MRT Innovations in Social Determinants of Health Initiative

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Q1 Please provide your contact information below.


Title and Organization




ZIP/Postal Code

Email Address

Phone Number

Jessica Clark

Community Outreach Liaison; Center for AIDS Research and Treatment at Northwell Health

400 Community Drive





Q2 Please describe your company or organizations overall goals and mission.

The Center for AIDS Research and Treatment is the largest New York State–designated AIDS Center on Long Island, providing primary care to over 2,200 HIV–infected individuals. Here, a Board Certified Infectious Disease specialist and nurse–case manager are assigned to each patient, consistently rendering the highest possible quality of care. Clinics are held Monday through Friday. Round the clock service is provided for both emergency room visits and in–patient management of more severe disease.

Q3 Please indicate which category your organization falls under.

Health Care Provider

Q4 Innovation Executive Summary. Please describe the innovation, and how it addresses the social determinants of health. Please identify how the innovation addresses the 6 innovation criteria (i.e. ROI, scalability, feasibility, evidence–based support for innovation, relevance to the Medicaid population and speed to market).

As health providers committed to bringing health to communities experiencing health disparities, we see it fit to engage non–traditional stakeholders and gatekeepers with consistent and positive access to the focus population. Recent data from the Nassau and Suffolk County Departments of Health shows that certain hotspots on Long Island continue to remain consistent epicenters of the HIV epidemic. We´re seeing these in low income areas inhabited by people of color. Equally alarming is the harsh fact that these populations are also experiencing poor health outcomes with other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.

As clinical health providers and professionals, we witness firsthand how the conditions in which people are born, live, grow, and work ultimately affect their health and their ability to manage their conditions. Through very thorough interviews of our recently diagnosed populations, we have learned that people in certain communities are devastatingly uninformed about prevention, medication assistance, basic knowledge of STI transmission, nutrition, free condoms, and much more. This is important because it impacts their ability to assess their susceptibility to infections and chronic illnesses.

Our objective is to increase the community´s knowledge and understanding of sexual health, chronic illness, and nutrition through key community business influencers. We consider community business influencers people who are highly trusted and respected within the community and have frequent, consistent, and direct access to the people we wish to receive this information. These community business influencers include barbers, hair stylists, and nail technicians of color, all located in communities of color. We have chosen these potential influencers because they each spend a significant amount of time with their clients in an intimate way: grooming. Barbershops, nail salons and hair salons in communities of color have long been known as the hub for top–notch grooming and consistent trust – an essential, yet missing component when it comes to communities of color and the United States health system. Our objective is to merge health with the process of beautifying oneself.

Our innovation would include:

  1. Educating business influencers in various topics such as HIV, STIs, diabetes, and hypertension.
    1. After being trained, the influencers would be able to conduct accurate, de–stigmatizing, and effective conversations about the aforementioned topics.
  2. Partnering with a farmers market or farmshare to provide fresh produce one day a week. Possibly provide tips on how to cook and prepare veggies and fruits.
  3. Placing "conversation starters" in barbershops, nail salons, and hair salons in the form of signage, flyers, palm cards, phone cases, magazines, pens, and short educational videos on a television.
  4. Strategic messaging on salon capes.
  5. Hosting weekly or bi–weekly events to have testing and screenings on site with names like: "Healthy Tuesdays" or "BP (Blood Pressure) Wednesdays", "Freaky Fridays". (These are only suggestions to show how the title of the event can be creative and appropriate to the business to draw clients in.)
  6. Have a referral plan for positive HIV test results, high blood pressure readings, and high glucose results.

We see it fit to include other chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension for two main reasons:

  1. As infectious disease professionals, we have found it challenging to engage populations solely on HIV versus overall health.
  2. Our goal is to normalize HIV into the context and conversation of overall health, rather than "that disease that doesn´t apply to me".

Q5 Was your innovation implemented? If so, please explain when, the number of people impacted, and the results.


Q6 Please identify the SDH Domain that your innovation addresses. (Select all that apply.)


Social and Community Context,

Health and Health Care,

Neighborhood and Environment,

Q7 I give the Department of Health the right to share the information submitted in this application publicly (for example: on the DOH website). I understand that there is no monetary reward/reimbursement for my submission or for attending the summit should my innovation be selected.

I consent to have my innovation shared