was promoted to Captain. He served as the East Patrol Division Commander, and the Community Relations Division Commander. He also served as the agency’s alternate Labor Advisor and the co-chair for the Strategic Planning Committee.

Jim has received many department awards and recognitions over the years, including serval commendations and a lifesaving award.
He served in every position in various ranks on the Crisis/Hostage Negotiation Team, from Negotiator, Team Leader, Deputy Team Commander and Team Commander over an 18+ years on CNT.

Young also served as the departments lead LGBT Liaison from 2014-2017, helping to launch the Safe Place Program. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Harvey Milk Foundation for his many years work to help ensure equality for everyone.

Jim Young is an instructor in several fields of expertise. He has instructed here at OPD and other local agencies, in addition to Nationally and Internationally. He continues to work closely with the US Department of Justice Community Resource Section on national law enforcement training programs in Diversity and Inclusion. In addition, he assists the International Dignitary Visitor programs through the US State Department.

He also served as his neighborhood association vice president for more than 15 years. Jim often volunteers with many community organizations and has served on many bards. Jim is married to his husband Chaz Butler, and they have 2 dogs. The continue to live within the City Limits, and Jim has done so since working for OPD.


Aryah Lester
Deputy Director
Transgender Strategy Center

Aryah Lester, nationally awarded author, as well as a speaker and educator, is a black woman of transgender experience from New York living in Washington DC. Ms. Lester was the last-standing 2-term Chair for the State of Florida Health Department’s Transgender Work Group, former Chair-Elect of the Miami-Dade HIV/AIDS Partnership, and is an Advisory Board member of Unity Coalition (UC|CU).

Ms. Lester is a board member of Equality Florida’s TransAction Florida committee, and helped to create the TransArt series with the Betsy Hotel, the LGBT Visitors Center, and UC|CU. She also sat as a member on the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) Transgender Networking Group. Ms. Lester is also Board Chair of STARR, the nation’s first transgender organization initially founded by Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, and Advisory Board Member for Gilead Sciences, The Well Project, and ViiV Healthcare.

Aryah Lester founded the organization Trans-Miami during her time as a expert consult member of the Miami Enhanced Comprehensive HIV Prevention Plan for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and 12-Cities Project, as well as continued the work of her organization, the National Alliance of Transgender Advocates and Leaders (NATAL). She contracts with universities as a guest lecturer, and is a consultant with government agencies such as the Department of Justice and Homeland Security. Ms. Lester has been recognized with many awards, featured in numerous national articles, and recently was inducted into the national Trans100 list.

She currently works as Deputy Director of the Transgender Strategy Center.


Photo of Ty Williams, Project Coordinator for the Community Education Group
Ty Williams
Project Coordinator
Community Education Group

Ty Williams has been with CEG since March 2020, and serves as our Project Coordinator for our People Worth Knowing video series, and will be spearheading CEG’s forthcoming Trans Health series.

Ty recently serve as the Host and Moderator for CEG’s first ever YouTube Live event, Learning Our Roots: A Journey Through Transmasculinity, on Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 at 6:00 PM Eastern.

In addition to his work at CEG, Ty also serves as the Director of Operations at FLUX and on the Leadership Council at Black Transmen, Inc., and is also a brother of the Alpha Omega Kappa Incorporated fraternity, a fraternity for Transmasculine and Transmen.

Ty’s first blog post – Trans People Are Black People, Too – debuted, in June 2020, over at CEG’s Community Perspectives blog, where he will be regularly featured as one of our bloggers.

Ty is a Trans rights activist, motivational speaker, advocacy educator, organizer, chef, and violist.


Chanel Haley
Gender Policy Manager
Georgia Equality, Inc.

Chanel Haley started volunteering with various non-profit organizations trying to advance the rights for the LGBT community in 2005.

In 2008 Chanel took a crash course in political campaign training. That training was immediately used in helping to elect the nation’s first African-American OUT lesbian elected to a general assembly, Simone Bell. Chanel became the weekend volunteer coordinator for that campaign, and later office manager and volunteer coordinator for future campaigns. Later, during 2010-2014 the Senior Legislative Aide to Georgia State Representative Simone Bell.

