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The Healthcare Foundation of NJ awards grant to Rutgers College of Nursing's Rachel Jones

(NEWARK, N.J., June 3, 2008) The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey awarded a one year $154,400 grant to Rachel Jones, a Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member, to create a series of 12 videos aimed at reducing HIV risk sexual behavior among young urban women.

The creation of the new video series is a follow-up to a 43-minute video, "A Story about Toni, Mike and Valerie," based on real stories told in focus groups with African American and Latina women in public housing and neighborhood centers in Newark and Jersey City. This pilot video, funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health, was created to evaluate the potential of a soap opera video to communicate HIV risk reduction within the context of emotionally charged relationships.

"The new series of soap opera videos will also be based on the stories told by women in focus groups. These focus groups yielded insights into the problems faced by women in protecting themselves against HIV/AIDS as well as the solutions" said Jones, assistant professor at the College of Nursing at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

"A pilot study to evaluate the effect of the original video had indicated that this approach could change attitudes related to HIV risk," said Jones, a Boonton Township, N.J. resident. "With funding from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, we will be able to create a series of 12 soap opera videos and then test the effect of the videos on HIV risk behavior. There is a critical need to engage in innovative approaches to reduce HIV/AIDS, and to base these approaches on the wisdom of women and men in the community."

Young students in multiple disciplines including nursing and the performing arts continue to participate in this research and to serve the community through practice.

Jones previously was a recipient of a National Library of Medicine (NLM) grant to create a computer-based interview that would categorize level of HIV risk and provide a version of "A Story about Toni, Mike and Valerie" tailored to participant's specific risk level. Recently, with NLM funding, the video is now available online at

Jones was recently awarded the New York Times Tribute to Nurses Educator of the Year Award and the Zonta Club of Essex County as Woman of the Year. She was selected as the first recipient of the Rutgers-Newark Provost's Community Engagement in Research Award for her AIDS/HIV research and she was also named by Nursing Spectrum as its 2008 New York/New Jersey regional finalist for its Nursing Excellence program.


Contact: Miguel Tersy
Rutgers University

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