Annoucement of HRSA grant to Friends Research Institute | The Alexis Project

Dr. Cathy Reback and Friends Research Institute are very pleased to announce that they were awarded a HRSA SPNS grant in response to FOA HRSA-12-099, Enhancing Engagement and Retention in Quality HIV Care for Transgender Women of Color – Demonstration Sites.  A brief overview of the project is as follows:

Enhancing Linkages to and Retention in HIV Primary Care for Transgender Women of Color: The Alexis Project

The Alexis Project is named after Alexis Rivera who died on March 28, 2012, – while the grant application was in development – at the age of 34, from complications related to HIV. Alexis was a proud Latina transwoman; a community activist, a peer advocate and a gatekeeper. When she was just 20 years old, Alexis worked with Dr. Reback as a community outreach worker targeting and reaching high-risk transwomen. Alexis’ premature death spoke to the ardent need of the HRSA application. The transwomen service providers and research staff at Friends Research Institute chose to honor the life of Alexis Rivera through this project.


The Alexis Project will incorporate three proven models, Social Network Recruitment (network), Peer Health Navigation (individual) and Conditional Cash Transfer (structural), into one multi-leveled project to optimize HIV health outcomes for transwomen of color. Through Social Network Recruitment, local transwomen will recruit transwomen of color from their social, sexual and drug-using networks into the project for either testing (HIV unknown status) or, for those who are aware of their HIV infection but not in care, to a combined Peer Health Navigation and Conditional Cash Transfer intervention. Peer Health Navigators will work with participants to identify HIV care services and other needed services, develop a specific client-centered treatment plans, remove barriers to those services and access those services. Conditional Cash Transfer will provide increasing valuable incentives for attending HIV medical visits and reaching and sustaining HIV milestones. The Alexis Project will employ a multi-tiered, comprehensive approach, which includes network, individual and structural components to identify, recruit, test, link, treat and retain transwomen of color into quality HIV care.

The project will be implemented at Friends Community Center, the Hollywood community site of Friends Research Institute. It is estimate that services will begin in March 2013.



Cathy J. Reback, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist, Friends Research Institute, Inc.

Executive Director, Friends Community Center

Associate Research Sociologist, UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs


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