FIU Partnership for Preventing Health Risks among Youth

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded FIU-CBRI a grant (1H79SP021160) for a 5-year project to reduce substance abuse (SA), HIV/AIDS, and viral hepatitis (VH) among Hispanic young adults (ages 18-24) in Miami-Dade County through comprehensive, integrated prevention*. This study brings together Florida International University (FIU) – a large minority serving institution (MSI) – with Union Positiva1(originally), Project Access Foundation2 (currently), and Spectrum Programs, Inc., all community-based organizations based in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

FIU, Project Access Foundation, and Spectrum Programs are working together to implement prevention and HIV/VH testing interventions that are based on research and are appropriate for Hispanic young adults. These strategies involve conducting HIV/VH testing at FIU and across Miami-Dade County, and create a media advocacy/awareness campaign.2,3,4,5

Media campaign consultation for this project has been led by Wendy Ordóñez, FIU Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) and J. Carlos Maya, President of MIXTO Music6 and the MIXTO Foundation. The study was succesfully concluded with involvement and input from over 50 FIU students. The partnership has:

  • Created an innovative and successful social media advocacy and awareness campaign using the highly popular Cody the Camel mascot developed specifically for this project; and
  • Conducted weekly outreach to promote free HIV/VH testing on FIU campus 3 days a week (over 1,200 total HIV tests and 480 first time HIV tests).

Principal Investigator: Eric Wagner, Ph.D.

Co-Investigators: Michelle Hospital, Ph.D. & Staci Leon Morris, Psy.D.

Project Coordinator: Katherine Perez, MSW, MPH | | (305) 348-4721



  • Fernandez, S.B., Wagner, E.F., Hospital, M., Morris, S.L., Howard, M., & Graziano, J. (2016) Direct and indirect strategies for reducing alcohol use in emerging adult clinical and community samples: Social media-based prevention for reducing alcohol use problems among emerging adults. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Volume 40, Supplement: S1.
  • Clarke, R. D., Fernandez, S.B., Morris, S. L., Howard, M., Wagner, E.F., & Wales, E. (2020) Getting their feet in the door: Communication cues to action for HIV testing and condom us behaviors among Hispanic/Latinx college students. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 1-11. Https://

Conference Presentations

  • International Conference on Urban Health 2016
    HIV testing strategies for reaching urban Hispanic young adults: A university-community partnership (Oral Presentation)
    Hospital, M., Wagner, E.F., Morris, S.L., Howard, M., Graziano, J., & Fernandez, S.B.,
    San Francisco, CA
  • The International Society for Research on Internet Interventions 2016
    Social media engagement for sexual health promotion among Hispanic young adults
    Wagner, E.F., Hospital, M., Morris, S.L., M., Howard, M., Graziano, J., & Fernandez, S.B.,
    Seattle, WA.

News Articles and Websites:

* This project represents an expansion and extension of an earlier study entitled, “Miami-Dade Partnership for Preventing Health Risks among Young Adults” (SAMSHA #1H79SP020653)

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