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April 27, 2018 - Recap of the ATN Spring 2018 Meeting

A focus on youth participants was a theme for the Spring ATN meeting, held in Washington, DC at the Dupont Circle Hotel from April 17-19, 2018. The biannual meetings offer opportunities for ATN members to collaborate and learn from each other, as well as hear updates from different projects across the ATN.

The network’s new Executive Committee Chair, Dr. Isa Fernandez, gave an update on the state of the network. An update from the Data and Specimen Hub (DASH) of the Eunice Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development was given by Daniela Smith and Susan Tenney.

The Coordinating Center and the three research program projects, Scale It Up, CARES, and iTech all gave individual updates. Additional updates were given from selected protocols. Those were:

Acute and Recent HIV Infection in Youth, given by Dr. Yvonne Bryson

Get Connected, given by Dr. Jose Bauermeister

TMI, given by Dr. Sylvie Naar

Planning4Prep, given by Dr. Jessica Sales and Dr. Anandi Sheth

Members of the ATN-YEAH
Members of the ATN-YEAH

A Focus on Youth Voices

The Spring meeting was the first time the 12 youth members of the ATN’s new national community advisory board, titled Youth Experts and Advocates for Health, or ATN-YEAH, have met.

ATN-YEAH is made up of young people around the country, ages 18-24. A youth panel with ATN-YEAH members was also part of the general session.

“The group of youth is fantastic,” Dr. Angulique Outlaw said. Dr. Outlaw is the ATN-YEAH liaison and Associate Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

“I love their energy, input, and overall view on things,” Dr. Outlaw said. “This is one of the most diverse community advisory boards I’ve been involved with in a while.” At the Spring meeting, ATN-YEAH members worked on effective verbal and written communication using exercises and peer feedback. They were also able to bond and get to know each other.

“In the ATN we are good at what we do, but it helps to get continuous youth input on our work,” Dr. Outlaw said. ATN-YEAH members are available, as needed, to provided feedback on policy, procedures, proctols, and recruitment, participate in the development of logos and culturally appropriate recruitment materials, and to provide feedback to the ATN on an ongoing basis.

A Message of Collaboration

Photo of Dr. Maureen Goodenow
Dr. Maureen Goodenow

The ATN welcomed Dr. Maureen Goodenow, NIH Associate Director for AIDS Research and Director of the Office of AIDS Research (OAR). Dr. Goodenow discussed research challenges and focused on the importance of collaboration, as well as opportunities for the ATN.

“It is one of those key networks that is a trans-NIH critical network,” Dr. Goodenow said of the ATN. “They really are poised to have an impact on the epidemic on the population where most of the new infections occur. Reducing new infections and getting care in that age demographic is very important, and they are in a pivotal position to have an impact on the epidemic in the US.”

Dr. Goodenow wanted ATN network members to take away one important idea from her presentation: “They are in a place where they can really drive the research through their own network and through other networks,” she said about the ATN. “They can really be on the cutting edge to interface between the adolescent and adult networks, and be the hub of activity that links those networks and brings their experience to those networks.”

Save the Date

The Fall 2018 meeting for the ATN will be held October 17-19. More information will be posted on the ATN website as it becomes available.