Consumers Committee Minutes, July 20, 2021



Tuesday, July 20, 2021, 1 – 2:40PM

By Zoom Video Conference


Committee Members Present: Lisa Best (Co-chair), Randall Bruce (Co-chair), Asia Betancourt, Maria Diaz, Billy Fields, Lawrence Francis, Yves Gebhardt, Charmaine Graham, Graham Harriman, David Martin (Consumer-at-Large), Michael Rifkin, Leo Ruiz, John Schoepp

Planning Council Member: Donald Powell

DOHMH: Cristina Rodriguez-Hart,David Klotz,Melanie Lawrence,José Colón-Berdecía

Agenda Item #1: Welcome/Introductions

Lisa and Randall opened the meeting, followed by introductions and a moment of silence.  The draft minutes of the June 29, 2021 meeting were approved with no changes.    

Lisa noted that it will be her final meeting as co-chair, as her 2nd Council terms ends.  She stressed the need to improve the process of setting meeting agendas and checking in with the chairs.  Graham stated that the staff will ensure that the process improves going forward.  In response to a question from Lawrence, David K. explained that all Council members are limited to 2 consecutive 3-year terms but can continue to serve as committee members.  Chairs must be Council members and are appointed by the Council co-chairs. 

Agenda Item #2: Public Comment

Michael reported that several Consumers Committee members attended yesterday’s NYS AIDS Institute weekly Statewide Peer Check-in Meeting, which had an excellent presentation on chronic pain.  The meetings continue every Monday and provides an excellent opportunity to connect with consumers from across the state.  

John congratulated Cristina on her joining the Council staff and looks forward to working more closely with her.

Agenda Item #3: 2021 Power of Quality Improvement Conference

Cristina noted the tradition of the Consumers Committee conducting a workshop at the 2021 Ryan White Part A (RWPA) Power of Quality Improvement Conference, to be held virtually in December (exact date TBD).  This conference’s theme is “Building Resilience, Actualizing Equity, and Ending the Epidemic” and will focus on the efforts of RWPA providers and consumers to manage services throughout the COVID crisis by providing continuity of care with resiliency and perseverance.  The conference is calling for abstracts for workshops or presentations that describe activities and projects that demonstrate how we adapted or modified services, promoted health equity, and continued the work of ending the HIV epidemic during the COVID crisis.  The abstracts can be in any of three tracks: 1) Building Resilience (e.g., show adjustments to promote service continuity; describe efforts to support staff, peers, clients, and other stakeholders to be leaders in Ending the Epidemic; address loneliness and social isolation).  2) Actualizing Equity (e.g., promote systemic approaches to health equity and addressing health disparities; address HIV in specific communities such as persons over 50).  3) Ending the Epidemic (e.g., address stigma as a barrier to obtaining services; promote linkage to care and HIV treatment).  An abstract related to the Aging & HIV Service Directive could fit under any of these tracks.

Cristina led the Committee through a discussion of the highlights and challenges of the service directive development process; the new format for the service directive using the Implementation Research Logic Model (IRLM); what might RWPA providers attending the Power of QI Conference should to know about the directive; and how can we make the workshop interactive and engaging?

A summary of the discussion follows:

  • The Directive development process was very interesting and educational and efficient, as it eliminated the need for Needs Assessment Committee involvement.
  • Members were able to contribute as people impacted by the services addressed and which were being overlooked.
  • It was very ambitious to apply the IRLM framework, but was easier to read and follow than last template.
  • It was difficult to wordsmith among a group of people with varying levels of experience crafting a directive. An orientation to service directives and implementation science in the beginning would be helpful.
  • Some determinants may have been missing, and the directive came with parts already filled. There could have been more consumers involved in completing all parts.
  • The implementation strategies and mechanisms in particular were unclear as to what they were while the determinants and outcomes were more understandable.  It was difficult to map out all parts and connect them to each other (like puzzle pieces) i.e., how do they correlate with each other.
  • There is a need for time to talk about the frameworks and goals up front in the beginning of the process before diving into the minutiae.
  • More input from aging PWH who are not part of the Committee is needed, although it can be difficult to recruit them to the meetings.
  • Providers at the conference should learn to be mindful of accelerated aging in PWH patients; not to categorize aging PWH with aging people in general as they have unique needs as do those who were infected perinatally; to build relationships with aging PWH because problems develop over time and they may not tell you; to ask questions and look at patterns of behavior; allow more time with providers to talk to clients to know their aging PWH patients; that services need to be individualized; that aging PWH need self-focus/self-care tools.
  • Tools to engage the conference audience may include: meditation, Zumba or other exercise break; robust Q & A time; asking audience what has upset them and what solutions they suggest; ice breakers; open-ended questions asked of audience; ask what challenges still exist; poll to see if barriers and other components of directive resonate with audience and what’s missing; case study examples like in clinical training.

Cristina, with input from Graham, Melanie and David K., will draft an abstract.  A sub-committee will meet in August to review the draft abstract for forwarding to the full committee in the fall (the abstract must be submitted by October 8th).  The Committee will then work on the structure and content of the workshop.  The following Committee members volunteered to join the sub-committee: Randall, Billy, Charmaine, David M., John, Asia, Leo.

Agenda Item #4: Public Comment Part II/New Business

Asia reported that she is involved in the National Never Use Alone Hotline to help people who use opioids in a time of isolation.

The members and staff thanked Lisa and Maria for their leadership and as Council members.  They were praised for their tireless and trailblazing work, particularly as co-chairs of the Consumers and Tri-Count Steering Committee respectively. Noted were all the time spent travelling from Westchester for meetings to ensure that the voices of consumers, people from Tri-County and women of color were heard at the Council.  Their terms as Council members may be over, but they are always welcome to continue as Consumers Committee members, and they will always be a part of this family. 

Lisa and Maria thanked everyone for their love and support and praised the incredible work of the Committee over the years. 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.