Ryan White newsletter fall 2020

ryan white

September 24, 2020

In this issue

Positively Hennepin welcomes Brenda Senyana


We are pleased to announce that Brenda Senyana has joined Hennepin County’s Ryan White Program as implementation coordinator for Positively Hennepin, Hennepin County’s strategy to end the HIV epidemic.

Brenda is a passionate public health professional who has spent over a decade championing health programs locally and internationally. Brenda holds a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University and Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Most recently, Brenda worked as a strategic information specialist at ICAP at Columbia University, providing technical assistance to HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Caribbean. She oversaw the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation frameworks, plans, and indicators to assess project performance and impact.

Brenda also worked at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as a project manager within the Bureau of Immunization. There, she spearheaded the vaccine management improvement program at health facilities enrolled in the New York City Vaccine for Children’s program.

A native of Hennepin County, Brenda is excited to be bringing her skills and expertise back to her hometown and looks forward to working on Positively Hennepin.

In the coming months, Brenda will reach out to many of you as she continues our work implementing the actions and tactics of Positively Hennepin. For more information about Positively Hennepin, including our 2019 annual report, please visit: http://www.hennepin.us/positivelyhennepin

Ryan White launches cultural responsiveness training

The Ryan White Program is committed to addressing disparities among those with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota, and an integral piece of this effort is understanding the importance of delivering services that are culturally responsive.

Cultural responsiveness is defined by the Office of Minority Health, in their National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care (CLAS Standards), as “having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors and needs presented by consumers and their communities.”

Ryan White providers are expected to follow cultural responsiveness standards, which are outlined in the universal standards. These standards were developed and approved by the Minnesota Council for HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention in 2018.

In order to have a consistent understanding of cultural responsiveness systemwide, Thuan Tran and Jeremy Stadelman began offering trainings for providers in July of this year. The purpose of these trainings are to:

  1. review the Ryan White Program’s cultural responsiveness standards
  2. discuss why cultural responsiveness is important in the delivery of services and how it can be measured using data
  3. provide an open forum for Ryan White providers to contribute feedback into the effective operationalization of the cultural standards, which are aimed at improving health equity for people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota

Cultural responsiveness is dynamic and ever-changing, so our intention is to provide an ongoing forum for providers to learn more about our theory of cultural responsiveness and to share best practices in delivering culturally responsive services.

The next cultural responsiveness training will be offered on September 29, from 10 a.m. to noon.

To RSVP for this session, please email Jeremy at jeremy.stadelman@hennepin.us.

Please stay tuned for future opportunities to contribute to this important conversation!

Ryan White completes priority setting and resource allocation

The Minnesota Council for HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention completed its biennial priority setting and resource allocation in August 2020.

  • Priority setting is the process of deciding which HIV/AIDS services are the most important in providing a comprehensive system of care for all people with HIV in the TGA and state of Minnesota.
  • Resource allocation is the process of deciding how much Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part A and Part B funding to provide for each prioritized service priority.

In Minnesota, the council is the decision-maker for service priorities and allocations for Part A and provides recommendations for Part B. Additional information on the council’s process for resource allocation is available on the council’s website here.

The council’s prioritization rankings for fiscal years 2021 and 2022 

ranking 1ranking 2


Part A allocations for fiscal year 2021*

MCHACP ranking 3

*FY 2021 allocations assume flat funding and a waiver of the core medical services expenditure requirement

Update on 2020 HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Needs Assessment Survey

It has been a long and winding road to advance the 2020 HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Needs Assessment (NA2020) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey instrument was developed in a year-long collaborative partnership between Hennepin County Public Health (HCPH), the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Minnesota Council for HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention.

When the instrument was completed, the government partners were tasked to conduct data collection with the Council to provide guidance, feedback, and community insight. DHS provided funding for HCPH to hire a team of three public health graduate students (Ann Bensen, Audra Gaikowski, Miranda Kunz) to collect data statewide.

NA2020 data is being collected via phone interviews

In-person data collection was scheduled to begin in March 2020. As the pandemic began, a temporary pause was placed on the project. HCPH presented three options to the Needs Assessment and Evaluation Committee of the Council, as the sponsoring community body of this work. The data collection could continue with a to-be-determined data collection methodology, be temporarily paused until physical distancing measures were lifted, or be postponed until 2021.

The committee wanted data collection to continue. The HCPH NA2020 went to work evaluating options, then worked with DHS to identify the final choice to advance the project: phone interviews conducted by the HCPH NA2020 team.

Given the sensitivity of the data being collected, Ryan White providers make the initial contact with potential survey participants. Their established relationship with these people with HIV made them a better first contact than a member of the HCPH NA2020 team. If the person with HIV consents to be interviewed, the Ryan White provider would send their contact information to the HCPH NA2020 team to schedule an interview.

On June 24, 2020, the first phone interview of the 2020 HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Needs Assessment (NA2020) was completed.

As of September 7, 2020, 167 phone interviews have been conducted with statewide participants.

NA2020 phone interviews are conducted in multiple languages, target people of color and American Indians

Phone interviews take approximately 20-45 minutes in English and Spanish. The NA2020 project has benefited from a Spanish speaker on the team who has completed seven phone interviews in Spanish, with more scheduled soon. Beyond Spanish, the NA2020 team has found phone interviews to be the most linguistically responsive mode of data collection. It would be cost prohibitive to translate the online survey into languages other than English, so the team has leveraged the Hennepin County Language Line to conduct phone interviews in six African and Asian languages (Amharic, Karen, Oromo, Somali, Swahili, Tigrigna).

Online data collection has been unhindered due to the pandemic, but it has struggled to reach people of color and American Indians. Approximately 40% (135/330) of online survey respondents are people of color or American Indians, while more than 80% (140/167) of phone interview participants are people of color or American Indians.

The biggest success has been in recruiting Black or African American (not African-born) people with HIV, where 60 phone interviews and 62 online surveys have been conducted. This sample size allows meaningful data analyses for this population. Conversely, 194 of the 221 responses from white, non-Hispanics have been through online. Again, this demonstrates that phone interviews are a valuable tool in recruiting racial/ethnic minorities to ensure all populations are represented in the needs assessment data.

In the closing weeks of data collection, the team is prioritizing Black (African-born), Hispanic, and American Indian participants to ensure all racial/ethnic groups are represented in the data.

Data collection will continue through October 31, 2020

If you are want more information, email us: NA2020@hennepin.us or call our dedicated phone number: 612-596-8656.

About us

The Ryan White newsletter is issued semiannually and provides information about HIV services planning, contract administration, quality managment, CAREWare updates and training opportunities. Your feedback and suggestions for future issues are appreciated.

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