The national office of The Links, Incorporated, designated its Savannah (GA) Chapter, a 2020 Best Practices Chapter. The recognition was earned for its HIV/AIDs Prep and Stigma Program which was presented as part of the 2018- 2020 program reporting. The Chapter was notified of the recognition by Pamela Freeman Fobbs, JD, National Director for Programs.
The grant award which was made possible through the Southern Area of The Links, Incorporated, Health and Human Services in partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc. As a grant recipient, the program included a partnership with Savannah State University’s counseling program and the Coastal Health District. Jacqueline Awe, Director of Student Development at Savannah State University, welcomed the opportunity to educate students about prevention, and the need for testing. The program included speakers, panels, art contest and the training of student ambassadors. The chapter was able to engage a national speaker, William Brawner as well as a viewing of his award winning documentary film “25 to Life." In order to sustain the program after the grant, student ambassadors were recruited and trained. Part of the grant funds were used to install additional condom boxes at various locations on campus. The student ambassadors were able to publish testing dates when the Coastal Health District would be on campus providing free HIV testing clinics. The other program components which contributed to earning the Best Practice Award included a radio broadcast in which Grayzel Ellison, chairperson of the Chapter’s Health and Human Services Facet interviewed Dr. Debbie P. Hagins, Medical Director of the Costal CARE Centers in Southeast GA. The Chapter held a digital art competition and the purpose was to use art to diminish the negative stereotyping of persons who have tested positive for HIV.