HIV, AIDS training center at UIC goes national with grant

University of Illinois Chicago. Photo from Facebook

The Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center (MATEC) at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) will expand its services nationwide with the help of a new $3 million grant. 

According to a press release from UIC, the cente already works to bring the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration‘s National HIV Curriculum to medical students and professionals in 10 midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin. It was established in 1988 to provide HIV/AIDS training for medical students and primary care physicians.

“MATEC will build on the lessons learned from a previous project carried out in the past four years when we worked with 16 academic institutions with accredited programs of medicine, nursing and pharmacy in the Midwest,” said Dr. Ricardo Rivero, MATEC’s executive director and a co-principal investigator on the grant. “With this project, we successfully integrated content from the National HIV Curriculum E-Learning Platform into their existing curricula. By doing so, we firmly believe we enhanced the quality of HIV education and training at those institutions.” 

MATEC will use these new funds to introduce the curriculum to academic institutions in the 57 jurisdictions outside the Midwest that have been designated “high priority” by the federal government’s Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative.  

In addition to continuing its work with graduate schools in medicine, nursing and pharmacy, MATEC will use the new funds to target physician residency programs for dentists and family medicine practitioners. 

Kalob Gossett, Corina Wagner and Ricardo Rivero are co-principal investigators of the grant.

“The National HIV Curriculum has a tremendous impact on our students’ ability to provide knowledgeable and compassionate care to people living with HIV,” said Natacha Pierre, UIC clinical assistant professor of population health nursing science at the College of Nursing and co-investigator on the grant. “Increasing the number and quality of health care providers is essential to increasing access to care and ending the HIV epidemic. If we are to meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ goal to end the HIV epidemic by 2030, we need to go national. We are up for the challenge.”  

Photo portrait of Natacha Pierre, clinical assistant professor of population health nursing science at UIC
Natacha Pierre is a co-investigator of the grant.

Rivero said, “By doing so, the project will continue to address students’ and residents’ attitudinal barriers to care for people living with or at risk of acquiring HIV, and we expect that those who have been trained in HIV care through the integrated National HIV Curriculum will be able to identify, address or properly refer their patients with HIV-related needs, particularly for chronic illness interventions that appear as a growing number of people living with HIV age.”