Lipcomb, Vanderbilt land federal grants

Lipscomb and Vanderbilt universities have simultaneously announced work fueled by federal monies.

HIV diagnoses are disproportionately high among young African American males, especially those who engage in sexual activity with men, according to a recently completed $1.5 million VU study supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

Unrelatedly, LU's educational program for students with developmental and intellectual disabilities has received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education through its Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) initiative. Of note, Vanderbilt secured a TPSID grant, too.

The Vanderbilt study involved VU and First Response Center, a nonprofit HIV/AIDS prevention and care organization run by Metropolitan Interdenominational Church in North Nashville.

The study, “Black Young Men Building Capacity,” was developed by Sandra L. Barnes, a professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

“Interventions and services are out there, but the numbers are still rising,” Barnes, lead investigator of the study, said in a release. “That suggests there is a disconnect somewhere. How do you establish trust and reach a demographic that has a history of being marginalized?”

During the next five years, Barnes (pictured) said the aim is to reach 5,000 members of the target population of black males who have sex with males, known as MSM. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MSM account for 75 percent of new HIV diagnoses among 18- to 24-year-old black men.

“The overall goal of BYMBC is to educate, equip and empower members of the target population to access prevention and testing services,” Barnes said.

Read more here.

Lipscomb and VU were two of only 25 universities in the nation to receive the aforementioned TPSID grant. The grant will help support and expand services in the LU College of Education’s IDEAL (Igniting the Dream of Education and Access at Lipscomb) program.

“This grant is significant to our IDEAL program in several ways,” Deborah Boyd,  LU College of Education dean, said in a release. “Being one of only a few universities in the country to receive a TPSID grant is a strong indication that the program we launched just last year is already being recognized for its quality and for the positive impact it is having having on campus and all students, in addition to the students in the program, who otherwise might not have an opportunity to have a college experience. The size of the grant is also very significant in that it will allow us to add resources, to serve students and their families better, to expand our programming.”

IDEAL is a two-year certificate program, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, designed to encourage and support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to experience college as their peers do. Launched in January 2014, the IDEAL program includes academic and skill-building classes, exercise sessions, daily internships, leisure time and a daily study period.

The initial cohort included three students. This fall, 19 students comprising three cohorts are enrolled in the program. (Read more here.)


(Photo courtesy of VU/John Russell)

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