MATEC-WI Newsletter | October 2021

Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers Engage in “Design Sprint” to Enhance HIV Care

MATEC-WI and Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers (SSCHC) participated in a design sprint to support HIV Practice Transformation Project efforts. Hosted by Do Tank in Chicago, an interdisciplinary prevention and care team explored the current state of SSCHC’s HIV Program, created a compelling vision for the future, drafted new service offerings, and moved into action.

The 11-person team from SSCHC and 3-person team from MATEC came with energy and a willingness to embrace Business Design Thinking principles, tools, and processes to work and think differently as they unpacked their challenges and created a vision of the future. This strategic thinking session provided an opportunity to review the current state, develop a bold vision for the next three years, develop a short-term operations playbook. 

SSCHC’s bold vision to build a nationally recognized model for HIV services began with a focus on their values and commitments that balances accountability for both staff and organization responsible for designing and improving systems. The team then focused on innovative ideas to enhance services, coming up with three prototypes: team-based care, a housing program, and career coaching services. Over the course of 2 months, the teams developed their pitch, began to interview patients, and assess if these projects would come to fruition.  

The teams presented their findings to the greater HIV program staff, clinic leadership and the primary care HIV physicians on staff during a Town Hall last month. The group challenged some assumptions, discussed ways to conduct interviews with a more diverse group of stakeholders, and next steps to move to action. The momentum to make systems level changes that will improve HIV prevention and care health outcomes and the patient experience has the potential to end the HIV epidemic.

alertMATEC-WI will be switching to bi-monthly newsletters (every 2 months). Our next newsletter will be for November/December for World AIDS Day (WAD). Tell us about WAD events happening in WI.

WAD’s theme this year is My Voice, My Action, so we want to feature perspectives on HIV. Tell us how the HIV epidemic has affected your life or work, stories of lives improved, what drives your commitment, anything you’d like. You might see your story in the next newsletter!

Honoring National Latino AIDS Awareness Day – October 15, 2021

October 15 was National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day, a day to raise awareness of the disproportionate impact of HIV on Latinx communities, and to highlight the need to work together to fight HIV stigma and promote HIV prevention and treatment. Despite being one of the most-affected subpopulations in the US, only 49 of every 100 Latinos with HIV were retained in care. Learn strategies for engaging and retaining Latinos in HIV care. #NLAAD. #EHE.

A Warm Send-Off and Congratulations to Dr. Jorge Ramallo

It is with much ado that we wish Jorge Ramallo, MD, MPH, AAHIVE, safe travels and much success in his future as he relocates to Virginia with his husband.  Dr. Ramallo is taking on a newly created role as a primary care HIV physician at Inova. 

Dr. Ramallo is an internist and pediatrician for Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers in Milwaukee for over 3 years and served as the HIV Medical Director. During his time at the clinic, he became an HIV physician champion, leading practice transformation efforts to expand HIV testing, same-day start for PrEP, and rapid-start antiretroviral therapy.

Additionally, Dr. Ramallo completed the 2019-2020 MATEC’s Clinician Scholars Program with over 136 hours of training and clinical preceptorship hours – during a pandemic no less! – showing his dedication and passion to the field of HIV care. He credits being part of the Latinx community and speaking Spanish to over 90 percent of the patients he provides care for as a contributing factor to his success. Dr. Ramallo has had a tremendous impact in Milwaukee’s Latino community. 

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Ramallo and wish him well in this next step of his career. If his time at SSCHC and as part of the Clinician Scholars Program is any indication, we know he will go on to do great things at Inova.

Congratulations to SusiGidan on Her Retirement

MATEC-WI would like to congratulate long-time Treaters participant Susie Gidan, LCSW, (she/her) on her upcoming retirement. Gidan has worked as an MSW for the WI HIV Primary Care Support Network for the last 28 years, and she has been a social worker in HIV care for even longer. Gidan shared that throughout her career in HIV care, helping women with HIV deliver healthy infants has been most rewarding. Leave a message to congratulate Susie Gidan on her retirement!

Community Spotlight: Dr. Claudia Vicetti Miguel

Claudia Vicetti Miguel, MD, (she/her), is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a pediatric infectious disease physician at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She is also one of MATEC-WI’s newest Clinician Scholars. While somewhat newer to the field, pediatric HIV was Dr. Vicetti’s opportunity to pair her long-held passion for pediatrics with her early love for HIV care – enjoying the complexity and multidisciplinary nature of the cases along with the strong bonds created with the families.

Though similar to adult HIV, pediatric HIV carries unique considerations and implications for one’s overall care. Infant HIV cases are rare nowadays, however, adolescent HIV cases continue to occur – with males 13-29 years old having the highest HIV diagnosis rate in WI – and disproportionately impact Latinx and African American populations. The program at Children’s hospital also takes care of several children who are adoptees from other countries. 

HIV awareness can be particularly lacking amongst youth populations. Oftentimes, myths and outdated information can be shared within these populations, which can lead to increased stigma and skewed perceptions about one’s risk for acquiring HIV. Dr. Vicetti hopes that by connecting with community providers, she can raise awareness about the unique caveats of pediatric HIV care. She hopes these working relationships will enable her to engage community providers in increasing access to preventative HIV care for youth populations. 

While pediatric HIV has unique considerations and implications towards overall care, it also comes with unique challenges too. One challenge Dr. Vicetti hopes her colleagues will take on with her is around the impact parents have on their children’s care. “Even though our patient may be the child, we often spend the most time educating the parents, as they are the ones responsible for the child’s well-being”. The other challenge is getting teenagers to stay engaged in care while they navigate the ups and downs of adolescence. Faced with stigma, social determinants of health, and other potential barriers to care, it can be extremely difficult for adolescents and young children to manage their HIV care and treatment; it is equally difficult for parents to overcome these barriers for their child to access care. Dr. Vicetti urges her colleagues to take on this multi-faceted challenge with her. On one end, it is crucial to help people understand the realities of having HIV and treatment needed. On another end, mitigating barriers to care faced by parents and the child’s support system can in turn allow youths with HIV to better access needed care and treatment. That is why it is equally important to help parents achieve a state where they can be involved and help their child access and retain HIV treatment and care.

Updates and Resources

HIV Updates and Resources

For Upcoming Programs, check out our events and Treaters Meetings, or go to the MATEC Training Calendar.