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May 28, 2021 - Event Recap and Resources from the 2021 Spring Virtual Meeting

For its third-ever fully virtual meeting, people from the ATN network joined together online on April 28-29, 2021 to share updates and resources for its research efforts for youth HIV prevention and care.

The ATN organizes two meetings each year for information-sharing and peer networking. Traditionally, these are face-to-face gatherings. Beginning with its Spring 2020 meeting, the ATN has held each meeting virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"While we are all keen to get back to in-person ATN gatherings, the virtual spring meeting was a resounding success," Michael Hudgens, PhD, said. Dr. Hudgens is an ATN Principal Investigator and Associate Chair, Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. "Some highlights included the joint ATN-YEAH and Scientific Committee meeting, presentations on the HPTN and IMPAACT co-endorsed studies, and updates and results from several ATN trials." The HPTN co-endorsed study presentation was given by Sybil Hosek, PhD. Aditya Gaur, MD, gave an update on the IMPAACT 2017 co-endorsed study.

Sylvie Naar, PhD, gave a "State of the Network" presentation to all participants on the first day of the meeting, providing an overall update on research dissemination, initiatives and activities (including presentations from ATN at AIDS 2020), and active studies, among other topics. Dr. Naar is the Principal Investigator for the ATN Scale It Up research program, the ATN Executive Committee chair, and Distinguished Endowed Professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine. "It is still hard not being together in person, but I am continually impressed by how this group thrives," Dr. Naar said.

Virtual Meeting FeaturesKeynote Speakers and Topics, "Equity, EHE, and Centering Youth" Harold J. Phillips, MRP, Senior HIV Advisor & Chief Operating Officer, Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative (EHE). "COVID-19 Update" Stephaun E. Wallace, PhD, MS, Director of External Relations, COVPN; Staff Scientist, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Clinical Assistant Professor, Global Health, University of Washington

The virtual format allows for new ways of sharing information while collaborating and networking during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Small breakout sessions, like the roundtables and the virtual poster session, permitted participants to interact in-depth around research in-progress from across the network," Anne Neilan, MD, MPH, said. Dr. Neilan is an Infectious Disease Specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and directs the ATN Modeling Core.

The 2021 Spring meeting included two live keynote addresses, a poster session, and six concurrent roundtable-style breakout sessions. All of these took place virtually in real-time. Presentations from three ATN projects were also part of the full meeting agenda on these topics:

"Participant Engagement - What Do We Learn from Short Text Message Response Patterns?" Wenze Tang, PhD, MPH, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (ATN CARES project)

"Moving Beyond Implementation - Data Sharing and Gathering Techniques in Qualitative Inquiry," Seyram Butame, PhD, MPH, Florida State University (ATN Scale It Up project)

"Initial Findings from the Get Connected Trial," Jose Bauermeister, PhD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania (ATN iTech project)

"This spring's virtual ATN meeting was engaging as we all stay up to date with the research being done within the network and within the context of the COVID-19 epidemic," Andrew Lim, MPH, CPH, CHES, said. Lim is a Human Services Practitioner at the University of South Florida Health and an ATN Research Assistant and iTech Youth Community Advisory Board Coordinator. "I'm always excited to meet with my friends and colleagues in the Network - even when it's through a screen," Lim said.

Keynote Presentations

The ATN welcomed two keynote speakers for the spring meeting, with time for a question-and-answer session at the end of each presentation.

Harold Phillips, MRP, Senior HIV Advisor and Chief Operating Officer of Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) spoke on the first day of the meeting on "Equity, EHE, and Centering Youth."

For more on this topic, view these resources:

America's HIV Epidemic Analysis Dashboard (AHEAD), which has interactive tools to compare the progress of key indicators in EHE jurisdictions, among other resources

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System results and data

HIV National Strategic Plan (2021-2025)

Stephaun E. Wallace, PhD, MS, is the Director of External Relations, COVID-19 Prevention Network (COVPN); Staff Scientist, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; and Clinical Assistant Professor, Global Health, University of Washington. He gave a presentation on day two of the meeting titled "COVID-19 Update." For more on this topic, see this sharable infographic and associated resources from COVPN here.

Virtual Roundtables and Poster Sessions

Meeting attendees had the opportunity to join roundtable discussions and poster sessions just as an in-person meeting might offer, with a focus on facilitating collaboration and engagement while meeting remotely.

Attendees could view any of thirteen scientific posters available online during a set time frame during the full meeting. They could then choose to connect with any poster's designated presenter live via a virtual meeting connection to ask questions.

Six roundtable topics held concurrently using online meeting breakout rooms were available for attendees. Moderators led each discussion while capturing discussion points. At the conclusion of the time for roundtables, all groups reconvened into the full meeting. A moderator presented discussion points to all meeting attendees, with time for a question/answer period at the end of the presentation.

"The highlight of the experience for me was facilitating a roundtable with members of the ATN-YEAH and continuing the conversation of how we can better engage our study participants - and youth as a whole - in our research," Lim said.

The roundtable topics and moderators/presenters were:

"Community Engaged Dissemination." Moderators: Karin Coyle, PhD; Meardith Pooler-Burgess, DrPH

"Linking Mental Health to Sexual Health." Moderators: Kristi Gamarel, PhD, EdM; Tyrel Starks, PhD

"Importance of Disseminating Research Results to Study Participants." Moderators: Andy Lim, MPH, CPH, CHES; Meghana Venkatesh; Kendrick Forte

"State of the Science - Update On Scientific Discoveries for Adolescents in the US." Moderator: Ken Mayer, MD. Presenter of roundtable discussion summary: Sue Ellen Abdalian, MD

"Telemedicine - Challenges and Opportunities of Providing Care in a Virtual Setting." Moderators: Lina Rosengren-Hovee, MD, MPH, MS; David Perez-Auguste; Maurice Williams

"Tailored Motivational Interviewing - From Not Racist to Anti-Racist." Moderators: Sylvie Naar, PhD; Ron Smalls

"So many different people from so many different backgrounds - it is remarkable to watch us all come together and see the amazing work everybody has done under such traumatic conditions," Dr. Naar said. "I am continually inspired."

Save the Date for Fall 2021

The Fall 2021 full meeting will be held October 5-6, 2021. Please save the date.

More about the Meeting

Hear from the people who planned the 2021 Virtual Spring Meeting in this short video (includes text transcript).

See the full meeting agenda.

View presentation content from this meeting on the ATN secure site (log-in required).