CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine has been selected as the new home of the North Carolina AIDS Training and Education Center. The NCATEC, federally funded through the Ryan White CARE Act, will be responsible for the education and training of the state’s health care providers in HIV treatment and prevention.
“UNC is an excellent place to house the NCATEC. We provide care to thousands of HIV-infected North Carolinians and have worked to establish cooperative relationships with health care providers across the state,” said David Wohl, MD, associate professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases, which houses and administers the center. “HIV medicine has become a very dynamic field and our mission is to keep all North Carolina clinicians on the cutting edge of treatment and other HIV health topics,” said Wohl, who directs the center.
UNC will draw on its long-standing reputation as a national and international leader in HIV medicine and research. Providing training and resources for providers is crucial to enhance the quality of HIV care in the state.
Over 35,000 people in North Carolina are HIV-infected and the state ranks tenth in the nation in terms of AIDS diagnoses and eighth in terms of HIV mortality. While the Triangle area and major cities like Charlotte have nationally recognized HIV medical care and research centers, many of which are affiliated with UNC, the southern epidemic is becoming increasingly rural, and the providers serving them face additional challenges. The NCATEC will work to keep all North Carolina doctors, nurses and other HIV providers current and connected by focusing on remote learning technologies such as webinars and blogs to link health care providers and to share developments in the field.
“North Carolina providers, like those in other southern states, face a number of challenges unique to our part of the country. It’s not just about keeping current on treatment regimens, it’s about recognizing and addressing real-world challenges faced by providers and patients,” said Becky White, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at UNC who will conduct trainings at the center.
Training activities will be tailored to address local needs with an emphasis placed on interactive, hands-on training and clinical consultation to assist providers with complex issues related to the management of highly active antiretroviral therapy. Although training is targeted to providers who care for the medically underserved in Ryan White CARE Act-funded sites, all HIV providers are served by the program.
“We have so many dedicated and engaged professionals in North Carolina who are eager to care for those with HIV,” said Michele Bailey, the NCATEC program coordinator. “Our job is to make sure they have the skills they need to do that and do it well.”
The center is also responsible for a Minority AIDS Initiative grant, which aims to expand the number of minority and minority-serving providers in the HIV system of care.
The AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETC) Program of the Ryan White CARE Act currently supports a network of 11 regional centers (and more than 130 local performance sites) that conduct targeted, multi-disciplinary education and training programs for healthcare providers treating persons with HIV/AIDS.
More information about the program can found on its new website, www.med.unc.edu/ncaidstraining
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