Airhihenbuwa is 2011 recipient of Faculty Outreach Award

University Park, Pa. -- Collins O. Airhihenbuwa, professor and head of the Department of Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development, has received the 2011 Faculty Outreach Award.

The award honors faculty who have positively and substantially affected individuals, organizations or communities through problem solving or development as a result of extending their scholarship.

Since the early 1990s, Airhihenbuwa's work has addressed health disparities and promoting cultural equity in health in South Africa and several other African countries. In particular, Airhihenbuwa has helped to institute methods that have an enormous impact on the HIV/AIDS pandemic that has devastated that continent.

From 2004 to 2009, Airhihenbuwa served as the principal investigator on a grant from the National Institute on Mental Health on training local researchers in methods for conducting prevention research on HIV/AIDS stigma in South Africa. At the core of potentially successful preventive interventions related to HIV infection is the lessening of stigma, allowing successful outreach to thousands. By the conclusion of this project, 30 students and six faculty members at the University of the Western Cape and the University of Limpopo had been trained and their research skills strengthened by using his PEN-3 cultural model to research HIV and AIDS related stigma in South Africa. Airhihenbuwa's PEN-3 model examines the domains of relationships and expectations, cultural empowerment and cultural identity.

Airhihenbuwa is a principal consultant to two research networks in Africa -- the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance (SAHARA) and a research network under the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). Under the Western Region of SAHARA, he has been involved in the training of African researchers selected from West African countries to address HIV/AIDS from a multicultural perspective. The CODESRIA research network funded 12 young African scholars to focus on different aspects of the sociopolitical contexts of HIV/AIDS in different African countries.

Other past initiatives include training leaders for child survivor programs in Africa and developing a cultural-based strategy for adolescent health issues in South Africa.

Scholars worldwide use Airhihenbuwa's PEN-3 cultural model to guide the development and implementation of social and cultural aspects of health promotion and disease prevention interventions and capacity building projects.

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Last Updated March 28, 2011