The Mississippi Institute of Geographic and Minority Health (MIGMH) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) has been awarded a three-year, $2.1 million grant to operate a regional educational center for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to teach interventions that prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.
Mississippi will be one of four regional Behavioral Intervention Training centers as part of the CDC's National Network of STD/HIV Prevention Training Centers that operate in partnership with health departments and universities across the country. The MIGMH center, which will have some national training responsibilities, will provide training for the southern quadrant of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
"Mississippi has had a tremendously high rate of STDs and HIV. This is an opportunity to have a center with a 12-state responsibility headquartered here that will benefit Mississippi and surrounding states," said Dr. Warren Jones, executive director of MIGMH.
The Mississippi center's program will include evidence-based STD/HIV prevention interventions and training in program support needed to implement and maintain such interventions at the individual, group and community levels. The intended target audience is prevention providers in public, private, and community sectors who are responsible for the implementation or supervision of STD/HIV prevention programs in community, clinic-based, or criminal justice settings. These courses teach skills and strategies to influence changes in behaviors that place people at risk for STD or HIV infection.
Dr. Patricia Frye, director of the Mississippi STD/HIV Training Center, said the Mississippi center is the only new behavioral intervention center in the country. The other three, located in Colorado, New York and California, have been in operation for 10-15 years.
Frye assembled a group of community and university leaders, who have established programs and know what works and what doesn't, to be a part of the center's training team.
"It's truly a team effort. We've brought in people from community-based organizations that have been doing this for 20 years. We would not have been able to compete and win this award without team members who have knowledge and experience of working through the system," Frye said.