by Robert Renteria
A lot of us hear the term, partner.
“Partner,” in the professional world can mean a lot of different things. We’ve seen it in writing, heard it from supervisors, and even used it in presentations and reports. In practice, the supplementing of efforts and funds as partnerships has turned into the status quo for most of our work.
The L.A .Trust’s efforts to engage school and clinic staff on Substance Use include two grants; T.U.P.E. (Tobacco Use Prevention Education) which focuses on education of substance use prevention, and the California Community Foundation’s /Hilton Foundation’s S.B.I.R.T. (Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment) grant, which has adopted the name of W.A.S.U.P. (Wellness and Adolescent Substance Use Prevention). The S.B.I.R.T grant is in partnership with Children’s Hospital LA’s Department of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine. W.A.S.U.P focuses on providing adolescents with providers at 4 of our Wellness Centers with S.B.I.R.T. training, so that they can be screened and connected with youth appropriate services. With such a natural overlap, a partnership was inevitable, and is turning out to be a strong and solid venture.
T.U.P.E has included marijuana into its curriculum, and by focusing our combined efforts on Mental Health Stigma (on campus services that will assist youth when accessing help) we hope to partner up and make a combined effort to increase knowledge of school and clinic resources. The recent news on the outbreak overdoses of Spice (an illegal, synthetic form of marijuana) is an example of how this partnership can be leveraged. Students can be exposed to information education on the effects of using the drug, and they can also be screened and connected to services if needed.
Aside from the natural overlap, T.U.P.E. and the W.A.S.U.P projects will also be looking into students campaign highlighting mental health stigma, since most substance use in adolescents has been linked to underlying issues. Stay tuned to learn more about what creative projects they come up with this school year.
Robert Renteria is a Latino gay man and a passionate native Angelino. He previously worked as the Student Engagement Advisor for a CDC – DASH grant (Division of Adolescent and School Health) through The L.A. Trust in LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District). He has volunteered and worked in HIV prevention, testing and education for over 15 years. He’s also worked as a men’s group facilitator, Community organizer, counselor, research assistant, and program coordinator for several HIV community based organizations in Los Angeles and other parts of California. Robert has a special interest in helping end HIV stigma, especially in the LGBTQ community. He believes that a shame-free community is vital for reaching a healthy end to the epidemic. Robert was also cast as a part of the CDC’s “Start talking, Stop HIV” campaign. Most recently, he has been an advocate and activist for PrEP, and helped found the LACPWG (LA County PEP & PrEP Work Group).