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Moravian Nursing Grad Champions AIDS Partnership in the Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem, Pa., Monday, October 11, 2005—Allen C. Smith III, the first R.N. to go through Moravian College’s baccalaureate nursing program and receive the Bachelor of Science, is a pioneer in community health partnerships dealing with AIDS. His most recent project is a series of HIV community meetings for the Lehigh Valley area. The second meeting occurred last month.

Smith, who graduated with the charter class of nurses from St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing at Moravian College in 2003, is continuous quality improvement coordinator with the AIDS Activities Office at Lehigh Valley Hospital. His nursing certification is from the former Allentown Memorial Hospital, which was acquired by Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network.

On September 15 at the Glasbern Country Inn in Fogelsville, the AIDS activities office and the community group FACT (Fighting AIDS Continuously Together) co-sponsored the second HIV community meeting, a response to the positive feedback about the initial meeting six months ago.

The event brought together private physicians; staff members at Lehigh Valley Hospital, St. Luke's Hospital, Sacred Heart Hospital, and Easton Hospital; Bethlehem and Allentown’s health departments and Carbon/Monroe/Pike Drug and Alcohol Commission; community groups such as Latinos for Healthy Communities; and Northampton and Lehigh County prisons. “The list becomes larger with every event,” Smith says.

Because of thinner government funding, Smith says, local health agencies and providers must learn to work together and share resources. As an example, he points out that Lehigh Valley and St. Luke's Hospitals' HIV clinics will co-sponsor the second annual HIV client education program in April 2006.

He also notes that the HIV committee formed from the first community meeting is developing a multiple-provider handbook of HIV services in and around the Lehigh Valley. “This is what community health-care is all about,” he says.

He has worked in the AIDS Activities Office for eight years and collected data for research studies by Dr. Margaret Terry, a specialist in infectious diseases. They presented their work together at the World AIDS conferences in 2002 in Barcelona, Spain, and in 2003 in Paris. Their research tracks HIV-infected patients with a history of hepatitis A and B to see how medications for one condition affect the other.

In an e-mail to Janet Sipple, dean of Moravian’s School of Nursing, Smith wrote: “Moravian College has given me the tools to do something that no one else in the Lehigh Valley has been able to do: bridge the politics between all HIV providers.”

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the web site at www.moravian.edu.