Community Engagement in 2021

Each of our lab members work together to continuously give back in a way that acknowledges the connection of our research to the “real world” – and more directly, to those voices and lived experiences that we describe in our research studies.

In 2021, our lab members worked to give back to local, national, and international communities through their time, donations, financial support in the following ways:

Transformative Talk Series:

In this event, we brought together Jesus Heberto Guillen Solis and David Spiher to discuss the experiences of Long Term Survivors of HIV/AIDS and commemorate the 5th anniversary of the documentary, Last Men Standing.

The event was an overwhelming success, drawing 96 audience members and meaningful conversation.

This presentation was to honor and in memory of Dr. Ralph Thurlow, 1959-2020.

About the Film:

The film, by Chronicle staff visual journalists Erin Brethauer and Tim Hussin, was created over the course of 10 months and was released in conjunction with a special 20-page newspaper section featuring a story by Erin Allday and an accompanying online package of stories, videos and interactive graphics.

“We felt like every day was wonderful and anything could happen.” Rich and distinguished stories unfold among the lives of long-term survivors who have learned how to celebrate, heal, love, and thrive after the devastation of the early AIDS crisis. In this cathartic and intimate documentary, eight men look back on their experiences and then toward the future with the strength and resiliency they have cultivated over the past 30 years.

Survivors are still affected by the trauma of not only their diagnosis but also the loss of community and way of life. Nobody knew they would grow old with AIDS. Many abandoned careers and went on long-term disability to wait out their death sentence, and now they face an uncertain economic future. As they age, and as the Castro neighborhood changes, long-term survivors are also creating new ways to connect, and to find meaning and community. This meditative documentary, the first full-length film produced by the San Francisco Chronicle, draws attention to the emotional and inspiring history of the city’s gay community in the post-AIDS era.

— Thom Venegoni, Frameline40

About the Panel:

Jesus Heberto Guillen Solis

HIV Long Term Survivor and cancer survivor, living with horrible chronic pain, but thankful to be an optimistic proud gay- single- Latino man. I consider myself a bridge, love connecting people, countries, souls, dimensions….and all. Founder of the HIV long term survivors International network and chair of the HIV and Agin SF workgroup.

David Spiher

HIV Long Term Survivor and artist who lives in the East Bay and makes art—currently producing prints and paintings—at the Compound Studios in Oakland.

Event Sponsors:

This event was cohosted by the Department of Psychology at Portland State University, the Diversity & Identity Management Lab in the Leeds Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, and HIV Long Term Survivors: The Grassroots Movement, and co-organized by Nicholas A. Smith, PhD & Sabrina D. Volpone, PhD.