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December 01, 2015


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Point Scholars Work to End HIV/AIDS

December 01, 2015

Point Foundation is honored to partner with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to provide internships for qualified scholars. Our scholars work with HIV/AIDS related non-profits in their communities to end HIV/AIDS through education, research, and more. Today, in honor of World AIDS Day, some of our EJAF Interns describe their internships.

Ibrahim Vicks - The Attic Youth Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


IV and supervisor Ibrahim and his supervisor pause for an office selfie!


At my internship, I am conducting needs assessment research for youth who identify as LGBTQ and housing insecure, regarding HIV/AIDS prevention and education services. I believe that working directly with a group of people to solve issues is exponentially more effective than doing it from an office desk, and that is one of the most important aspects to my project. I wanted to know what these youth needed rather than do research and then tell them what they need, and I’m glad that Point and the Elton John AIDS Foundation has given me the platform and support to do this work.


Ishan Asokan - Vanderbilt University Medical Center Comprehensive Care Clinic, Nashville, Tennessee

The Elton John AIDS Foundation supported my work at Vanderbilt University’s Comprehensive Care Clinic. In this 10 week immersive experience, I gained valuable insight into various treatment options, health legislation, and cutting edge advancements being made to improve the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS. What was most valuable, however, was the long-lasting partnerships and friendships I developed with my team and the patients I saw. And though EJAF reminded me that the battle against HIV is far from over, it truly renewed my commitment to leave a positive impact on those I care for as a physician in training.


Sarah Young - Birmingham AIDS Outreach, Birmingham, Alabama


Sarah Young Sarah and other HIV/AIDS activists at an event in Birmingham.


As a part-time EJAF Intern, I had the privilege of working with Birmingham AIDS Outreach (BAO), an AIDS service organization that operates in Birmingham and greater Jefferson County. As a part of BAO's expanding mission, they are providing services to LGBTQ+ youth as an HIV-reduction strategy. As a part of this vision, they are creating a play that illustrates the experiences of LGBTQ youth in Alabama and I had the pleasure of interviewing the youth about their experiences (including developing the interview protocol, transcribing the interviews, and participating in project team meetings). I also gained grant-writing skills (we applied for an innovation grant) and I educated myself on the project plan for the LGBTQ+ health clinic, opening in January (originally set to launch in July).


Isias Guzman - LifeWorks, Los Angeles, California

For my internship, I partnered with LifeWorks to develop a comprehensive and culturally competent safe sex curriculum for LGBTQ youth of color. Many LGBTQ young people of color are financially unstable or homeless, which makes it all the more essential to reduce HIV transmission rates in this vulnerable population. So we designed the curriculum to address HIV/AIDS and stigma, STI’s, safe sex, PrEP/PEP and more. I’m proud that it was included in the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Models of Pride Conference, and will continue to be part of LifeWorks’ programming.



Rachael Smith (C) also worked with the Mount Holyoke Student Global AIDS organization. Rachael Smith (C) also worked with the Mount Holyoke Student Global AIDS organization.


Rachael Smith - UMass Stonewall Center, Amherst, Massachusetts

"During my internship, I worked in collaboration with the UMass Stonewall Center to create an HIV curriculum aimed at college students. While studies show that modern day college students are the most knowledgeable about safer sex practices, they are considered to be the population least likely to put their knowledge into practice. The curriculum I developed helped students find realistic ways to engage in safer sex. "




Michael Haymer - SHIELDS for Families, Los Angeles, California


EJAF Pic 2 Michael (R) at an HIV testing event hosted by SHIELDS.


I am undertaking my EJAF internship at the Exodus program with SHIELDS for Families in Compton, Los Angeles. The Exodus program is the only intensive residential treatment program in the United States that allows mothers in recovery to reside with her entire family thereby avoiding placement in foster homes. My role at the agency focuses on group education about HIV/AIDS, sexual health, and women’s health issues. Furthermore, I am working with local organizations to establish testing services in addition to a coalition addressing HIV/AIDS in Compton. While my work is not done, I will be managing a campaign among clients and community members to increase awareness of World AIDS Day and help others realize that the time to act is now.


Learn more about Point Foundation's internship program at our website!

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