Expert Seminar on Social Isolation

Date: 4 October 2019

HIV Scotland's Policy and Research Manager, Jeffrey Hirono, briefly introduces the seminar on Social Isolation.

Jeffrey is responsible for the research that informs the work of HIV Scotland. In particular, Jeffrey explores inequalities that drive negative health behaviours, including HIV-related stigma and the factors which create and reinforce barriers to HIV testing. Jeffrey was the lead author of Scotland's review of the factors associated with HIV testing which identifies interventions aimed at reducing levels of undiagnosed HIV and late diagnosis. Jeffrey also leads work on the quality and consistency of sexual health education, and in developing human rights centred M&E frameworks.

First Speaker: Fiona Cross, Director of Community Services at Age Scotland, on Tackling Loneliness among older adults

Fiona joined Age Scotland in December 2019 as the Director of Community Services and is enjoying the opportunities and challenges of working for a national charity. Prior to that she led two Edinburgh based organisations, the Ripple, which is committed to community-led responses that improve the quality of life for all residents living in Restalrig and Lochend and Link Up Women’s Support Centre, supporting women to support each other in an environment that helps build good mental health and emotional wellbeing. On arriving in Edinburgh in 1993 she worked for Waverley Care Trust as a Charge Nurse at Milestone House before moving to Mid and East Lothian Drugs Project initially as a Community Drugs Worker and then as Assistant Manager. Fiona has found the voluntary sector to be her natural home, is an experienced leader and is passionate about putting people and communities at the centre of the design and delivery of services.

Second Speaker: Cathy Crawford, Lothian HIV Patient Forum, on Social Isolation for People Living with HIV

Cathy Crawford is an active member of The Lothian HIV Patient Forum and has lived in Edinburgh for about the last twenty years.  Prior to retirement she taught English and trained teachers both in the UK and a number of other countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Botswana and China.

Third Speaker: Dr Meaghan Kall, Principal Scientist (Epidemiology), Blood Safety, Hepatitis, STIs and HIV National Infection Service Public Health England, on the Social Isolation Results from Positive Voices survey

Meaghan is an epidemiologist in the national HIV surveillance team at Public Health England since 2009. She leads the ‘Positive Voices’ surveillance programme: a nationally representative HIV patient survey which aims to understand the experience and needs of people living with HIV in the UK. Her research interests lie in patient-reported outcomes, quality of life measurement, health inequalities, and survey methods research. She is a PhD student at University College London and her project focuses on the robust development and implementation of the Positive Voices survey.

Fourth Speaker: Hosanna Bankhead, Founder and CEO of Hwupenyu, on Social Isolation in Marginalised Communities

Hosanna is a woman living with HIV for the past 31 years. In 2003 on coming to the United Kingdom, Hosanna enrolled at Edinburgh Napier University to study MBA part-time. During this time, she was able to get a part-scholarship to study MSc. Social Development and Health specialising in HIV and gender health at Queen Margaret University. With the following qualifications, Hosanna has worked for Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland as Health Trainer under the Elton John AIDS Foundation project. On leaving this post, Hosanna joined HIV Scotland as Development Manager for a short stint. In 2013, Hosanna decided to form a charity Hwupenyu Health and Wellbeing Project, which is culturally sensitive to the needs of African people living in Glasgow. This came about because of Hosanna’s journey of living with HIV in Scotland. The organisation has been operating from the Gorbals, in Glasgow for the past six years.