What are ZIP Coalitions?
ZIP Coalitions are a coordinated, community-based approach to identifying needs, building a system of supports and services to address those needs, and collectively monitoring progress and working together to strengthen the system to meet the needs of all community members. They are responsible for leading regional efforts to end the HIV epidemic and eliminate HCV in Indiana, which includes engaging diverse partners, especially PWLE, and using data and information to set priorities and act strategically.
The ZIP Coalition model is a promising strategy for building the capacity of traditional and newly engaged partners to lead HIV/HCV elimination efforts in their community. The stronger the ZIP Coalition is, the more impactful their work will be. At a minimum, ZIP Coalition leadership involves organizing meetings, follow-up, documentation, and logistics, which require staff time. Additionally, ZIP Coalitions must have the capacity to facilitate meetings, track progress toward goals, prepare materials and reports, and communicate with stakeholders and partners. Each region has different capacity levels to confidently tackle the range of expectations and activities. Currently, ZIP Coalitions receive financial support from the IDOH designed to offset costs associated with coalition management as well as technical assistance from partners including The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis and the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center (MATEC).
Power in People
ZIP Coalitions are driven by individuals and organizations committed to working together to end the HIV epidemic and eliminate HCV, and to support optimal quality of life for people living with HIV/HCV. Each coalition is led by a small team of passionate, strategic, community leaders. Ideally, this team of three to five people represents a variety of sectors, interests, and communities.
The work of engaging stakeholders to collectively identify and meet the needs of populations served requires a dynamic, strategic, and collaborative approach. ZIP Coalitions work together to establish a shared understanding of key issues, and to develop a leadership and management framework that supports and directs their work together.
ZIP Coalitions meet at least quarterly but may meet more frequently if they choose. Agendas are developed in advance and include:
Data review, interpretation, and discussion in the context of change from previous quarters – (IDOH provides quarterly community- and agency-level data reports)
Identification of emerging opportunities and challenges
Strategy adjustments such as identifying and recruiting additional partners, collaborating to provide programs and services, and identifying additional data or information to be collected and reported back to the group
Additionally, agendas are sometimes enhanced with the following:
Educational presentations on best practices, latest trends, etc.
Partner updates and success stories
Workgroup presentations or breakout discussions
Assessment, planning, and/or evaluation activities
Engaging ZIP Coalition Coaches
In 2023, five ZIP Coalition Coaches began supporting the work of regional ZIP Coalitions to engage people with lived experience in regional efforts to end HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) in their communities. Coaches were engaged because our current systems do not ensure equal access to services and programs that diagnose, treat, prevent, and respond to HIV and HCV. In addition to having personal experience with HIV and/or HCV, the coaches have experience with coaching, community organizing, coalition or community building, and/or advocacy.
Coaches collaborate with ZIP Coalition leadership teams to ensure that people living with HIV and/or HCV and people from historically and systematically marginalized communities are meaningfully engaged in coalition work. Coaches help the Coalitions create a welcoming environment for PWLE and provide encouragement and connection to tools, resources, and strategies for reaching into the community to invite people to the table.
Meet the Coaches!
Living with HIV for a decade has given me profound insights into the challenges many face while living with HIV. One part of this is witnessing people's need for community. I am excited to be a ZIP IN Coach because it helps me help my community: with our shared goal of bringing more people with lived experience to the table, we are helping to build community. By guiding coalitions to include these voices, we are empowering people with lived experience. Strength rises from empowerment.
I believe that my life experiences will provide a solid, diverse foundation of coaching, team building, and working collectively as a unit.
I have been involved in community organizing, political campaigns on all levels, and growing and mentoring community-based teams in three different states, over twenty-plus years, educating the public about safer sex, HIV, AIDS, and Hep C.
I have been HIV positive for thirty-five years this past May. During that time I have witnessed several approaches to fostering community involvement and recruiting, training, and retaining teams and leaders; Some good and others not so good.
I hope that I can share, and draw from my life experience as well as learn from others with similar backgrounds in developing an effective team to combat HIV and Hep-C here in Indiana and reach our goal of "Zero Is Possible".
I want to be a ZIP-IN Coach because I know what it feels like to be counted out and not have a voice, and I want to be a voice for those who are afraid to stand up for themselves!
I want to be a ZIP IN Coach because I want to empower those with lived experience, coalition leaders, and members through thought-partnership to create sustainable change. Throughout my roles in public health, DEIB , and HIV advocacy, I have deepened my passion for health equity and have learned that building culturally competent, diverse, and community-connected teams is the key to achieving better health outcomes. My goal is to bridge the gap between organizations with resources and the community in need, facilitating meaningful engagement and lasting impact.
I want to be a ZIP-IN Coach because I am a person with lived experience and know some of our needs. I care about us infected and those who are at risk in becoming positive. I want to be the voice crying in the wilderness bring attention support and an end to stigma and awareness to the unaware by education. I have 7 years as a peer supporter, and 2 1/2 years as a Linkage to care coordinator and 32 years of Sobriety. As a Zip-IN Coach I will be able to partner with community stakeholders and build relationships in the community and provide education regarding HIV treatment. In the past I was able to establish an HIV ministry in the city of Buckeye, AZ, a rural community in Arizona.