By Marni Amirault, Community-Based Research Manager (East)

If you’re like me, you’re sitting at your desk, looking at the calendar wondering where on earth the time has gone! We’re more than half way through 2014, if you can believe that. This summer has certainly flown by and I think that’s because it’s been – for me at least – jam-packed and fast-paced.

The month of June was spent preparing for the CAAN Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Toronto at the beginning of July. Sherri and I were invited to attend a research presentation given to the APHA Caucus on research by our colleague, Renée Masching. This was the first time we had been invited into the caucus meeting and it proved to be informative to hear firsthand what our APHAs had to say in regards to research.

During the Skills Building Day, Sherri and I gave a brief presentation on the Greater Involvement of People living with or affected by HIV/AIDS (GIPA) and Meaningful Engagement of People living with or affected by HIV/AIDS (MEPA) principles. We asked delegates to help us understand how we could be better implementing these theories in our work and we were pleased with the rich discussion it generated.
We also invited the AHA Centre’s Community Research Associates (CRAs) to the AGM and Skills Building Workshop this year. These positions serve as the eyes and ears in their regions for the centre and their training took place on July 4th and 5th. Having the group attend the AGM allowed us all to meet face-to-face for the first time and it was a great opportunity to introduce them to the CAAN membership and organization. We are getting ready to fill the other six CRA positions this fall, so stay tuned!

Another highlight of the season was attending my first International AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve attended many meetings since starting at CAAN in 2009, but none were like AIDS 2014 and the Indigenous pre-conference in Sydney, which surpassed even my greatest expectations.

It was humbling to see how much our international colleagues working in Indigenous HIV and AIDS look to us – both Canada and CAAN – as global leaders in the field of Indigenous HIV and AIDS-related work. Our Australian counterparts are even launching their first ever Australian Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Day event this coming December and we cannot wait to hear about it.

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