The mission of DRIEP is to promote the values of diversity and inclusion through education and training to foster a company and community culture that is positive, inclusive, and affirming of diverse people. PATHS (Providers Accessing Training on HIV Stigma), is our newest program to train mental health providers, social workers, peer group facilitators, therapists, and counselors in the Southern United States about the impact that stigma and bias have on people living with HIV while accessing mental health care and social services.
Why are we focusing on the Southern states?
For over a decade, the South has been experiencing disproportionately higher rates of HIV compared to the rest of the United States.
The El Paso/ West Texas region continues to see new cases of HIV, especially among young transgender women and Latinx people of all genders. The effects of COVID and increased state hostility to HIV-prevention activities and comprehensive sex education have significantly weakened efforts to lessen HIV infection rates. El Paso is uniquely positioned as a border community to offer perspective and voices which are often left out of the discussion. Other communities of color in the South are also often left out of the discussion. By focusing this project on the Southern states, we aim to elevate those voices and address the challenges of intersectionality and compounding bias and stigma.
The PATHS program is made possible through funding and collaboration with:
What is Stigma Exactly?
Stigma is the labeling and stereotyping of a characteristic or trait that is deemed immoral, shameful, or otherwise undesirable. This is a powerful social process which leads to bias, exclusion, devaluation, and discrimination. Stigma is a primary cause of population health inequalities. (Foundation for Healthcare Equality).
Mental illness is still highly stigmatized, and this stigma is amplified for those who exist at the intersections of multiple oppressed social groups. Stigma itself can cause significant mental and emotional distress. Shame associated with stigma can create significant obstacles to equitable care.
What about a person who is living with HIV who needs to access mental healthcare? When you read "HIV", what comes to mind? Do you envision any physical traits of the individual or social characteristics? What about sexuality? Hygiene? The types of relationships the individual engages in? Or, what about how intelligent or honest the person is? What assumptions do you make? Where do those assumptions come from?
Here's another important question...Do you really know what HIV is?
The United States has a long and sad history of stigmatizing HIV and AIDS, tying them directly to the LGBTQ+ community with harmful narratives. Take a look at the videos below to learn more about what HIV is, and the stigma that surrounds people living with HIV.
What is HIV?
HIV impacting communities of color
Meet the PATHS Team
Diana Martinez, Coordinator
Diana was born and raised in El Paso, Texas by immigrant parents from Juarez. She come from a large extended family that is binational. Her parents named her after the statue of the huntress in Mexico City on Reforma Street.
Diana graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BA in History and a minor in Secondary Education, with a focus in Native American and Latin American history. After graduating, Diana taught in public, private, and charter schools, working with grade levels 6th through 12th, and teaching a diverse array of subjects ranging from world geography, American history, Texas history, Economics, and more. In 2009 Diana graduated with a Master’s in History, with emphasis on Latin American history, Borderland history, and Orientalism.
Since 2010 Diana has taught at the college level at both at El Paso Community College and at the University of Texas at El Paso. Diana grew up with a strong passion for art, history, and literature that goes into her teaching. Her students remark that her enthusiasm inspires them to learn.
Diana also works with others to organize community actions to stand up for the rights of immigrants and immigrant children in detention. Part of the community organizing involved public speaking and presenting about immigration and Latinx history in America. Diana has facilitated presentations focusing on the Flores Settlement Agreement, Jaime Escalante and Rosita the Riveter: the Latina Contribution to World War II, and she has engaged in public speaking and work with the media surrounding immigrant rights and immigrant child detention.
Jonathan attended Michigan State University and studied Computer Science Engineering, Communications, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in English. He has since studied in Human Resources and Business Administration at Argosy University in Georgia.
Jonathan has been involved and served within the LGBTQ community for over 35 years. He served as Chairman and CEO of a non-profit organization specifically created to serve the LGBT community in El Paso, Texas. It was the first of its kind within the West Texas / Southern New Mexico region. He lived and worked in Mexico for 15 years. During his years in Mexico, he had extensive experience with volunteering, educating, and training individuals and healthcare professionals in the areas of HIV and sex education within the LGBT Latino communities.
Jonathan has several certificates of honors and recognitions from working with other community-based organizations such as PFLAG, Program Compañeros in Ciudad, Juarez, Mexico, El Paso Community Foundation, the City of El Paso and MFactor, El Paso Sun City Pride, and Texas Pride Impact Fund. Additionally, Jonathan is featured in the LGBTQ+ Border Heroes Project!
Dr. Hilda Ontiveros
Hilda has been a faculty member at UT El Paso for the past 12 years and currently serves as the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program where she teaches courses relevant to Latina Studies, global feminisms, feminist theory, civil rights, queer theory, among others. She has earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Administration in Higher Education, where her focus was on educational policy and curriculum in both K-12 and higher education institutions.
She earned a Master of Arts in Latin American and Border Studies and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration in Higher Education. Hilda also spent time studying in the Medico Cirujano (M.D.) program at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at UACJ. Her research interests include critical pedagogy, educational policy and its effects on minority students, multicultural/culturally relevant curriculum, the sociology of education and women’s healthcare issues on the U.S./Mexico Border.
She enjoys serving her community through volunteer work, such as serving as a children’s volleyball and basketball coach. Her four children also keep her very busy and fulfilled.