Yosman Rucker was in his second year of medical school when he was diagnosed with HIV in 2010. He decided to return home to Rochester, NY in order to obtain better care and support and hasn't slowed down since. As a patient at Trillium Health, Yosman participated in the Leadership Training Institute conducted by New York State's AIDS Institute. With the training as a foundation, Yosman joined Trillium's consumer council, on which he
is now serving his second term as Chair. He is also currently a member of Trillium's Board of Directors.
Yosman has focused on addressing unmet needs. He helped start two support groups for consumers. One group is for HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) over the age of 30. The group is sponsored by the Action Front Center of Action for a Better Community, a community action agency in Rochester.
"Many of the support activities were targeting young gay men," says Yosman. "We heard from consumers that groups for adults was a clear gap."
The second group targeted HIV-infected men regardless of age, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. This group
is sponsored by Trillium Health, allowing its male patients a space to gather and provide support to each other.
He has also become an educator at various levels, from featured World AIDS Day speaker to presenting a series
of modules on healthy relationships, based on CDC's DEBI interventions, targeting various populations. The trainings were sponsored by Action for a Better Community. Based on the demand from consumers, he and another consumer presented MSM-specific modules.
In the midst of his volunteer activities at Trillium and as an educator, Yosman attended the NQC's Training of Consumers on Quality in Albany, NY in 2013.
"As I got more involved and networked with more people I heard about the NQC and the availability of training," says Yosman. "Through the training I developed techniques for helping consumers play a greater role in the quality of care."
Yosman is building on his medical school experience and what he learned at the NQC training to help the consumer council and Trillium staff develop a series of modules for Trillium consumers. He worked with two Trillium staff members to conduct a survey to identify knowledge gaps, such as how to interpret lab results, deal with medication issues, and management of other chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes) along with HIV infection. They anticipate that the modules will last 2-3 hours and maybe conducted during the consumer council meetings, or if there is sufficient demand, as stand-alone trainings.
While he is a committed volunteer on behalf of other consumers at Trillium, Yosman has not lost track of his long-term goals. He hopes to return to medical school in the near future and pursue a career as a physician-scientist in infectious disease or internal medicine.