DC Health will leverage its partnerships across jurisdictions with consumer and stakeholder groups and community providers, as well as organizations in government, academia, research, and education, to implement the updated plan to end the HIV epidemic. Within the District’s government, DC Health collaborates with the Department of Health Care Finance (administrator of the DC Medicaid program), the Department of Behavioral Health (mental health and substance use services), the Department of Employment Services (workforce development), the Department of Housing and Community Development (housing development), the DC Housing Authority (housing assistance), the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (commercial health insurance plans), Office of Disability Services (vocational rehabilitation), DC Public Schools (local education agency), DC Department of Corrections (re-entry services), and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (board of education and education standards).
DC Health also maintains relationships with DC public charter schools (individual local education agencies) through STD screening, peer educators, and condom distribution. DC Health has strong partnerships with more than 40 health and community-based organizations in the District and the metropolitan area. The community partners comprise federally qualified health centers, medical providers, hospitals, nonclinical community organizations including care and/or prevention services, focus population-based community organizations serving marginalized populations, behavioral health (mental health/substance use) providers, housing assistance providers, and other programs. DC Health also has partners that are not funded by the health department but receive resources, including HIV test kits, STD testing, and condoms. Those partners number approximately 300.
DC Health has a robust collaboration with the Maryland Department of Health and Virginia Department of Health, known as the DMV Collaborative. The collaboration consists of a data-sharing agreement for surveillance data, regular meetings to plan and coordinate service delivery and resource allocation, integrated planning efforts (e.g., the three jurisdictions co-developed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program needs assessment to be conducted across the region), and joint participation in projects. DC Health has engaged with the other health departments in considering a regional strategy to end the epidemic. DC Health is the current Ryan White program Part A recipient and administers the program for the eligible metropolitan area (EMA). The EMA includes suburban Maryland counties, Northern Virginia, the District, and two counties in West Virginia.
The Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative includes a focus on the counties of Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland, both within the Washington, DC EMA. DC Health funds both county health departments under Part A and partners with them on EMA planning. DC Health administers the HRSA-20-078 Ending the HIV Epidemic funding opportunity in partnership with Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. DC and the two counties collaborated on a cohesive program approach comprising increasing the network of providers with non-Ryan White clinical and nonclinical agencies and improving and coordinating Data to Care activities.
DC Health is an integrated HIV, hepatitis, STD, and TB program, which includes the health department-operated DC Health and Wellness Center (formerly known as the STD Clinic). The DC Health and Wellness Center has been a model in integrating HIV prevention and treatment models, such as same-day PrEP initiation and rapid ART.
Since 2006, DC Health has maintained an academic partnership with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University on epidemiology and health policy. This partnership has enabled multiple research opportunities by team members from both the health department and the university. The partnership also contributed to the development of the DC Center for AIDS Research, a unique multi-institutional model housed at the School of Public Health. DC Health joined as a member and institutional representative in 2017.
DC Health also is a member of the DC Cohort, a longitudinal study of HIV treatment provided in the District. The DC Cohort consists of 13 major HIV providers and more than 7,000 people who consented to being part of the study. DC Health matches surveillance data with the DC Cohort to enhance its compilation of electronic medical record data. DC Health maintains working partnerships with an extensive network of community providers, including hospitals, medical practices, federally quality health centers, and nonclinical community-based organizations. The more than 40 partners provide rich cultural diversity and a full range of HIV-related services across the metropolitan area.
For over 10 years, DC Health has engaged with the faith-based community through its Places of Worship Advisory Board (POWAB). POWAB provides a vibrant forum for strategies to incorporate HIV-related messages and services in the faith community. The members serve as a vital sounding board for DC Health program initiatives.
In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a grant to DC for a PS15-1509 demonstration project for men who have sex with men of color. DC Health formed the IMPACT DMV Coalition of community members and providers from the metropolitan area to serve, inform, guide, and provide feedback on the project. The IMPACT DMV Coalition remains very active and will be a helpful forum for input particularly on the gay/bisexual/same gender loving men communities and transgender communities of color.
DC Health formed a Youth Advisory Board to develop a new campaign for young people called Sex Is… The youth members represent diverse adolescents. DC Health also funds the DC Peer Education Network, which supports about 300 young people as peer educators in District schools. Both will provide an effective access to youth input into the planning process.
DC Health works closely with the DC Department of Corrections (specifically, the post-release program called the READY Center) and the Re-entry Action Network to assist with the pre- and post-planning for high-risk negative and HIV-positive residents released from the Central Detention Facility (DC Jail). DC Health and the Department of Corrections have developed an initiative to embed a clinical care coordinator at the READY Center to provide early intervention services to returning citizens.