1. How did you get started working in the HIV/AIDS community?
I was trained as a MD in Perú and during my last year of clinical training I got involved in several AIDS cases in ER and during hospitalization. After finishing medical school and receiving my credentials, I worked as director of services for a CBO in Perú and was in charge of epidemiologic surveillance for the HIV STD National Program at the Peruvian Ministry of Health. After receiving my MPH at UCLA I continue working in the field first in Research and Evaluation at AIDS Project Los Angeles, and then in 2004 I was assigned to develop the new Capacity Building Assistance Program.
2. Tell us about your position at Shared Action & Shared Action HD.
I am the Associate Director of Education-CBA programs, and in charge of leading the capacity building efforts of Share Action and Shared Action HD.
3. What is your vision for CBA?
In the future, any stakeholder in the HIV/AIDS community (prevention providers, care providers, clinicians, leaders, community members, etc.) will have full access to capacity building services that are appropriate for their needs to continue preventing new HIV infections. These capacity building assistance services and resources would be readily available to any request as well as built into health departments and organizations with appropriate infrastructure.
4. Tell us about a particular experience or case youve worked on that stood out to you. What made it stand out?
Shared Action was conceived from its beginnings (as Acción Mutua in Spanish) as an evolving, fluid, strength-based, and reflexive program. These programs are continuously evolving because the learning experiences we all go through. One particular case come to my mind: A small CBO, important for the community where it is located, requested services to improve their evaluation capacity for their prevention program. The initial action plan was to conduct a training follow by technical assistance to improve their evaluation plan and activities. APLA provided its “Program Evaluation” training first. This was followed by a session in providing technical assistance (TA). During the latter, we observed that the participants did not retain any of the basic knowledge we provided, regardless how well they did in the pre and post-test. The team brainstormed about this case and came to the conclusion that no matter how standard and proven a training or strategy is, some individuals may need different methods to build their capacity. APLA re-designed the action plan, and this time we provided a clinic/coaching session in which we actively work with them in developing the evaluation plan as well as tools and at the same time reviewing the most important evaluation concepts. After these coaching sessions, the program staff were successful in improving their evaluation capacity which was acknowledged by the funding agency. Capacity building is a (never ending) process of growing that is dynamic and sometimes may require an intense interactive workshop or just sharing a piece of information that was missing. We learned long time ago that we need to get to know our clients/consumers, understand where they are, tailor our services to make appropriate, and walk with them whenever is necessary.