SHINE a light: 
Empower youth to prevent sexually transmitted diseases

The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and community partners are organizing a conference to prompt action on the problem of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS among young people. The conference will begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 8 in the Gary Comer Youth Center at 7200 S. Ingleside Ave.

The event, titled “Building Bold Innovative Partnerships to Prevent and Reduce STIs/HIV Among Youth,” is being organized by SSA’s SHINE Network, Access Community Health Network and the Gary Comer Youth Center. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required and may be completed at: https://myssa.uchicago.edu/RSVP/shine2013.

“We want this to be more than a conference where people listen to interesting talks and then leave. We want our sessions to be discussions among people who are vitally interested in this issue and we hope those conversations prompt more networking and follow up,” said SSA Professor Dexter Voisin, Principal Investigator for SHINE. Voisin is organizing the conference along with Co-Principal Investigator Alida Bouris, Assistant Professor at SSA.

Community leaders and experts will discuss topics such as “Youth and Community Violence,” “Youth and Mental Health,” “New Media” and “Adapting Evidence-based Interventions for Youth.”

The keynote speaker is Judy Auerbach, an adjunct professor at the University of California, San Francisco. She has published and presented widely in the fields of AIDS, health research and science policy and is the past Vice President for Science and Public Policy at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The talk will be “Social Drivers of STI/HIV Infections Among Youth.”

Among the panelists are Danny Davis, U.S. Rep.; Juliana Stratton, executive director, Cook County Judicial Advisory Council; Robin Robinson, Fox Chicago news anchor; Tim’m West, Spoken Word Artist/AIDS Activist; and Cathy Krieger, president and CEO, The Children’s Place Association.

West and the South Side Drill Team will perform at the closing ceremony.

“The SHINE Conference is an educational and informative forum of professionals sharing expertise about the selected topics on each panel. This year the focus on youth is great, considering a great majority of Access’ HIV infection rate is attributed to young people and young black men having sex with men,” said Kischa Hampton, ACCESS’ Director, Preventive and Behavioral Health.

“Attending this conference is important to provide our community with a strong knowledge base of education and to provide individuals with tools, while offering detailed explanations of experiences that may reflect on learned lessons, best practices and challenges,” she added.

“Transdisciplinary approaches to engaging youth around HIV prevention is critical as we move toward eliminating new HIV transmission events in the hardest-hit communities such as those on the South Side of Chicago, “ said John Schneider, assistant professor of Medicine, director of Global Health Programs and the director of the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination.

“The SHINE conference is a critical part of the professional development of youth workers and youth advocates. It will strengthen our ability to work toward achieving positive life outcomes for the youth we work with every day,” said Ayoka Samuels, senior program director at the Gary Comer Youth Center.

Other sponsors for the conference are The Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago; The Chicago Center for HIV Elimination; Ci3; The Gary Comer Youth Center; The University of Chicago Center for Health Administration Studies; The University of Chicago Medicine Urban Health Initiative; and The University of Chicago Urban Network.

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SHINE conference speaker

Actress, singer and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph addressed the audience at last year's SHINE conference. The goal of the conference is to encourage discussion, networking and action among the participants, including youth, researchers and practitioners.

Courtesy of School of Social Service Administration

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