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SUSTAINing Together Training Scholarship Opportunity

Healing-Centered and Anti-Oppressive Leadership:
Cultivating the Next Generation of Emerging HIV Leaders

Scholarship Details:

The SUSTAIN Wellbeing COMPASS Coordinating Center is excited to announce the launch of an intensive training opportunity for emerging leaders in the HIV field within the US South. The 2.5-day in-person training will be held in Houston, Texas, from Wednesday, August 28 to Friday, August 30, 2024. We will select 15 recipients. They will receive a $1,650 scholarship stipend to offset the travel costs to and from the training (including flight, hotel, food, rideshare, and any other costs associated with the travel) and compensation for their time. SUSTAIN will provide breakfast, lunch, and snacks during the full days of training. 

About the Training:

As seasoned HIV leaders transition out, a new generation of passionate advocates is poised to step in, bringing fresh perspectives to drive progress in the fight against HIV. In the US South, where organizational capacity and infrastructure are scarce, this shift in leadership highlights a unique opportunity to build structures and enhance leadership styles that address unique healthcare needs and evolving structural challenges. This also underscores the need for mobilizing and planning to address the current HIV landscape and the intersectional structural issues contributing to the HIV epidemic, specifically in the Southern US. 

There is a need for a new generation of HIV leaders to actively work against systemic oppression, advocate for racial and social justice, and create inclusive environments that are trauma-informed and healing-centered. Furthermore, it is critical for emerging leaders to unlearn practices rooted in white supremacy work culture, patriarchy, and other oppressive approaches that continue to perpetuate inequality, discrimination, injustice, marginalization, and power imbalances. This 2.5-day workshop will delve into strategies that resist oppression as a leader and skills that foster healing-centered environments for everyone. 

This training will: 

  • Discuss the historical and current landscape of HIV, intersectionality, and systemic oppression
  • Discuss historical HIV leadership and their responses to the HIV epidemic
  • Identify ways in which healing-centered and anti-oppressive leadership styles can combat current structural issues that contribute to the HIV epidemic 
  • Identify and practice leadership strategies and skills that resist oppression and foster healing-centered environments for everyone

Participants will engage in group discussions, role-play, and other hands-on learning methods to learn how to utilize leadership approaches or practices that are rooted in anti-oppression, relationship-building, decision-making, and communication in their daily work. 

Scholarship Eligibility:

  • Scholarship applicants must live in the 12 US southern states supported by COMPASS (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Texas).
  • Scholarship applicants must answer the question of what makes them an emerging leader. For this training opportunity, we are using a broad definition of "emerging leaders." For instance, an applicant could be an early or mid-career professional who has recently taken on a leadership position or has limited experience in that role. Applicants of any age who are new to leadership are welcome to apply. Applicants will be able to highlight what makes them an emerging leader in their responses.
  • Scholarship applicants must demonstrate a commitment to serving people living with HIV and people with lived experiences who are most systematically impacted.

If you are selected to receive this scholarship, please note the following:

  • The scholar must actively participate in all aspects of the program through completion (i.e., attending and participating in the 2.5-day training, completing pre and post-surveys, etc.).
  • The scholar must attend the entire training in person at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas.
  • If you receive the scholarship funds but are not able to attend, you are responsible for returning the funds to the University of Houston.
  • Please note that for this training opportunity, we will not offer translation or interpretation services, however, we are developing programming specific to Latinx communities. Be on the lookout for Spanish/multilingual training in the future.
  • The scholarship will go directly to you and not the organization you are affiliated with. 
  • Once you accept the scholarship, you will begin the contract process with the University of Houston to receive the funds.
  • You are responsible for completing the contract paperwork for the University of Houston as soon as possible. If you do not respond to contract requests in a timely manner, you may experience delays in receiving funds. 
  • Please note that you may not receive funds by the time of travel due to possible contract process delays in the business and legal departments at the University of Houston. We promise to stay in constant communication and provide updates throughout this administrative process. SUSTAIN’s goal is for you to receive the scholarship stipend prior to the training and give you sufficient time to book your travel.     
  • You will receive a 1099 form which is used to report non-employment income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • You are responsible for booking your travel arrangements (e.g. flight and hotel). 


The deadline to submit a scholarship application is Sunday, June 16, 2024, at 11:59 pm CST. For questions, assistance, and accommodations, contact Lladira Aguilar at laguila9@central.uh.edu and Alejandra Avilés (aaviles3@central.uh.edu). 

View the PDF version of the application HERE.