About Project ARK at Washington University in St. Louis-
St. Louis, Missouri

Project ARK (AIDS/HIV Resources and Knowledge) is an HIV/AIDS care and prevention program of the Washington University School of Medicine. Initially funded as the St. Louis region’s Ryan White Part D recipient, Project ARK has developed a comprehensive, coordinated network of the School of Medicine’s providers, which integrates the delivery of HIV primary care with social support services. Project ARK is the largest provider of care and prevention services to HIV-infected and at-risk youth (ages 13-24) in the St. Louis region. Project ARK's sister program, Washington University Adult Infectious Disease Clinic (WUID HIV Clinic) serves as the Ryan White Part C recipient for the St. Louis region and the Part C/D program operates as an integrated one-stop model of care.

Website: Project ARK at Washington University

Adapted Model of Care: A Youth-Focused Behavioral Health Case Management Intervention

Intervention Service Area: St. Louis HIV Service Region of Missouri, which includes the City of St. Louis and six counties - St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren, Franklin, and Jefferson

Intervention: Youth and young Black Men who have Sex with Men (YBMSM) in the St. Louis Service Region have disproportionate rates of HIV/AIDS and face a high burden of related health and behavioral health needs. YBMSM, ages 18-29, have high HIV incidence rates and poor health outcomes along the HIV Care Continuum compared to adults age 30 and over. Specifically, youth/young adults exhibit lower rates of linkage, retention, and viral load suppression, both within Project ARK and in the St. Louis Service Region as a whole. This intervention will focus on this age group and will utilize Peer Navigators who will assist patients to improve their health outcomes, based on the HIV Care Continuum measures. Additionally, the Peer Navigators will use mHealth strategies to facilitate ongoing interaction with patients. The integration of a structured and intensive, peer-based model of patient navigation is believed to mitigate negative health outcomes for patients and improve overall organizational goals for the Care Continuum.

Project ARK selected this model of care based on the following components:

  • Client-centered with an individualized care plan that is grounded in a shared goal-setting approach;
  • Lends itself to be fully integrated into Project ARK’s multidisciplinary team approach;
  • Stipulates an intensive frequency of meetings with the Peer Navigator over a defined time period;
  • Provides clear structure to a peer-based model that is theory-driven; and
  • Guides setting goals and objectives which are based on a comprehensive assessment of psychosocial matters and current self-management skills.
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