Gail Wyatt, director of the Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities at UCLA’s Semel Institute, has been awarded a $1.5-million grant over three years from the California Wellness Foundation, a private philanthropy. The grant will fund a demonstration project in Los Angeles County focused on documenting and disseminating best practices, and developing innovations in prevention and early intervention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections among black and Latina women.

Black women and Latinas together represent less than a quarter of all U.S. women but make up the large majority of women currently living with HIV. HIV/AIDS-related illness is among the leading causes of death for black women ages 25-34. In addition, black, Latina and other minority women in the United States have high rates of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. These women also face high risks of acquiring HIV and STIs due to the social and economic conditions that make it difficult to protect their sexual health, such as high rates of poverty, ongoing trauma, income inequality and unemployment.

The California Wellness Foundation is a private, independent foundation with a mission to protect and improve the health and wellness of Californians.