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Social Work department to host World AIDS Day Dec. 1

Nov. 19, 2008 -- Arkansas State University’s Department of Social Work in the College of Nursing and Health Professions will present its first World AIDS Day conference, Monday, Dec. 1, in Centennial Hall, on the third floor of the ASU Student Union, 101 North Caraway Road, Jonesboro.

The conference is designed to increase awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS in rural communities, especially in northeast Arkansas. Registration and breakfast begin at 7:45 a.m. There is no charge for the conference, and breakfast and lunch will be provided. The last day to register for the conference is Thursday, Nov. 20. To register, contact the conference organizer, Dr. Guitele Rahill ( or call 870-972-3984.

The World AIDS Day conference marks the end of National HIV/AIDS Awareness Week which begins Monday, Nov. 24.

Dr. Mario De La Rosa, professor of Social Work, Justice and Public Affairs at Florida International University, is the keynote speaker of the World AIDS Day conference on Monday, Dec. 1. Dr. De La Rosa is also director of two Resource-Related Research Grant (R24) Centers of Excellence funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and by the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Also on the speaker’s slate are Dr. Maria Aysa-Lastra, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at FIU; Debbie Biazo, director of the Northeast Arkansas Regional AIDS Network (NARAN); and Tere Broderick, HIV Prevention Manager of the Department of Health of the State of Arkansas.

Following a welcome from ASU Chancellor Dr. Robert L. Potts, Dr. Susan Hanrahan, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, will address the gathering. 

To further increase awareness of HIV/AIDS on campus, members of the ASU student chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers will be wrapping trees throughout campus in red ribbon and handing out red ribbons to students and visitors on campus.

“This conference is only one of many proactive measures toward reducing the disparities in the occurrence of HIV/AIDS in this area,” said Dr. Rahill.  

Dr. Rahill is conducting research focusing on reducing health disparities in understudied and underrepresented populations. Dr. Rahill and conference co-chairs, Dr. Patricia Guy-Walls and Dr. Beverly Edwards, all professors of Social Work at ASU, hope that the conference will serve as a foundation for future research, investigating the relationship between HIV knowledge and HIV stigma, substance abuse, and sexual risk behaviors.

For more information on the conference, contact Dr. Rahill at the Department of Social Work at 870-972-3984.



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