Consumers Committee Minutes, November 16, 2021



Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 3:00PM – 5:00PM

By Zoom Video Conference


Committee Members Present: Charmaine Graham (Co-chair), Leo Ruiz (Co-chair), David Martin (Consumer-at-Large), Billy Fields, Lawrence Francis, Michael Rifkin, John Schoepp, Asia Betancourt, Atif Abdul-Haqq, Steven Wilcox, Paul Carr, Rob Walker, Randall Bruce, Ralph Henderson, Ruby Garner, Marcelo Maia

DOHMH: Cristina Rodriguez-Hart,David Klotz,Melanie Lawrence,Graham Harriman

Other Individuals: none

Agenda Item #1: Welcome/Introductions

Leo and Charmaine did the introductions. The committee approved the 10/17 minutes with one correction by David.  

Agenda Item #2: Public Comment

Paul said that if a client gets Ryan White Part A (RWPA) services somewhere and they need to get another type of RWPA service, they have to do another intake assessment and these intakes are very lengthy. They seem unnecessary and burdensome on both providers and clients. The other issue is that some agencies that provide food and nutrition services are not doing indoor dining services and this is a problem because communal dining reduces isolation. Melanie responded that reducing the data burden is part of the Framing Directive, and that we can’t trust our IT to deal with data security in a way that protects privacy. Graham said that an earlier plan to reduce data burden was denied by DOHMH upper leadership, so we need to do some advocacy around this.

Billy pointed out that grocery store prices have gone up and we need to look into it. Paul said food stamp amounts have gone up and are going up again soon so they may be enough to cover costs.

Marcelo announced that the ACT UP housing group has restarted and everyone is invited to attend on Wednesdays 3-5 pm on zoom, facebook group:

Agenda Item #3: Power of QI Workshop Update

Cristina gave an update on the slide set being developed for the conference. The next subcommittee meeting is 11/23 and then 12/7. Conference slides are due to the organizers by 11/30. The conference is virtual and on December 14, 2021.

Presently, the slide set has several sections: rationale for why the aging directive was created and its process, introduction to implementation science and the logic model, overview of components of the aging directive, role plays, conclusion. Role plays will be modified at the next subcommittee meeting to make the connections with the directive clear. Each role play needs to be connected to at least 1 implementation strategy in the directive so that we can share how the directive is going to solve that problem presented by the role play. Best way to give feedback is to open the powerpoint slides, make edits, and then email the presentation slides back to Cristina.

Agenda Item #4: CC Business

Consumer-at-large election

Cristina facilitated the consumer-at-large election. Nominations were only received prior to the meeting for David Martin. Rob nominated Billy, but Billy declined saying that he is happy remaining chair of Rules and Membership Committee. We carried out a poll within zoom, but then David Klotz clarified that since there is only 1 nominee, he wins by acclamation. Several people congratulated David Martin and David gave an acceptance speech, saying he has an open door policy if any consumers want to speak with him.

CC Buddy System

Leo introduced the topic of the CC buddy system and he and Rob spoke to the value of their informal buddying up in previous years. Billy also encouraged consumers to ask questions and talked about the value of connecting with each other. In describing the commitment, Leo gave an example of if your buddy wasn’t at a meeting you might check in with them and see how they’re doing and fill them in on what they missed. Lawrence asked that new members be recognized for the commitment they have recently made and so the name of each new member was called out. David also spoke in favor for the buddy system so that we can check on each other, communicate outside of meetings to clarify the meaning of something. Everyone will be assigned a buddy unless they let Cristina know that they would like to opt out. Buddies will be randomly assigned by Jose unless you email Cristina by Friday 11/19 that you have a preference for someone to buddy up with. Rob indicated that he would like to opt out.

Member Buttons

Charmaine introduced the idea of having member buttons for PC members to represent the council when doing outreach. There was a discussion about whether it is a good idea. Lawrence pointed out that many organizations have moved away from visible signs of HIV. There was discussion of HIV stigma and how having “HIV” on the button may either lead to assumptions that the person wearing the button has HIV or it could be a sign to come talk to them about HIV. Charmaine agreed that a red ribbon rather than having “HIV” on the button would be good. Graham suggested that the buttons not have DOHMH or health department on the button, which Randall agreed with and suggested it say Planning Council with a red ribbon. Ruby suggested “My Voice” with a red ribbon and then Planning Council, which a few agreed with. Paul asked where the buttons would be worn and Charmaine gave examples of being at an outdoor event or a zoom and wearing it. Paul said he was concerned with it because it could out someone as having HIV. Lawrence suggested they say Denver Principles instead of the red ribbon. Rob said he would like something that relates back to the Planning Council. Randall said he could see himself wearing the button when at HIV meetings and it would help identify that he is a member of the Planning Council. Marcelo brought up that it took a long time for him to realize how he had internalized homophobia and his experiences seeing stigma against substance use. He suggested we check ourselves about any internalized stigma we may carry. David feels that buttons would raise the awareness of the work we do and it would help identify him as a member of the Planning Council. Charmaine said that she went to a health fair and she wasn’t able to represent the Planning Council because she didn’t have a brochure nor buttons. David suggested that the question of buttons be posed to the Executive Committee and full Council, which others agreed with. Michael put into the chat box the logo of the Boston  Planning Council, which shows their geographic region, a red ribbon next to it, and the words “Boston EMA. Ryan White Planning Council.”

CC Directory

Leo introduced that we are creating a directory for the consumer members with telephone and email, to facilitate communication among members. Lawrence said that some people may have a preference as to which contact info to use. Cristina said to email her if you would like to opt out of the directory or if you have a preference for your contact info by Friday 11/19.

CC 2021-2022 Workplan

Cristina introduced the workplan excel spreadsheet, oriented everyone to its sections. This allows us to plan ahead, ask for materials in advance rather than at the last minute. The projects currently in the workplan are the development of aging directive conference materials, conference presentations (EtE Summit and Power of QI Conference), social bonding & recognition, outreach & assessment of needs of youth and young adults, and consumer engagement for quality management. Cristina suggested CC members go through the workplan on their own after the meeting to understand it better. The month and week at the top of the spreadsheet indicates when each task will ideally be accomplished. Paul asked why we aren’t using a calendar. A calendar view would only show 1 month at a time, whereas this workplan shows the full year all in one view. Paul suggested that the CC work on digital access to healthcare; consumers should be able to do intakes on their phone and reach their providers using their phones. Paul feels we need to discuss how consumers will be communicating with providers. Marcelo suggested that we need to focus on those at risk of HIV and not just people with HIV, such as the lack of HIV prevention information. Rob suggested that when we have printed materials for in-person meetings to get color coded calendars to differentiate between months. Ruby asked if the CC will discuss whether people with HIV know how to use a computer, whether they have a smartphone at all. Lawrence wanted to know where the template came from and Cristina said that yes, each committee is using this template. Melanie said that her committees had never looked at their gantt charts before, so maybe the info can be put into a different format. She suggested a future presentation on how we leverage Ryan White funding for status neutral services, including wrap around services and HIV testing, from the recipient.

Agenda Item #5: Public Comment

Marcelo pointed out that COVID-19 cases are increasing in Europe and in the US, so don’t let your guard down. Cristina put the DOHMH data website in the chat box: Randall suggested everyone get a booster shot if they haven’t.

The CC meeting was adjourned.