WRI 2015

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The Women's Research Initiative on HIV/AIDS (WRI) is dedicated to elevating, enhancing, and expediting research on women and HIV. At the 2015 meeting, the WRI embarked on a novel five-year visioning process (using a proprietary methodology called Syntegration) to identify the major policy needs and research challenges that must be addressed and overcome in order to significantly reduce the rate of new HIV infections and disease progression among women in the United States by 2020. The meeting was a highly facilitated working session that utilized a series of exercises, breakout sessions, and brainstorming techniques to develop a strategy to achieve specific targets over the next five years.

As in past meetings, WRI 2015 brought together national HIV/AIDS thought leaders from diverse backgrounds, including clinical care, research, academia, advocacy, the government, the pharmaceutical industry and women living with HIV. This expert think tank operationalizes the transdisciplinary approach advocated by the WRI. By addressing issues that affect women through a variety of lenses, the WRI is able to expand understanding of effective treatment and prevention for women and girls living with or at risk for HIV.

Meeting objectives

  • Bring together a diverse group of experts on women and HIV/AIDS to collectively focus on the HIV epidemic in the United States and identify strategic overlap between their respective domains
  • Determine and agree upon realistic and measurable targets for this initiative
  • Produce an actionable, multi-stakeholder agenda and implementation roadmap aimed at addressing a select set of critical issues confronting the HIV community
  • Recruit a network of experts across HIV who will champion the agenda and continue to collaborate on its execution

The overarching goal of the meeting was to develop a plan to significantly reduce the rate of new HIV infections and disease progression among women in the United States between now and 2020. The group also identified a number of sub-goals:

  • Establish a new research paradigm that prioritizes the inclusion of qualitative data on women
  • Ensure that the healthcare system delivers comprehensive, affordable, accessible, and gender-responsive care for all women, including transwomen
  • Provide all healthcare practitioners with the tools they need to comprehensively engage in HIV prevention and treatment
  • Identify mechanisms to measure quality-of-life issues for people living with HIV; develop metrics to drive accountability
  • Elevate imperative to address stigma and normalization, including decriminalization

After three days of workshops and exercises led by a company called the Syntegrity Group, the WRI identified the necessary components of a five-year plan. WRI leadership will work over the coming months to identify partners and champions to research, develop, implement, or scale these goals and activities over the next 16 months. 

2015 WRI meeting participants

Erika Aaron, (WRI member)
Drexel University College of Medicine
Adaora Adimora
UNC School of Medicine
Sevgi Aral
Centers for Disease Control
Judith Auerbach* (WRI member)
University of California, SF
Dawn Averitt (WRI member)
The Well Project
Gina Brown (WRI member)
NIH-OAR
Gina Brown (WRI member)
PWN-USA
Kimberly Brown
Janssen
Dawn Carey
Dartmouth College
Jenna Conley (WRI member)
The Well Project
Elizabeth Connick, MD* (WRI member)
University of Colorado Denver
Jeffrey Scott Crowley
O'Neill Institute/Georgetown Law
Antigone Dempsey
HRSA/HIV/AIDS Bureau
Dazon Dixon Diallo (WRI member)
SisterLove, Inc.
Lisa Fitzpatrick (WRI member)
United Medical Center
Krista Heitzman Martel (WRI member)
The Well Project
Sally Hodder
West Virginia University
Elizabeth Johnson
Christie's Place
Naina Khanna (WRI member)

Positive Women's Network - USA
Marisol Martinez-Tristani
AbbVie
Tonia Poteat* (WRI member)
Johns Hopkins University
Maura Riordan (WRI member)
AIDS United
Linda H. Scruggs (WRI member)
Ribbon Consulting Group
Daniel Seekins
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Kathleen Squires (WRI member)
Thomas Jefferson University
Patrick Sullivan
Emory University
Vani Vannappagari
ViiV Healthcare Limited
Fulvia Veronese (WRI member)
NIAID, DAIDS
Shannon Weber
Bay Area Perinatal AIDS Center
Andrea Weddle
HIV Medicine Association
Charles Wira (WRI member)
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Carmen Zorrilla
UPR School of Medicine

*2015 Executive Committee member

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