Morris Sussex Warren HIV/AIDS Advisory Committee and Regional Early Intervention & Retention Collaborative
Community Dialogue: Share your Voice, Listen to Others
June 23, 2015
The first Community Dialogue drew approximately 30 participants, all of whom are consumers of HIV/AIDS services in Morris County. Consumers are residents of Morris, Sussex or Warren Counties but receive primary medical care, medical case management or other services from Morris County providers of Family Health Center, Hope House, New Jersey AIDS Services and/or Zufall Medical Clinic.
The Community Dialogue was held at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy which was ideal for the program as it afforded a variety of settings, including a lecture-style room with visual and auditory equipment, smaller individual classrooms for breakout sessions and a larger gymnasium for refreshments and to increase client engagement with one another.
The event started with networking time and light refreshments. Consumers then convened in a lecture-style room where Morris County Human Services Coordinator, Shelia Carter, gave welcoming remarks. Robert Fazzini from White’s Pharmacy was thanked for sponsoring the event followed by the introduction of two consumer advocates, Patrick Henry and Lynn Rossi, who presented an introductory remarks about self-advocacy, activism and leadership.
Allison Delcalzo, Chair of the Morris, Sussex, Warren HIV/AIDS Advisory Committee provided a presentation on services that are available in the region to the population. The larger group then separated into three focus groups led by consumer advocates who had been trained prior to the event in small group facilitation. The four breakout sessions were divided into the topics of medical issues, support networks and supportive services and financial and insurance issues.
The breakout sessions lasted approximately 45 minutes and consumers were treated to a lunch at the end of those sessions. After lunch, the larger group reconvened and participated in a lengthy group discussion and question and answer session. Each consumer advocate presented on his/her group’s conversation and brought insights and questions to the larger group and the providers who were present. This afforded a fruitful discussion and enlightened the providers about issues that are relevant to the consumers.
Charla Cousar from the Ryan White Grantee Office in Newark presented on topics such as the purpose of the grantee office and how services are funded. Dwight Peavey from the Newark Eligible Metropolitan Area (EMA) Planning Council presented on involvement opportunities for consumers who are interested in advocacy and leadership. Mr. Henry and Ms. Rossi provided closing remarks.
Survey Results (25 completed)
- 96% of respondents felt that the event was well planned
- 96% of respondents felt that the event was relevant to their needs
- 100% of respondents felt that comfortable to express questions and comments to the group
- 96% of respondents felt that the event was a good use of their time
- 88 % of respondents felt that they learned something new
The Morris, Sussex Warren HIV/AIDS Advisory Committee found that a large percentage of the participants voiced specific concerns over their medical care, demonstrating that the consumers appear to have poor self-advocacy skills. Further, consumers often reported that they did not know about services that were available to them, both medical and supportive, and voiced a desire to have more learning opportunities available to them.
The committee planned and executed a mailing to the consumers who attended the event with a letter thanking them for their participation, the survey results, a tri-fold brochure with Newark EMA-wide provider information and a flyer that lists support groups held in Morris County.
The committee has started a Lunch and Learn Series in which all consumers are invited to learn about a particular topic highlighted in the survey responses on a quarterly basis. Each of the four service providers in Morris County will host one Lunch and Learn starting in September 2015.
- Natural High Skating
- Morris County Disaster Response Crisis Counselor Team
- Juvenile Firesetter Prevention Program
21st Annual Public Mental Health Forum
“Many Faces of Recovery: Creative Expressions”
Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 5:30-8:00pm
Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Haggerty Center
353 East Hanover Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07962
Held by the Mental Health Substance Abuse Advisory Board, mental health consumers, family members, public officials, providers, client and system advocates were invited to participate in this forum, which included:
- A public comment forum of your local human services system
- What is working? What could be improved? – How you can get involved
- Testimonies from individuals who have utilized system resources
- Presentations, Self-Help resources, local connections and information