Catalyst Fund

HIV/AIDS in the 21st Century: the Role of the Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Outreach, Education, and Stigma Reduction


Primary Participant:

Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig, Smathers Libraries, Health Science Center Libraries, archivist and historian, Director of Medical Humanities for the College of Medicine


Hannah Norton, Reference and Liaison Librarian; Rae Jesano, Liaison Librarian; Michele Tennant, Associate Director, Health Science Center Library

This project addresses continuing HIV/AIDS stigma and HIV/AIDS transmission, using the arts- video and theater- to educate target groups in Florida, which, because of its unique population characteristics, has the highest rate of HIV infection and deaths from AIDS in the country. The activities funded by Catalyst would focus involve the UF campus and students, complementing HSCL outreach projects. These projects include a National Library of Medicine grant educating on trustworthy HIV/AIDS websites.  The library also will host an NLM traveling exhibition with associated activities.   

  • A talk by Baligh Yehia, MD, UF COM graduate, University of Pennsylvania faculty and Assistant Deputy Undersecretary at the Veterans Health Administration on work with HIV
  • Production of HIV/AIDS informational videos through HSCL and Center for Arts in Medicine collaboration engaging the UF community
  • Staging the play “Patient A”, about UF student Kimberly Bergalis, infected with HIV/AIDS by her dentist. The play explores distinctions between “innocent” and “guilty” infection.  
  • Screening the film “Dallas Buyers Club,” which illustrates how HIV/AIDS forged a community.

The proposed activities in the Catalyst grant will reach several groups of students, showing how creative projects can address health problems and illuminate how humanities illuminate cultural health components. 

This project involves students from several colleges acting in videos, learning about theater use in health education, and its role in impacting ideas and fighting stigma.  It also includes faculty from Arts-in-Medicine, the Health Science Center Libraries, and the College of Medicine. The two performances of “Patient A” will be open to the Gainesville community. The videos will be loaded on the UF HSC Library YouTube channel; and shown to patients at the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic, HealthStreet, and the Gainesville healthcare community.

This project will provide video materials for free clinics to encourage clients to get tested for HIV, reach Florida populations who do not realize they are at risk, and educate about trustworthy HIV/AIDS information.  Additionally, it will work with UF students to show them not only the status of HIV as a health concern but also about how creative approaches, such as theater, help to deliver health messages and address misconceptions.