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PCOM's Stigma Reduction Team Attends Innovative HIV Escalate Training in Detroit

Uniting Communities: Tackling HIV Stigma Through Collaboration and Empowerment


From August 13 to August 19, a dedicated team from the Pride Center of Maryland, led by Ursula Franklin and including esteemed members Jerome Scott, Stacy Williams, Tramour Wilson, and community advocate Willis Parker, participated in the Target HIV Escalate (Ending Stigma through Collaboration and Lifting All to Empower) training event in Detroit, MI. The event assembled teams from community-based organizations across the United States, all of which provide services similar to those offered by the Pride Center of Maryland, such as our Testing Center, Harm Reduction, and Case Management Services. At the core of the Escalate initiative is its mission to eradicate stigma through collaborative efforts, leading to empowerment for all. This innovative training created an environment for team building and a new perspective for enhancing client experiences.


The intensive training explored vital topics like stigma within healthcare, social constructs, and racial dynamics. The team delved into the concept of cultural humility, fostering deep discussions around privilege and intersectionality. Engaging with peers who excel in providing services in line with our mission was a gratifying experience. The shared challenges of nonprofit organizations highlighted the pervasive nature of implicit bias, leading to constructive conversations on how to address it in clinical settings, among our team members, and within our communities. The training emphasized empowering both community members and workers within stigma reduction teams to recognize and counteract unconscious biases. Moreover, strategies for facilitating challenging dialogues were thoroughly discussed.

Reflecting on the experience, Stacy Williams said, "On a scale of 1 to 10, I would definitely rate this training a 10."

This transformative week was enriched with networking opportunities, laying the groundwork for potential partnerships. The insights gained are invaluable as we work to integrate them into our practices and daily interactions. As providers, prioritizing the welfare of our stigma reduction team is crucial. The training reinforced the importance of maintaining our mental health first aid, ensuring we offer the best possible care to those we serve.


Reflecting on the experience, Stacy Williams said, "On a scale of 1 to 10, I would definitely rate this training a 10. If you're contemplating whether your organization should attend, I recommend you explore their website. Training sessions are hosted in various cities throughout the year."

The Escalate training is coming to Baltimore November 13 - 17, and we hope you're able to join in on this important work.


For further information about the Escalate initiative and its upcoming training sessions, please visit the following:


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