Leadership Training Institute (LTI)

LTI is a peer-to-peer training program “by and for” the New York State community of people living with HIV or Hepatitis C, using PrEP, and accessing harm-reduction services related to substance use. The continually evolving project fosters the development of knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy that allows people to manage their health and advocate for themselves.

One reason for the success of our country’s response to HIV and, more recently, Hepatitis C, has been the longstanding priority placed on involving people with shared lived experience with these chronic conditions in the response.

Unfortunately, not everyone affected has had the same opportunity to have a seat at the table or equitable access to information and treatment. Many members of the priority populations have low health literacy, are facing debilitating levels of stigma, have never engaged in public speaking or participated in planning processes, and have not been employed in the workforce, some for a considerable amount of time. They need support to develop a broad array of knowledge and skills to fulfill these roles effectively.

The New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute helped develop the Leadership Training Institute (LTI) as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting people living with HIV/AIDS.

The initiative

Since 1992, the Leadership Training Institute (LTI) has served as a visionary mechanism for promoting the capacity, leadership, and input of people living with HIV (and later Hepatitis C) in policy and programmatic decision-making.

LTI is a service delivery program that provides training and peer mentoring support to individuals across New York State. It is also a leadership incubator that serves as a safe space and springboard for graduates to develop personal and professional goals and serve their communities.

Under CAI’s administration since 1997, the focus of LTI has evolved in response to the changing epidemic. It initially focused on providing people living with HIV with knowledge and advocacy skills to influence policy, funding, and research. In 2007, it expanded, first to help build the capacity of people with HIV to self-manage their health, then later to promote economic self-sufficiency, including by supporting long-term employment. Importantly, LTI has also grown to include people with Hepatitis C and substance use disorder, as well as people using the prevention medication PrEP.

Across all of these phases, CAI has used a community-driven process that both shapes LTI’s work and ensures that LTI addresses the needs of populations that are affected by HIV or Hepatitis C, using harm reduction, or taking PrEP for prevention of HIV.

The impact

More than 3,500 people have graduated from the LTI training program. LTI helps improve the self-management skills of participants, which in turn increases rates of service uptake, retention in services, and treatment success.

LTI builds participants’ capacity to shape prevention, healthcare, and social services delivery systems across New York State—including through service on community advisory boards, planning councils, and peer review boards—and helps organizations that hire program participants develop structures, processes, and systems to integrate them into the workplace and ensure they earn a living wage.

The project also supports graduates in other post LTI job pursuits through its peer mentoring program.

Project funder

This project is funded by the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.

Leadership and contact

Rusty Chambliss, LTI Director: lti.contact@caiglobal.org

Website: lti.caiglobal.org