Chanel became the first African-American Transgender person hired by the Georgia House of Representatives assigned to four Republicans and three Democrats. In 2014, Chanel Haley was appointed to the City of Atlanta Human Relations Commission by Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. Later to be elected Chairperson in 2016-2018. Making her the first Trans-person to chair any City of Atlanta constituted board. The Human Relations Commission is the governing board for Atlanta’s nondiscrimination ordinance. Her position with the commission gave Chanel the authority with facilitating Trans* Humility Training at all the homeless shelters within Atlanta city limits. And is co-author of the S.L.E.E.P. training manual for the City of Atlanta. Chanel is currently on the City Of Atlanta’s HOPWA Advisory Committee and is a certified Out & Equal Workplace Advocate Trainer. As well as the secretary of Georgia’s State Advisory Board to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. 2017-2018 Fulton County Democrat Post Seat Holder At-Large. She is a 2018 Delegate to the State Democrat Convention[i]. In 2017, Chanel Haley became the first Trans-person to be listed in Real Times Media “Who’s Who in Black Atlanta” 17th edition. Chanel is a 2018 graduate of the City of Atlanta Citizens Police Academy conducted by the Atlanta Police Department.

As the Gender Policy Manager for Equality Foundation of Georgia, Chanel leads efforts that ensure nondiscrimination legislation and policies in the broad areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, law enforcement, safe schools, access to health care, education and voter registration access is inclusive of transgender and gender variant individuals and communities. She helps to build relationships with businesses and corporate environments that may have little or no LGBT background and experiences throughout the state of Georgia. And works with Elected Official’s and policymakers locally and statewide. At request, Chanel Haley does speaking engagements all over the state and nation. With appearances at 11 universities on 16 campuses, including Yale University. Chanel facilitates “Trans* 101 “Humility” Trainings by request custom for any type of organization. In 2018 Chanel designed a 1 year Leadership Academy cohort of Transmen and Transwomen. Where they learned: to effectively communicate about the transgender community, acquire confidence in public speaking, coalition building, civic engagement, policy fundamentals, gain a proficient understanding of government and how to communicate with elected officials. At the end of the 1 year class, the 14 participants are now able to apply their newly acquired skills to any career field. A new cohort started in 2019.


To register for this event, please click on the registration button and be sure to join us on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 @ 6:00 PM for Color Matters: Law Enforcement Interactions

Where Do We Go: Race, Class, COVID, and More Webinar

Event flyer for the webinar, Where Do We Go - Race, Class, COVID, and More with images of Host & Moderator, A. Toni Young, and panelists, Linda Villarosa, Steven W. Thrasher, PhD, Alphonso David, Dr. Carl W. Dieffenbach, & Dr. David Campt.
Flyer Design: Meelah Marketing, LLC

Join Community Education Group’s A. Toni Young, as she hosts distinguished panelists in a discussion about race, class, COVID-19, and more in CEG’s second webinar of the summer, Where Do We Go.

Join us on Thursday, July 23rd, 2020, @ 3:00 PM Eastern for a phenomenal conversation including some of the greatest minds in racial equity in public health.

Meet the Panelists

Linda Villarosa is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, covering race, health and inequality and a former executive editor at Essence Magazine. Her 2018 Times Magazine cover story on infant and maternal mortality in black mothers and babies was nominated for a National Magazine Award.

Last year she contributed to the ground breaking 1619 Project. Her essay examined physiological myths, based on race, that have endured since slavery. Most recently, her April cover story examined race, health disparities and covid-19 through the lens of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club of New Orleans. Linda teaches journalism at the City College of New York and is writing the book Under the Skin: Race, Inequality and the Health of a Nation, which will be published by Doubleday in 2021.

