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Community Disruption & HIV/AIDS in D.C. Conference

The Center on Health, Risk, and Society (CHRS) at AU sponsored a conference on September 13-14, 2012 entitled Community Disruption and HIV/AIDS in the District of Columbia. Community disruption is a social process that is critical in shaping HIV/AIDS risk and experiences with care and arguably, in producing related race and ethnic disparities. While there are many different processes that disrupt communities, the conference focused on three distinct processes of disruption particularly relevant for DC: criminal justice involvement, particularly the incarceration-re-entry cycle; neighborhood change/”gentrification;” and deportation. Although the focus of the conference was on HIV/AIDS, the broad themes, concepts, and theories of community disruption are relevant to many health topics.

The conference brought together over 80 participants from the DC Metropolitan Area and beyond, ranging from social scientists, community workers and advocates, to government officials, policy makers, to medical doctors, to students, all to discuss these different processes of community disruption and how they may impact on the DC HIV/AIDS pandemic. The conference provided an opportunity to develop better understanding of the social dimensions of HIV/AIDS and to foster interdisciplinary conversations and planning for new research collaborations. Read about the conference on AU News.

The main goals of the conference were to:

  • Provide a foundation on which to develop a body of research related to the social dimensions of HIV, and secondarily, other health-related topics, in DC
  • Support the development of proposals for external funding for this research
  • Encourage interdisciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration in this research
  • Ensure collaboration with community partners so that resulting research is relevant and of priority to the DC community
  • Enhance the theoretical strength of HIV and other health related research by bringing social scientists together with health researchers who may not be familiar with social science theories and concepts that have implications for their research
  • Encourage researchers not currently engaging in HIV/AIDS and other health related research to do so
  • Support the development of related writing projects


The Conference was co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at AU and the District of Columbia Developmental Center for AIDS Research (DC D-CFAR). Funding was provided by SAIC-Frederick and American University.