Who are we?
We are the Action Lab! We consist of students who have applied from Trinity College and Capital Community College to pursue research in the Hartford Community. Trinity College has partnered with Capital Community College to create a unique semester long research project for students from both colleges to collaborate on at an undergrad level. Each project done through Action Lab has been a proposal submitted by Hartford Community Partners and is then voted on by the board which consists of Hartford community residents. This process helps to address what is needed most by those who know the most, with the people of the Hartford community.
Our Action Lab research project is the HIV Community Health Workers (CHW’s) Action Lab Research Team. Our research team’s goal was to conduct research to help address the currently limited data that is available on the barriers that surround the workforce of the Community Health Workers (CHW), particularly who are involved in HIV-related care, in Connecticut. With this goal our hope is that the data collected will be used in a helpful way to educate what a CHW is and how essential they are to society, how their services should one day be medically billable, and finally, to assist in the betterment of the training and certificate process of becoming a CHW.
Meet the Team: The HIV CHW Action Lab student research team consists of five students total.
Shian Earlington: Biochemistry Major at Capital Community College
Shian Earlington’s study area is Biochemistry and she aspires to pursue a medical degree as a Neonatal Surgeon.
“I wanted to be part of the HIV Action Lab because I yearned to learn more about what health disparities the city of Hartford has as well as who it affects disproportionally. Before immersing myself into HIV related field work; I had to learn about it, hear about personal experiences, and speak to people within the HIV community. People who are struggling with viruses or diseases deserve to be loved no matter what. My work in the HIV Action Lab allowed me to give this affection back to my community ten fold.”
Frances Gibson: Dual Major of Nursing & Liberal Arts at Capital Community College
Frances Gibson is a Peer Tutor, Undergraduate Researcher, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Student, and her study areas include Nursing & Liberal Arts. She aspires to be an Adult Gerontological Nurse Practitioner in the Hartford region.
“The reason I wanted to be part of this particular Action Lab was because of the specific community that is being supported: the HIV community and the medical professionals working with them. I’ve always believed healthcare should be a right to all rather than just some. This project presented a great opportunity to learn some of the hardships and the complications that surround the HIV community and more specifically, the LGBTQ+ community, and people of color within the healthcare system. Being able to be so intimately involved in the Hartford community, which I hope to one day serve, has given me a deeper understanding and helped shape my outlook on what proper care truly looks like.”
Giovanni Jones: Sociology Major & Legal Studies Minor at Trinity College
Giovanni Jones is currently a junior at Trinity College and wishes to pursue a career in public health.
” Growing up in Hartford I’ve seen at first hand the issues that affect my community, especially when It comes to public health. HIV is a disease that affects everyone but it disproportionately affects communities of color, and the LGBTQ community. Through systematic oppression, we can see how health resources, sexual education, and access to care can be easily stripped away from communities that actually need them. HIV patients need to be taken seriously and provided with support from both insurance companies and health professionals.”
Maxwell Norteman: Human Rights & Political Science Double Major at Trinity College
Max Norteman is a Journalist and aspiring diplomat in the State Department. His study areas are in Public Health, Global Health, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Aid.
“Making people’s voices heard was my main goal for this program. The healthcare system is broken, and people are falling through the cracks and are being forgotten. This project gave us an opportunity to give people a voice and a platform to convey these issues. This project isn’t just about the Healthcare system. It’s about Human Rights, LGBTQ+ Rights, and the effort to create a patient-centered healthcare system rather than a reactive one. ”
Lucy Pereira: Anthropology Major & Biology Minor at Trinity College
Lucy Pereira is a Peer Health Educator, Undergraduate Researcher, and aspiring physician. She is interested in issues of Public Health, Social Determinants of Health, and Health Disparities.
“After four years as a student at Trinity, I really wanted to work closely with the Hartford Community to make a change. Due to my passion for Public Health, this project just made sense! I am a firm believer in the continuum of care, and I think that Community Health Workers (CHWs) are uniquely equipped to help patients address social determinants of health. Thats where I wanted to make HIV patients feel heard and combat the stigma that makes them invisible in our society. Although the disease has no preferences, P.O.C and sexual minorities (LGBT and non-binary) are disproportionately affected due to a history of structural violence, socioeconomic, and racial inequality. To quote the Anthropologist Paul Farmer, ‘the idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world’ “.
Dr. Megan Brown Director of Liberal Arts Action Lab of Trinity College
Dr. Adolfo Sanchez-Blanco Faculty Advisor for HIV CHW Action Lab, Biology Instructor of Capital Community College