Urban African-American Adolescent Female STD Risk Ethnography (1996-2000)
An urban health department contracted CuSAG to carry out a qualitative assessment of the STD knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among 13 to 20 year old African American female clients. The greatest challenge of the project was in the fact that classical ethnography could not be carried out because of issues of confidentiality and age of the study participants. As a result, CuSAG was faced with a task of designing a project that could yield data similar to that of an ethnographic study, but that was not a classical ethnographic research. To meet this challenge, CuSAG designed and used methods like socio-demographic interviews (SDIs), observations of clinic interactions, focus group interviews (FGIs), observations of FGI interactions, individual ethnographic interviews (IEIs), and individual case studies based on the data collected from all sources, and organized around pseudonyms that had been adopted by the study participants.

A Qualitative Study of HIV Related Issues Among Incarcerated Adults in the State of Maryland (1995)
In contract to the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DHMH) AIDS Administration, CuSAG carried out focus group interviews (FGIs) with male and female inmates in 20 jails and prisons around the state of Maryland. The investigation included exploration of attitudes and behaviors increasing the risk of AIDS. Other issues investigated during the course of research included modes of health communication among incarcerated adults, the hierarchy of prison communication that could inform a HIV/AIDS education program, perceived susceptibility to HIV infection, perceived severity of HIV infection, and perceptions of benefits and barriers to implementing an AIDS intervention program.

A Planning Workshop of Issues Involved in Carrying out HIV Research in Maryland Jails and Prisons (1995)
CuSAG carried out a one-day planning workshop with DMHM’s AIDS Administration, Maryland prisons and jail administrators, ex-residents of Maryland’s jails and prisons, and others in the Baltimore-Washington area interested in these issues.

AIDS and African American Conference (1995)
In October of 1995, CuSAG carried out a three-day conference that focused on AIDS issues as they affected African American men, women, families, and children. The conference was supported by a small grant from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA), and a variety of in-kind support from 34 organizations and agencies working on AIDS in the region around Washington, D.C.

The Urban Male HIV Ethnography (1994-1995)
In contract to the Contraceptive Research and Development Project funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CuSAG carried out an exploratory study among inner city males and females, investigating their views of male AIDS related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that placed males and their partners at risk for AIDS. Primary methods used in the study included ethnographic interviews of staff members of a CBO providing AIDS services, as well as multiple focus group interviews (FGIs) of male and female residents of their service communities, and a community assessment of potential neighborhood risks.

The Ryan White CARE Ethnographic Design Research Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) (1992)
In contract to HRSA, CuSAG assisted in designing and implementing a small multi-site, multidisciplinary study that would inform the development of a methodology for exploring service utilization patterns among individuals with HIV/AIDS. Such investigation designs would incorporate both the perspective of such persons, and the views of organizations that provide services. CuSAG’s qualitative research focused on seropositive African Americans in Baltimore, while quantitative (survey) research conducted by the University of Maryland’s Medical School and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) researchers focused on service providers. CuSAG had a qualitative research counterpart in Oakland, California, with whom they were exploring ethnographic techniques to see which methods might be more feasible in Baltimore and Oakland, and what factors appear to influence the utilization of services by African Americans with HIV/AIDS. Given the small size of the qualitative research grants, CuSAG concluded that when working with adults in Baltimore, the most useful data would come out of the implementation of focus group interviews (FGIs) with seven groups of seropositive African American adults, as well as one group of children with at least one seropositive parent.

Qualitative Research on Condom Use Among STD Clinic Client Population (1990)
In consultation with Bloomberg School of Public Health (BSPH) of Johns Hopkins University (JHU), CuSAG conducted FGIs among clients coming for services at two BCHD STD clinics, collecting data on knowledge, attitudes, and behavior related to the utilization of condoms. The purpose of this effort was to collect qualitative data that would be used to inform the development of a more structured instrument for administration to a larger, and more representative sample of the same population from which the FGI participants were selected.

Qualitative Research on AIDS Risk Among STD Clinic Client Population (1990)
Also in consultation to BSPH, CuSAG carried out focus group interviews (FGIs) among clients coming for services at two STD clinics in Baltimore. The purpose of the FGIs was to collect qualitative data to inform the development of a more structured instrument for administration to a larger and more representative sample of the same population, from which the FGI participants were recruited. The FGIs focused on HIV/AIDS related knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. The data generated also provided interesting insights into the language used in communicating risk behaviors for HIV transmission, in conjunction with gender attributes and relationships.

Qualitative Research to Complement State-Wide AIDS Risk Surveys (1989-1990)
In contract to the DHMH, CuSAG carried out FGIs with clients coming into facilities that contracted with DHMH to carry out HIV/AIDS services in the two urban and the one rural area of Maryland with the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS at the time (Baltimore, Prince Georges County, and a section of Cambridge County) The focus of this qualitative research was to provide data that would inform the modification of the instrument used by the statewide AIDS survey carried out annually by DMHM.



CuSAG: The Cultural Systems Analysis Group
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