The Black AIDS Institute (BAI), a nationwide HIV advocacy group and service provider, has received an $8 million federal grant to fund an initiative to develop and train Black HIV advocates and leaders, according to a press release from the Los Angeles–based organization.

The national training program will recruit students from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and focus on fighting the epidemic in Southern states, the current epicenter of the HIV epidemic. Most HBCUs are located in the South.

For the initiative, BAI will partner with Cardea, a national health, policy and social justice group led by women of color, and The Legacy Project, which promotes diversity in HIV research—for example, by coordinating between federal clinical trials and the minority populations most affected by the HIV epidemic. The Legacy Project is part of the Office of HIV/AIDS Network Coordination, which is itself within the National Institutes of Health.

The $8 million was awarded by the Health Resources & Services Administration and its HIV/AIDS Bureau (HRSA/HAB).

“This project will harness two decades of BAI’s experience in HIV workforce development, community mobilization and collaboration with minority-serving institutions,” said the Reverend Rob Newells-Newton, BAI’s director of national programs, in the press release. “We are appreciative of HRSA/HAB’s funding as a recognition of our collaborative approach that brings together stellar partnerships with Cardea and Legacy Project, scientific guidance from BAI’s all-Black scientific advisory committee, mentorship from BAI’s African American HIV University (AAHU), and outreach by BAI’s Black Treatment Advocates Network. This effort will be a testament to the Black excellence and expertise that are entirely capable of addressing and ending HIV in Black America.”

For recent news about BAI, see “New Leadership and Consultants at the Black AIDS Institute”; for other POZ articles about BAI, click #Black AIDS Institute and read such stories as “Racial Justice Index: A New Tool to Combat Racism Within HIV Groups.”

In related federal funding news, HRSA, the federal health agency that oversees nearly 90 programs, announced this month that it had awarded $2.21 billion to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The program invests in state, local and community-based groups that provide HIV prevention, treatment and care. Nearly half of people living with HIV in the United States receive support from the program. To learn where the new funding is invested, see “How Will the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Spend Its $2.21 Billion?