SMHS Receives Grants to Improve Cultural Responsiveness for HIV and COVID Testing | Today

By Thomas Kohout

The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, under the direction of Maranda C. Ward, Ed.D ’17, received a pair of grants totaling more than $816,000 from Gilead Sciences Inc., in support of an 18-month research-based educational initiative, Two in One: HIV+COVID Screening and Testing Model.

This study aims to advocate for updated guidelines so that primary care practitioners can make HIV testing—and PrEP testing and HIV testing, where appropriate—routine for all patients while also screening for COVID vaccines and boosters during the same visit. Research topics will also be used to provide capacity building support for primary care practitioners to provide culturally appropriate, non-judgmental communication about HIV and COVID with patients who identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC) and LGBTQIA+.

“We have built this national training model to reflect and achieve the objectives of the Healthy people 2030 initiative that sets benchmarks for achieving health equity, eliminating health disparities, and achieving health literacy in the United States,” said Ward, Assistant Professor of Clinical Research and Leadership.

Two in One has three parts: research, training and social marketing, starting with qualitative stories from BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ patients and primary care practitioners.

“Our national advisory board of content experts will complement what we learn from [primary care practitioners] and patients on facilitators and barriers to HIV and COVID prevention to ultimately guide the facets of this training model,” Ward said. “Our scoping reviews will also inform two white papers on the policy implications of HIV and COVID for practice-based change.”

The project will target 10,000 primary care practitioners, such as physicians, osteopaths, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses practicing in the United States or those training as medical students and interns in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The two-part training series will feature nine monthly live-streamed Continuing Medical Education (CME) lectures, as well as an asynchronous training course and toolkit based on CME modules. The series will conclude with a symposium focused on translating the knowledge gained from the speaker series into policy- and practice-based action.

Alongside the training, a series of social marketing messages, or vignettes, of primary care practitioners discussing with other physicians and healthcare professionals how to integrate non-judgmental HIV screening and testing and vaccines /COVID boosters in their standard of care will be released at the same time as the training.

For more information on this research-based model, visit the Two-in-One website:

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