Realness and Resilience — Reflections from Marginalized Voices During COVID-19

Thursday, June 17th 2021

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

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While implementing physical distancing is an essential step in reducing transmission of a deadly virus, it disproportionately affects older adults and immune-compromised people. Being cut off from traditional in-person activities over a long period of time has been particularly jarring for isolated people. It’s particularly challenging for people without the financial resources or technological knowledge to connect online. Our session will explore various cohorts we worked with, present lessons learned, and provide recommendations for reducing barriers for engaging people living with HIV/AIDS, especially long term survivors in a peer-based, virtual platform.


  1. Identify concerns expressed by people living with HIV/AIDS as it relates to Covid-19.
  2. Describe potential stumbling blocks when replicating a culturally-relevant virtual peer support program.
  3. Analyze key handouts like ground rules, evaluations, participant comments, etc to assist with a quick launch.


Paul Iarrobino

Our Bold Voices

Paul Iarrobino is a community activist, speaker, and documentarian with over three decades of gerontology experience. He developed virtual social support groups for older adults to safely connect and support each other during the pandemic. Most recently, he led a grant-funded initiative that helped


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Spotlight On

Karam Mounzer, MD

Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring.

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Dr. Karam Mounzer

Dr. Mario Cruz

Dr. Mario CruzDr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who serves as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He has presented and/or published in the fields of community violence and domestic violence prevention, quality improvement, behavioral health, curriculum development and mentorship. In 2019 he received the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Award for Innovations in Healthcare.

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