WOONSOCKET â€” Rhode Islandâ€™s First Lady Stephanie Chafee will be visiting Woonsocket Thursday at a public forum at the Woonsocket Harris Public Library entitled â€śWomen, Health Disparities and HIV/STI Prevention: Building Healthy Communities and Families in Rhode Island.â€ť
The forum will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the library, 303 Linton Ave.
First Lady Chafee is the honorary chairwoman and will give opening remarks. Bisola O. Ojikutu, MD, MPH, will provide the keynote presentation that highlights racial disparities in HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) rates and discuss social barriers to medical services.
â€śThis forum is intended to identify opportunities that will strengthen referral systems and expand womenâ€™s access to HIV/STI prevention, screening and health care services,â€ť said Thomas Bertrand, AIDS Project Rhode Island executive director.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show social issues associated with poverty including limited access to quality health care, housing and HIV prevention education, directly and indirectly increase the risk for HIV infection and affect the health of people living with HIV/AIDS.
On trend with national figures, HIV/AIDS and many STIs in Rhode Island disproportionately impact communities of color and especially affect women in these communities.
Forum host organizations include AIDS Project Rhode Island, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Sojourner House and the Northern Rhode Island YWCA.
Admission is free and a continental breakfast will be served. Attending clinical professionals are eligible for Continuing Education Units.
Stephanie Chafee is a Rhode Island native who earned a B.S. in nursing from Boston University, an MBA from the University of Connecticut, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Rhode Island. She is a Registered Nurse, and was one of the first nurses in Rhode Island to work exclusively with HIV/AIDS patients.