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    MPact Initiates Leadership Development Training for Latinx Gay, Bisexual, and Trans Men

    By Eduardo Morales, Ph.D.–

    MPact has launched the national Es TIeMPo (Training, Mentorship, Internship, and Peer-Exchange) Leadership Project and released a recommitment to the National Call to Action: addressing the HIV crisis among Latinx gay and bisexual men in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

    This project strives for racial equity and social justice, and an enabling environment that empowers individuals to freely access culturally and linguistically competent, stigma-free, comprehensive sexual health services and information. Angel Fabian, M.D., MNA, is the Advocacy Coordinator at MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights. MPact is a global health advocacy organization that serves as a catalyst for creating change among global gay, bisexual, and gender-diverse communities.

    MPact works with community partners around the world to educate, empower, and mobilize. 

    Dr. Fabian says that MPact organizes its work in three ways:

    • educate via campaigns and activities to raise awareness, as well as share up-to-date information to increase skills and knowledge;
    • empower by providing training, resources, and technical assistance;
    • and mobilize by working in collaboration with partners at the local, state, and national levels to change policy and shift culture.

    Dr. Fabian leads the “Fijate Bien” program at MPact, which loosely translates to “Pay Attention.” The name speaks to Latinx gay, bisexual, and trans men and the entities that provide HIV prevention, care, and treatment services to them—urging them to be aware and take action on the increase of new HIV infections and the structural barriers to prevention, care, and medical services across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

    MPact’s Es TIeMPo project, an offshoot of the Fijate Bien program, facilitates leadership development with interested participants who are advocates or leaders involved or interested in the HIV response, human rights, and issues of Latinx gay, bisexual, and trans men in the San Francisco-East Bay and Central Valley areas of California, along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, and in Puerto Rico.

    To encourage active participation in training, mentorship, and internship components, all emerging leaders will receive a stipend for their time in the program. The leadership training program is offered in the following manner:

    • a 7-module series of web-based, community-informed virtual trainings covering advocacy, social/racial/economic justice, sexual and mental health, stigma and discrimination, coaching, and self-care. The project is bilingual in Spanish and English;
    • matching of participants with a mentor, who is actively working in the field;
    • linking of participants, upon completion of the training, to an internship opportunity with a local, regional, or national organization;
    • creation of a peer exchange network for participants to share practical experience, support other participants, and promote sustainability of learnings beyond Es TIeMPo;
    • and opportunities to participate in national and international conferences.

    Dr. Fabian told me for the San Francisco Bay Times that “to address these structural barriers, we apply and adapt lessons learned and best practices from our global advocacy and capacity-building work. With HIV activists from the Latinx community at the national, regional, and community levels, we advocate for comprehensive sexual health programs and services that are culturally competent and in the languages that they speak, and we provide training and capacity-building opportunities for advocates to demand the same at every level. We want to make sure the breadth of the Latinx gay and bisexual men’s community is reached.”

    MPact received a grant from ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action for Latinx Men program to help support these initiatives. Dr. Fabian says this funding has been instrumental in building a national presence and bringing some of their global experience to a U.S. audience.

    While there has been a gradual shift and increase of funds into advocacy and awareness efforts for minorities, Dr. Fabian feels this grant funding is different from usual historical capital. He explained, “The funding from ViiV Healthcare has been very responsive to the consultation of the community. That doesn’t happen all the time and we are grateful that community input and feedback was the starting point for this initiative, rather than an afterthought.”

    You can find out more information about the Fijate Bien Program by visiting https://tinyurl.com/82zsbd86

    Eduardo Morales, PhD, is of Puerto Rican descent and is one of the founders of AGUILAS, where he serves as Executive Director. He is also a retired Distinguished Professor at Alliant International University and is the 2021 President of the National Latinx Psychological Association.