April 24, 2022
Department of Psychology
College of Social Science
Represented by George Ayala
Executive Director, 2009–2020
The Community Engagement Scholarship Award honors Robin Lin Miller, professor of psychology, and MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights for their partnership in implementing and studying community-led strategies to address barriers to HIV care for gay and bisexual men and transgender women in African and Caribbean countries.
Miller’s scholarship focuses on the effectiveness of strategies to improve access to HIV prevention, testing, and care, including those designed and implemented by community-led organizations and HIV-affected citizens. Her scholarship has contributed to the identification of community- and structural-level intervention strategies to help the highest-risk adolescent and young adult populations avoid exposure to HIV infection and access timely and affirming HIV testing and medical care. Miller is also a leading international scholar on program evaluation approaches appropriate to LGBTQ community-led, HIV-focused programs.
The partnership between MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights and Miller began in 2016. A major goal of this partnership has been to understand and to improve the processes by which gay and bisexual men and transgender women can document experiences of stigma and discrimination in the provision of heath care and establish partnerships with local health care providers and other institutions to train providers and to develop systems of redress of rights violations. The partnership focuses principally on settings in which homosexuality is criminalized and policies restrict LGBTQ civil society participation.
Through Project ACT (the Advocacy and Other Community Tactics to Challenge Barriers to HIV Care for Gay and Bisexual Men and Transgender Women), this partnership has resulted in sustainable, community-led monitoring systems, routine training of personnel in health care facilities, and improved policies and practices in private and government health care settings. This partnership also resulted in improving the capacity of small LGBTQ civil society organizations to advocate with mainstream institutions and governments on the health care needs of gay and bisexual men and transgender women. The partnership facilitated increases in evaluative thinking and improved evaluation practices at MPact and within the Project ACT partner institutions. Finally, the partnership has resulted in diverse dissemination of products for lay and academic audiences.
This university-community collaboration provides an excellent example of the scholarship-guided outreach that Michigan State University is committed to as a land-grant university. Such collaborations are systematic, have practical and theoretical significance, and include a mutually beneficial relationship between MSU and a community partner.
This partnership merits recognition for making a difference in the lives of gay and bisexual men and transgender women in multiple countries. Additionally, this work has provided a model to the United Nations AIDS Program and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief of community-led approaches to addressing the stigma and discrimination that fuels the HIV epidemic.