Hooks Institute to host panel on combating HIV in Memphis

Oct. 7, 2021 — The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change will host an online discussion titled “Combating the HIV Epidemic in Memphis” as part of its newly created “Focus on Memphis” series.

Panelists will discuss HIV stigma and discrimination in the African American community, living with HIV and ways to reduce the risk of getting HIV and other STIs. The event will be livestreamed on the Hooks Institute's Facebook page on Oct. 19 from 6-7 p.m.

The panelists are Juanita Davis (director, CARE4ME Services), Cedric Sturdevant (director, HIV/AIDS Prevention at Community Health-PIER), Eddie Wiley (Shelby County ending HIV epidemic initiative coordinator, TN Department of Health) and DeMarcus Jones (protocol outreach assistant for prevention studies, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital). Hooks Academic Research Fellow Dr. Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer (clinical assistant professor, Department of Healthcare leadership, University of Memphis) will moderate.

While this event is free and open to the public, attendees are encouraged to RSVP for the event here.

About Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer

Dr. Shemeka Hamlin-Palmer is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Healthcare leadership at the University of Memphis. She has dedicated the past 15 years to working, partnering and collaborating with CBOs, health care organizations and other academic institutions to reduce the impact of health disparities, including HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, mental health, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cancer in minority populations throughout the United States.

About Juanita Davis

Juanita Davis, a pioneer in HIV prevention education, is the director of CARE4ME Services of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation. She has participated in research projects, served as co-investigator and is the co-author of several publications regarding African American adolescents and HIV/AIDS. Her work includes early development of the BART (Becoming a Responsible Teen) Program, Syphilis Elimination in the South and the American Red Cross Prevention Skills curricula. Throughout her career, Davis has received numerous awards and citations for her prevention efforts, such as the Recognition and Appreciation Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for her vision and insight in addressing the health issues of African American adolescents.

About Cedric Sturdevant

Cedric Sturdevant is the co-founder, co-executive director and director of HIV/AIDS Prevention Branch at Community Health-PIER. He has been working in the field of HIV for 14 years. Sturdevant became an advocate for HIV in 2007, working with and training HIV-positive people to advocate for themselves and others through a program called AIDSWatch Mississippi. Sturdevant is also the co-founder of Mississippi Positive Network [MSPN] and community co-chair of the Mississippi HIV Planning Council. He was featured in the documentary “Deepsouth,” which focuses on the plight of individuals living with HIV in the region. He has also been featured in New York Times Magazine and various public service campaigns spreading knowledge and awareness of HIV.

About Eddie Wiley

For 15 years, Eddie Wiley has worked across the Southern United States to combat HIV stigma and health disparities, particularly within communities of color. As a presenter at local and national conferences, Wiley has been able to speak of his experiences as a person living with HIV in addition to an HIV service provider. Wiley is excited to serve as the Shelby County Ending HIV Epidemic Initiative coordinator for the TN Department of Health in Memphis. In 2015, Wiley co-founded The Headliners, a group of community members and service providers working together in a collaborative model to disseminate HIV information through novel methods.

DeMarcus Jones

DeMarcus Jones is the current protocol outreach assistant for prevention studies at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis and current co-chair of Headliners Memphis. As a native Memphian, he completed his studies at the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Professional Studies. With more than seven years of experience in working HIV prevention and community engagement, his mission is to continuously engage, mobilize and create healing spaces for LGBTQ individuals of color.

About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute implements its mission of teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change through research, education and direct intervention programs. Institute programs include community outreach, funding faculty research initiatives on community issues, implementing community service projects; hosting conferences, symposiums and lectures; and promoting local and national civil and human rights scholarship. The Hooks Institute is an interdisciplinary center at the University of Memphis. Contributed revenue for the Hooks Institute, including funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations, is administered through the University of Memphis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit the Hooks Institute.