Steven W. Thrasher, PhD, holds the inaugural Daniel H. Renberg Chair at Northwestern University, the first journalism professorship in the world endowed to focus on LGBTQ people. He is also a professor of journalism in Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism His writing has been widely published in the New York Times, Guardian, Village Voice, BuzzFeed, Esquire, Slate, Souls, the Journal of American History and in ten book anthologies. Named Journalist of the Year by the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists’ Association in 2012 and one of the most influential LGBTQ people of the year by Out magazine in 2019 , Dr. Thrasher holds a BFA in filmmaking and a PhD in American Studies from New York University. His research on race, H.I.V./AIDS and the criminalization of sickness has been awarded grants from the Alfred P. Sloan, Gannett and Ford Foundations. He is currently writing his book, The Viral Underclass: How Racism, Ableism and Capitalism Plague Humans on the Margins, for the Celadon Books imprint of Macmillan Publishing.

Alphonso David
President
Human Rights Campaign

Alphonso David is President of the Human Rights Campaign. Alphonso is an accomplished and nationally recognized LGBTQ civil rights lawyer and advocate. He’s the first civil rights lawyer, the first Black man and first person of color to serve as president of HRC in the organization’s 40-year history.

He has been at the forefront of the movement for LGBTQ equality for more than a decade at the national and state level, serving and as Counsel to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, as New York Deputy Secretary and Counsel for Civil Rights, and as a staff attorney at the Lambda Legal.

LGBTQ Organizations Unite to Combat Racial ViolenceSign-On Letter

Dr. David Campt

With more than 25 years of professional experience, Dr. David Campt (@thedialogueguy) is considered a national expert in the areas of inclusion and equity, cultural competence, and intergroup dialogue.

His insights about the keys to more inclusive and effective institutions and communities have been sought by small executive boards of fewer than a dozen to large-scale summits involving thousands of people. His clients have varied widely, and have included the US military, The White House, large corporations, international organizations, foundations, governments, universities, national associations, and non-profit groups.

David is the author of a number of books including The Little Book of Dialogue for Difficult Subject (2007) and Read the Room for Real: How A Simple Technology Creates Better Meetings. (2015). In early 2016, he created a project called the Ally Conversation Toolkit (ACT), which has engaged thousands of people in person and on line. Under this initiative, David has written three books – White Ally Toolkit Workbook, a supplement for the workbook called the Discussion Group Leaders Guide, and the Compassionate Warrior Boot Camp for White Allies. David’s work on dismantling racism has been featured by a number of prominent media outlets, such as Think Progress and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

White Ally Toolket – https://www.whiteallytoolkit.com/

A Man for the Times: David Campt, top race relations expert, sees progress – Rockingham Now

Dr. Carl W. Dieffenbach
Director
Division of AIDS
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease
National Institutes of Health

Dr. Carl Dieffenbach is the Director of DAIDS at the NIAID. DAIDS supports a global research portfolio to advance biological knowledge of HIV/AIDS, its related co-infections, and co-morbidities. With the goal of ending AIDS, the Division fosters research to: 1) reduce HIV incidence through the development of effective vaccine and biomedical prevention strategies; 2) improve therapy and cure HIV infection; 3) treat and/or prevent the co-infections with the highest disease burden and 4) foster partnerships to implement effective interventions at scale.

Since February 2020, I have worked tirelessly to bring effective prevention and treatment strategies in the clinical evaluation for COVID-19. These include direct acting antivirals, preventive vaccines and monoclonal antibodies directed against the SARS-CoV-2 to prevent and treat COVID.

The search for an HIV vaccine, the journey continuesJournal of the International AIDS Society

Event flyer for the webinar, Where Do We Go - Race, Class, COVID, and More with images of Host & Moderator, A. Toni Young, and panelists, Linda Villarosa, Steven W. Thrasher, PhD, Alphonso David, Dr. Carl W. Dieffenbach, & Dr. David Campt.

CEG is a national organization that offers local programs and policy solutions.

We serving diverse populations, prioritizing indigenous populations and populations in need

CEG’s work includes Direct Service programs, Policy work, and Capacity Building