The North Idaho HIV Planning Group
Formed in 2007 in response to a request from Dr. Galen Louis of Idaho State University, the North Idaho HIV Planning Group took on a life of its own in 2008. The North Idaho AIDS Coalition, on whose web site this information is to be found, gives structure to the Planning Group which has no assets, no offices, and no staff. Its mission statement, composed under the direction of Dr. Louis whose work was grant funded, is as follows:
The mission of the North Idaho HIV Planning Group is to deliver a coordinated approach that creates a supportive community environment for people with HIV/AIDS through heightened awareness, targeted educational strategies, and improved treatment services.
For the most part, the Planning Group has chosen to fulfill its mission by supporting existing programs of NIAC; while the Planning Group is small and free standing, it most closely represents an auxiliary at a hospital.
The original membership of the Planning Group included the NIAC Executive Director, then Dani Mahoney and now Stacie Lechot, both licensed social workers; Lisa St. John, M. Ed, LMCH, of the Spokane Regional Health District; Debbie Nadeau, M. A., of the Community Justice Programs of Kootenai County; Timothy Hunt, Ph. D., then North Idaho Field Organizer of Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest and now retired; Donna Holden, RN, BSN, then of the Panhandle Health District and now a case manager with in Washington; Susan Souvenir, B. Pharm. and Medical Office Manager for Infectious Disease Medicine, LLC; Linda Michal, BSN, NP, and Dean of Students at North Idaho College; Cindy Fine, Health Educator for Planned Parenthood; and Beverly Roots, MSW, a social worker at the Kootenai Medical Center. Added at a later time were Jennifer Whitney, BS, of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, Lisa Cramer, RN, BSN, a nurse at Panhandle Health District, and representatives from the Human Rights Education Institute in Coeur d’Alene.
Meeting quarterly for about two hours, the Planning Group is deeply involved in the planning and implementation of World AIDS Day, held annually at nearby North Idaho College and the Human Rights Education Institute. Its current Chair, Ms. Souvenir, has been active in providing HIV education in the public schools and also spearheaded a project whereby educational videos (“Bloodlines”) and lesson plans have been distributed to local educators and nurses. The Planning Group also has received several grants from the Idaho Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS (IACHA) which have been used to support its programs and also programs developed by NIAC.
The Planning Group seeks new members and is open to all. We seek wisdom and commitment rather than any sort of health care or social work background. Information about membership can be obtained from any board member or from the staff of NIAC. The time commitment is small and the financial commitment is virtually nothing but the work we do is important and interested parties are urged to contact us for further information on our work and meeting schedule.