“To change the city is to engage the city”
The model calls upon all aspects of society to become involved in addressing HIV. When replicating the model, needs will be assessed at the local level through relevant stakeholders to determine the appropriate “launch pad” for the initiative. Widespread engagement will be garnered through existing and new partnerships by a “call to action.”
“Nothing missing, nothing broken”
Project SHALEM encompasses and involves all pieces to ensure “completeness.” Engagement of all sectors of the community is pertinent to combat HIV -- this includes destigmatization and making HIV testing a “routine” part of life. Psychosocial, socioeconomic and overall “wellness” contribute to one’s ability to engage in HIV testing, care, treatment and support.
The JACQUES Initiative launched Project SHALEM in the spring of 2009. “SHALEM”: Derived from “shalom” or “salaam” was chosen for its common expression across faiths and can be interpreted as “peace”, “completeness,” “safety “or “nothing missing –nothing broken.”
Project SHALEM Phase 1 engaged Baltimore’s faith based community and trained their members to volunteer in various capacities to include outreach, testing and linkage to care. Housewives, business people, grandmothers, students and many others give their time to not only participate in large testing events held in the city, but also service seven (7) sustainable testing programs located in sites ranging from churches to transitional houses and food kitchens in areas with a high prevalence of HIV infection. The volunteers who staff these sites “own” these projects and are supported and mentored by both the JACQUES Initiative and the State of Maryland’s Infectious Disease and Environmental Health Agency (IDEHA).
The initial funding provided through HIV FOCUS has yielded a sustainable model – “The Community Engagement Model” -- to engage volunteers and has transformed our city’s approach to HIV outreach, testing and linkage to care.
The model for Project SHALEM engages three distinct entities working together to create integrated transformative approaches to identify, link and treat HIV infected citizens in our communities. The positive impact of these functioning elements will yield countless projects that demonstrate the role of HIV experts, and governmental agencies (federal/state/ local) partnering with the community, both public and private to address and end the crisis of HIV and AIDS in our cities.
In a 2010 speech by President Obama, he stated, “The actions we now take will build upon a legacy of global leadership, national commitment and sustained efforts on the part of Americans from all parts of the country and all walks of life.” Through the “shalem approach”, JI is engaging the broader community and will continue to play a significant role in accomplishing the goals of our National HIV and AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the Baltimore HIV and AIDS Strategy
In 2011, the JACQUES Initiative launched Phase 2 of Project SHALEM, Preparing the Future, which engages the academic community to prepare emerging leaders to address HIV in their future careers. In order to address the crisis of HIV, the entire community needs to be involved!
Project SHALEM engages and mobilizes the community to address the crisis of HIV in Baltimore. Find out more:
Liz Ellis, Faith-Based & Volunteer Liaison
Preparing the Future
Allie Reitz, Academic Coordinator