Rona Siskind is a health specialist at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Division of AIDS (DAIDS), where she has worked for more than 30 years. Since early in her tenure at DAIDS, she has focused on community engagement, communications, and training. She has worked to create guidance materials for research staff to better integrate Community Advisory Boards (CABs) and other community engagement activities into their work and developed training tools to help community members become better equipped to provide input into the research.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rona became an active member of the ACTG’s ACTIV-2 CAB. She worked to connect sites and community organizations to help reach priority populations, facilitated speaking engagements and webinars to increase awareness of the study among clinicians and the community, and reviewed the messaging and content of outreach and website materials.
Rona has always considered the voice of community to be an essential component of the research process and has seen the role of community evolve over the years. Appreciation of community’s important contributions has also grown tremendously. The ACTG has always had an active and dedicated CAB and has been a model for how to establish and work with CABs. Her hope is that the ACTG can continue to set the standard for researcher-community partnerships that improve the science and the community’s acceptance of and interest in both HIV and COVID-19 research.