Dr. Latrice Pichon

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Dr. Latrice Pichon, assistant professor at the University of Memphis School of Public Health

Who I am…

I’m Latrice Pichon. I’m an assistant professor at the University of Memphis School of Public Health in the division of social and behavioral sciences.

As a researcher, I do health behavior research, so my area of interest is the application of community-based participatory research and I work specifically in HIV.

Communities can be faith communities, churches, community-based organizations. That’s one arm of my work, working with faith communities or engaging faith communities in some kind of way to get some preliminary information about the story here in Memphis and how HIV is addressed in the church.

What led me here…

As an undergraduate, I volunteered at Tulane Hospital, or Public Health School and Hospital, in New Orleans, and was introduced to public health.

I went to Mosaka, Zambia, to do some HIV policy work and I was admitted into this public health program in San Diego.

I was always interested in health and I think just working in HIV early on kinda led me to where I’m at today.

HIV in Memphis affects…

We among the highest in terms of STDs and HIV for major metropolitan cities. We have about, I think it’s 8,000 that are living with HIV. Certainly affecting lower socio-economic groups.

Primarily affecting African-American community. I think earlier in the epidemic it certainly was affecting mostly white men and then later on African-American women and children, and now I feel the crux of the issue is primarily affecting young men.

How faith plays a role in my work…

My faith has allowed me to pursue my career goals and to persevere despite having some personal things happen to me in my life—the sudden loss of my husband, just the challenges of being in this academic setting and doing this research.

In Memphis I cannot do the work that I’m doing without working with faith communities because that’s what this community is built on.

I define healthcare as…

For me, healthcare encompasses not just your physical health, but it’s also your mental health and, in this case, spiritual health. It’s having access to competent healthcare providers that address your physical health needs, your mental health needs, and then as well as your spiritual needs.

One of Memphis’ greatest healthcare challenges is…

These are health matters that are very stigmatizing and until we can address we are always going to have this challenge. I mean, I think we’re making strides to making this a little more acceptable, but it is a challenge here.

But what Memphis healthcare is doing right is…

I love the collaborative spirit of the providers, especially the HIV providers in HIV organizations and just those community members that have a stake in this work.

The biggest challenge in my healthcare work is…

We’re making traction with the faith communities that are highly motivated to address HIV and those that are currently addressing HIV in their context, in the faith context.

The traction with those who are not is obviously the challenge. The challenge I would say is getting the information into those churches.

The greatest reward in my healthcare work is…

There are people in organizations and churches that are eager to be involved in the research process. That there is an interest to address HIV, health disparities, HIV disparities.

I think the University of Memphis has done a really good job of promoting engaging communities and citizens from neighborhoods and communities to, to be involved in this work.

Learn more about the Ryan White Program. Learn more about HIV/AIDS and faith in Memphis. Learn more about Dr. Latrice Pichon. To read more about Dr. Pichon’s work, click here and here

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