history of UCHAPS

The concept of UCHAPS began as an alliance among the six jurisdictions directly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct HIV prevention activities. Early in 1998, after recognizing the lack of a concerted, urban-focused advocacy effort for prevention funding, analogous to the effective efforts on behalf of Ryan White-funded cities, the New York City PPG initiated a discussion on creating such a collaboration with the other five CDC directly funded jurisdictions (Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco). This idea was brought to a meeting at the Community Planning Leadership Summit (CPLS) in March 1998, and was enthusiastically received. Representatives of the six community planning groups (CPGs) present at the meeting agreed on a resolution addressed to the CDC calling for a dialogue and greater attention to urban HIV prevention issues.

Representatives of the six jurisdictions met next in August 1998 in Chicago. At that meeting there was a consensus that enhanced advocacy efforts for urban HIV prevention were necessary; that there were challenges in the effective implementation of community planning in shaping HIV prevention interventions in these jurisdictions; and that the six jurisdictions could benefit substantially from closer communication and collaborative relationships. CDC representatives who were present at the meeting supported these conclusions. A decision to create a coalition based on the community planning model, consisting of the health departments and CPGs in the six jurisdictions, emerged from the Chicago meeting. The coalition would take a two pronged approach: 1) independent of CDC support, it would focus on enhancing HIV prevention advocacy focused on the challenges of the urban epidemic and 2) with CDC support, it would focus on improved information sharing, technology transfer, and program development among the six jurisdictions. The name – the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services (UCHAPS) – was established shortly after this meeting.

UCHAPS moved forward with developing strategic partnerships with national organizations, namely AIDS Action Council (now AIDS United) for HIV prevention funding and policy advocacy, and the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) for communications, information sharing and support. Subsequently, UCHAPS increased its direct advocacy efforts, developed the first Urban HIV Prevention Agenda, and formalized a process by which the directly funded jurisdictions could share information and monitor the priority setting and funding of local community based organizations.

In 2010, UCHAPS was recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and has continued to play a critical role in shaping the future of HIV prevention. The membership and staff played integral roles in the development and implementation of key national strategies redirecting efforts at the federal level, including the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, CDC health department FOA PS12-1201, ECHPP, and 12 Cities Project. Following the release of CDC FOA PS12-1201, which increased the number of directly funded jurisdictions, UCHAPS membership also expanded in 2012 to include Atlanta, Baltimore, and Fort Lauderdale.