Center for Leadership in Disability funded for Health Disparities Research Within HIV/AIDS and Disability Populations

The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at Georgia State University in collaboration with the Phoenix Group Foundation has received funding from the Morehouse School of Medicine Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center (TCC) for Health Disparities Research to conduct a community-based evaluation focused on the availability and quality of HIV/AIDS prevention services for individuals with intellectual, developmental and significant learning disabilities in the Atlanta metro area.

“As part of this work, we hope to discover strategies that can impact the health and well-being of traditionally underserved communities,” said Andrew Roach, PhD, Assistant Director for CLD and Co-Principal Investigator for the project. “There may be a variety of barriers to individuals with disabilities receiving effective educational and preventative services in this area. If we understand these factors, we can help policymakers and practitioners create more effective programming.”

Participants from multiple stakeholder groups will be engaged as part of the four-phased project, including individuals living with HIV/AIDS; persons with intellectual, developmental or learning disability; family members and leaders and employees from HIV/AIDS and disability service providers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2014), there are over 34,000 Georgians living with HIV to date. Limited research about individuals with disabilities and HIV/AIDS has been done, but recent published reviews indicate that this subgroup is often at increased risk for HIV infection due to poverty, lack of adequate sexual health education, vulnerability to sexual exploitation and assault, and barriers to accessing needed services and reports.

“Our collaboration with CLD is a commitment to community engagement and mobilization,” said Executive Director of the Phoenix Group Foundation and Co-Principal Investigator for the project.  “Because we are a voice for communities at risk, the Phoenix Group Foundation finds it important to engage in participatory research and disseminate those findings and information to communities that are underserved and under-resourced.”


The Center for Leadership in Disability is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), administratively located within the Center for Healthy Development and the School of Public Health at Georgia State University (GSU). Since 2008, CLD has served as a bridge between university and community to support people with disabilities and their families in leading more independent, self-determined, inclusive, and productive lives.