The Patient Navigation for Addiction Treatment and HIV/HCV Treatment and Care (PATH) program will provide HIVHCV testing well as warm handoff referrals to HIV/HCV and substance use disorder treatment and prevention (including PrEP) for Black Men and Transgender women that have sex with men. PATH is a partnership between three Meharry Medical College Clinics. These clinics include: (a) the Meharry Community Wellness Center (MCWC), Meharry’s Ryan White funded HIV clinic and Center of Excellence for Infectious Disease Prevention and Treatment; (b) the Meharry Addiction Clinic (MAC), the college’s harm reduction clinic that offers both a stationary and mobile clinic; and (c) the Elam Mental Health Center (EMHC), which offers inpatient, intensive outpatient and residential care for substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. These three clinics are all part of Meharry Medical College, share an electronic health record, and have shared personnel across clinics making referral seamless. The three clinics in the PATH project have been funded by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) through a pilot project to increase integration of services for people who use drugs (PWUD) in accordance with the state Ending the HIV Epidemic plan, known as Ending the Syndemic of drug use, HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections. This pilot funding has established a strong collaborative foundation for this project linking the three clinics through shared protocols and personnel. The funding for Patient Navigators requested here will build on this strong collaborative network of partner clinics and support community outreach and linkage to care for all three target conditions to be addressed through this cooperative agreement, substance use disorder, HIV and viral hepatitis.
The purpose of this project is to increase substance use disorder, HIV and viral hepatitis prevention and care engagement among African American men and transgender women that have sex with men in Nashville, Tennessee. We will achieve this purpose by meeting the following goals: (a) increasing public awareness of substance use and infectious disease (HIV and viral hepatitis); (b) increasing HIV and viral hepatitis testing; (c) increasing uptake of substance use and mental health disorder treatment; and (d) increasing linkage to prevention and care for HCV and HIV.
The systems-level objective is to expand existing collaborations to improve the target population’s access to services that reduce health disparities that affect Nashville’s minority LGBTQ+ communities. Central to this effort is mobilizing the existing services offered at the MAC, MCWC, and EMHC clinics, to the end of reducing HIV, viral hepatitis, and substance use disorder among Black MSM and transgender people. Of note, Meharry is already in possession of the actual mobile clinic, this funding will provide additional staffing to expand services to the target population. Additionally, we recently established the “Harm Reduction Advisory Council” that meets regularly to improve interagency service coordination, devise mechanisms for identifying and responding to emerging service gaps, identify new organizations to fill such gaps, and provide other enhancements and continuous improvements to the system of care to ensure a smoother transition to a range of services for PWUD.