By David A. Wohl, MD – November 16, 2012

Dear NCATEC Community,

As we move towards the end of 2012 and the mid-point of our second year of training work, we want to look back – and look forward. Although guilty of employing a cliché, I can say we have run with it. Out of the blocks (to really embrace the metaphor), we got busy listening to what you, the providers of care to North Carolinians living with HIV, say you want from your ATEC. One of the first things we heard was a desire for one-on-one educational opportunities. In response, we launched a clinical preceptorship program (sign up online here), in which trainees can spend a day or more with HIV experts from across the state. People told us they liked hearing the perspectives of folks from outside North Carolina, so we helped bring nationally recognized thought-leaders to come here to speak. We also learned that many providers recognized gaps in their expertise in particular areas, including STI management and treatment of HCV. Therefore, we linked with our friends at the AL-NC STI Prevention Training Center to develop workshops to increase expertise in STI diagnosis and treatment for major HIV providers in our state, a model we are using for HCV training.

With our first-year milestone reached, we are stretching further in year two. Geographically we have reached out to Charlotte and Asheville with preceptorships and group trainings; to Elizabeth City to talk with health professionals who work with a key audience: college-age populations; and to Scotland County and points south where more and more HIV clinic work is being done. And to accomplish some of this work we are very pleased to welcome two new faculty members to NCATEC family: Robin Peace, MD and Yvonne Carter, MD.

On December 1st, we will officially launch a new resource, the NCATEC Clinician Line. Providers can call the toll free line at 855-UNC-ATEC (855-862-2832) M-F 9am to 5pm to pose clinical questions regarding the management of HIV. In addition, we are developing our first web-based educational opportunities – from podcasts to to virtual case seminars – so that providers from across NC can access trainings at their convenience. Lastly, with the Affordable Care Act due to become fully operationalized in 2014, we will be working to help make sure that established and new HIV care providers are prepared.

We will never be done listening so continue to shout out to us about what you like and what you don’t; what works and what’s just “meh”. Before you do though, let me do some shouting about the people who keep the NCATEC moving. Michele Bailey is not only the center’s coordinator but also its most enthusiastic cheerleader and advocate. She has made it her life mission to have our ATEC reach each and every NC HIV provider. Megan (still waters run deep) Katsaounis keeps us organized and manages our website. I thank them for making this year (mostly) bump-free. My colleagues, Heidi Swygard, Becky White and Lynda Bell here at UNC, and Laura Bachmann at Wake Forest have been incredibly generous with their time and knowledge and for that I am tremendously grateful. Lastly, thanks to all of you for being in this fight. Keep it up and please let us know how we can help.