Jayda Arrington is the IMPAACT Community Advisory Board (ICAB) representative for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) IMPAACT site and has been part of the UCLA CAB for four years. She has an associate degree in paralegal studies and is currently working toward her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in Africana Studies at California State University Dominguez-Hills. Her goal is to become a case manager and social and human service assistant to help people affected by HIV/AIDS.
What have you most enjoyed about working with the IMPAACT Network?
Everything! I first found my voice four years ago when I joined the UCLA CAB and was selected to represent the CAB at the IMPAACT Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Dr. Jaime Deville attends every CAB meeting and talks about IMPAACT trials, and that’s where I found out that my daughter and I have both actually been a part of IMPAACT research studies. I have enjoyed networking with ICAB members from the seven continents and connecting with people from all over the world, where I have made lifelong connections and valued friendships. I have also enjoyed hearing updates on new clinical trials currently happening, as well as those we have reviewed protocols for during our quarterly ICAB calls.
Explain the importance of community engagement in clinical trials and what your hope is for the future of community engagement and involvement in the future.
Community Engagement is very important because we need to stay informed and continue to educate ourselves and others. It is my hope that for now, and in the future, women and children will ALWAYS be included, not only in clinical trials but also in all aspects of community engagement and involvement, from the very first day and continuously throughout the entire process.
At last year’s IMPAACT Annual Meeting, you presented on the U=U campaign. Tell us a little bit about that campaign and how your site was involved.
Our UCLA CAB was asked to help CHIPTS (Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services), by providing input on a U=U campaign for women. They requested feedback on a palm card that explained how U=U directly impacts women. As a direct result of our input, they were able to make changes to the content, photos and layout of the card.
What has been the most defining experience so far in your career?
The most defining experience in my career so far is that I changed my educational path as a result of my advocacy/activism work and experiences. Initially I was studying law, but now, I am majoring in psychology and minoring in Africana studies. When I started outfour years ago, I never dreamt that I would be here, where I am today, working on a bachelor’s degree and helping other people living with HIV. When I look back and reflect on all the ways I have been active and participated in this field, I am VERY proud of all that I have achieved.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my kids, watching movies, listening to music and eating good food!