Ending the HIV Epidemic Scientific Working Group
Inger Burnett-Zeigler, PhD
Gregory L. Phillips II, PhD, MS
About the EHE Initiative
The Ending the HIV Epidemic Scientific Working Group (EHE SWG) aims to catalyze collaborations that promote the adoption and integration of evidence-based practices, interventions, and policies into routine health care and public health that can help end the HIV epidemic. Drawing on the Third Coast CFAR’s strengths in implementation science and partnership building, the EHE SWG responds to the federal initiative, Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE), launched in 2019.
EHE emphasizes the implementation of existing tools to reduce the number of new HIV diagnoses in the 48 counties that account for half of HIV cases in the U.S. Illinois’ Cook County ranks third on this list, despite a decreasing number of new HIV cases each year and improved prevention efforts. The initiative dedicates federal resources to reduce new HIV diagnoses by 75% by 2025 and 90% by 2030. EHE categorizes existing tools ready for scale up by four pillars: diagnose, treat, prevent, and respond.
To accomplish EHE goals, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration are working together to mobilize an effective response. These federal agencies issued RFAs as part of EHE every year since the launch of the initiative. These funds have bolstered established efforts, particularly Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL), and positioned the EHE SWG to spur innovative science-practice partnerships to eliminate new HIV cases by 2030.
Third Coast CFAR Support for the EHE SWG
To support the EHE initiative, NIH offers supplemental funds through the CFAR P30 for implementation research led by faculty and community- or health department-based partners. EHE Planning Awards support the development of science-practice partnerships and the aims of the Third Coast CFAR’s EHE SWG. Awardees plan future applications to the NIH and other federal agencies for HIV research, evaluation, or innovative service delivery.
Since the launch of the EHE initiative, NIH has issued 12 EHE Supplement Awards to Third Coast CFAR members. Third Coast CFAR’s Development Core has also invested directly in the initiative by competitively selecting 9 teams of EHE SWG members to lead internal EHE Planning Awards. The planning award mechanism pre-positions SWG members to pursue larger EHE grants and supplements within the next 1-2 years.
The Third Coast CFAR’s scientific cores provide strong support for awardees as the EHE SWG continues to generate new collaborative projects through engagement with many local constituents. In July 2021, the EHE SWG led a workshop, Developing Community-Academic Research Partnerships, in conjunction with the Third Coast CFAR’s Community Collaboration Board and scientific cores. Three teams presented practical tips on exploring, forming, and expanding partnerships supported by Third Coast CFAR awards and services.