Cynthia Davis

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Cynthia Davis is an assistant professor and program director in the Medical Sciences Institute at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, and completed her master’s level field-placement assignment at the King/Drew Medical Center.
Cynthia began her professional career working as the Program Director of the Family Life Information and Education Project at the American Indian Free Clinic in Compton, California, developing a comprehensive sex-education curriculum targeting American Indian adolescents. In 1984, Cynthia was hired by the Department of Pediatrics at Charles Drew University to develop a similar sex-education and teen-pregnancy prevention program in South Central Los Angeles. From 1984 to 1987 Cynthia coordinated a comprehensive community-based educational outreach project targeting at-risk African American and Latino youth in South Central Los Angeles, where the focus of the intervention activities centered on sex education, teen pregnancy prevention and HIV/AIDS education.
Beginning in 1987, Cynthia transferred to the Department of Family Medicine to direct and coordinate a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–funded project focused on slowing the spread of HIV disease in the African American community on a national scale. Drew University and the National Organization of Black County Officials (NOBCO) worked in collaboration to develop a model culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS education and prevention project, which was implemented on a national scale in the African American community.
Cynthia was instrumental in advocating for the development of the first community-based HIV/AIDS clinic targeting at risk, low-income ethnic minority women in Los Angeles County. T.H.E. Clinic in South Central Los Angeles currently serves more than 400 HIV-positive low-income women. Working in collaboration with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Cynthia was instrumental in the development of the first AIDS hospice in South Central Los Angeles, the Carl Bean AIDS Care Center, which opened in 1991.
In 1991, she developed a pilot demonstration mobile HIV testing and outreach project targeting medically underserved populations in Los Angeles County as part of a collaboration with three member agencies of the Minority AIDS Consortium of Los Angeles County, which she chaired since its inception in 1988. This pilot demonstration project was so successful in reaching hard-to-reach at-risk populations that the Los Angeles County Office of AIDS Programs and Policy replicated the project in 1993 by purchasing six additional mobile vans. Cynthia currently operates one mobile testing and outreach project that provides free HIV-antibody screening, counseling and referral services to more than 1,200 individuals annually in Los Angeles County.
Cynthia was then contacted by the Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services Center (GLASS) to collaborate on the first mobile primary healthcare project targeting runaway and homeless youth residing on the streets of Hollywood and West Hollywood. In the initial three years of operation, the project provided primary healthcare services to more than 5,000 at-risk young people. In 1993, Cynthia and several of her colleagues formed a nonprofit corporation and opened the second residential shelter for HIV-positive women and their minor children in South Central Los Angeles. This shelter, called Agape House, was operational for 10 years and served more than 75 HIV-infected women and their children. In December 1994, Cynthia traveled to Uganda at the invitation of the Anglican Church to make a presentation at their first Women and AIDS Conference. Cynthia also traveled to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China, in August and September 1996, and made a formal presentation on the “Global Impact of HIV/AIDS on Women.” At the XIII International AIDS Conference, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2000, Cynthia presented two poster sessions and one community workshop centered on the “Dolls of Hope” project that Cynthia initiated for World AIDS Day in December 1998. The Dolls of Hope initiative involves the exchange of handmade cloth dolls to agencies working on a local, national and international level with children, young people and women affected by and/or infected with HIV/AIDS. While in Africa, Cynthia traveled to four other countries, facilitating focus groups on the acceptability and social marketing of the Janesway Female Condom currently under development in the United States. At the XIV International AIDS Conference, held in Barcelona in 2002, Cynthia presented a poster session entitled “The Female Panty Condom: Focus Group Testing of a New Female Controlled Method to Reduce the Transmission of HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections.” Cynthia facilitated another Dolls of Hope workshop at the XV International AIDS conference, held in Bangkok in 2004. Cynthia is passionate about her work and has worked proactively to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS among underserved and disenfranchised people of color on a local, national and international basis.