FSU Center of Population Sciences for Health Equity Celebrates Graduate Assistants Fellowship with Association of Nurses in AIDS Care

Emily Stewart

Florida State University doctoral student and graduate assistant with the Center of Population Sciences for Health Equity (CPSHE), Crim Sabuncu, has been accepted into the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC) HIV & Aging Scholars Program.

This fellowship acceptance highlights Sabuncu’s dedication as a student in the College of Social Work Doctoral Program, to her research on intimate partner violence (IPV) and promoting health equity among marginalized and vulnerable populations. FSU College of Social Work Doctoral Program Director, Dr. Tripodi, extended his congratulations while highlighting her greatest strengths, stating, “She is a hard worker and very passionate about her research as well as collaboration with other students and participating in great community service.”

Sabuncu is mentored by CPSHE Assistant Director and mentor, Dr. Xavier Hall and has worked with the center as a graduate research assistant for over a year now. Through the development of the relationship, Dr. Xavier Hall shared the fellowship opportunity with Sabuncu and encouraged her to apply considering her background in HIV and Aging research. Together they worked on an NIH-funded study, examining minority stress and HIV-related trauma experiences among Vietnamese men who have sex with men (MSM), making this fellowship program a perfect fit for Sabuncu and her area of research.

“The center is so encouraging and makes me feel so empowered in my work,” stated Sabuncu.

For her proposed project in the program, the focus is on the intersection of intimate partner violence and its impact on HIV-related care engagement among aging HIV-positive men. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by this population, the study aims to explore the effects of IPV, including the use of community-specific methods for control by abusive partners within the LGBTQ+ community. The project intends to conduct semi-structured interviews with healthcare providers and patients to gather information on past experiences of IPV, its impacts on healthcare behaviors, and safety planning practices.

The goal of Sabuncu’s project is to complete ten interviews (5 patients living with HIV and 5 HIV healthcare providers) and analyze the data. Sabuncu will present her findings to CPSHE community partner FoundCare; with the “aim of increasing awareness of safety planning practices, informing changes in services, and contributing insights to the broader conversation on managing intimate partner violence in HIV-positive aging populations,” expressed Sabuncu when discussing her project proposal.

The ANAC HIV and Aging Scholars Program is a 6-month fellowship to train HIV health care professionals. As Sabuncu embarks on the program to enact her project proposal, she anticipates gaining hands-on experience and mentorship, further propelling her research goals, and making a meaningful impact in the field. The College of Social Work and CPSHE in the College of Nursing will continue to provide unwavering support, empowering her research endeavors.