Community Health Education and Resiliency Program






Trauma-Informed Holiday Celebrations

As many prepare to celebrate the upcoming summer holiday, it is important to consider how our celebrations might be impacting our relatives and neighbors. Fireworks can impact a variety of people who are sensitive to loud noises including folks with anxiety, PTSD, and other past traumas. Fireworks also impact animals, both domestic and wild, and cause a great deal of stress and trauma. Here are some tips for holiday celebrations that take into consideration others who are impacted by fireworks: 

  • Attend a Firework Show: Many communities offer firework shows you can attend for free. Rather than lighting your own fireworks, consider attending a show that is already happening and sponsored by your local community. 
  • Lower the Noise: If you choose to light your own fireworks at home, consider selecting fireworks that make little to no noise, like sparklers and other varieties that focus on lights rather than sounds, and avoid noisemaking/popping fireworks. 
  • Shorten the Noise: If you choose to light some fireworks that make noise, consider keeping the noise to a limited amount of time, such as during the first hour after sundown. This way, those who are sensitive to the sounds can rest peacefully after the fireworks celebrations have stopped. 
  • Celebrate on One Day Only: Many people choose to begin the fireworks celebrations days or even weeks early and continue lighting fireworks over the days and weeks following the holiday. This further extends the impact of the loud noises on others. If you choose to celebrate with fireworks, keep them limited to one day so that the impact on others is not prolonged over the course of days or weeks. 
  • Create New Traditions: Consider starting new traditions and ways to celebrate the holiday, such as cooking new foods, enjoying music, outdoor movies, or other celebratory activities that are safer for everyone.   

No matter how you choose to celebrate, we wish you all a safe and serene holiday.  

Using Sweat Lodges as a Protective Factor Against Substance Use

Sweat lodges can be sacred places that offer more than just physical purification; they may also serve as a powerful tool for preventing substance use. Research indicates that engagement in sweat lodge ceremonies can significantly decrease substance use rates and foster holistic well-being and resilience. Smith's study in 2011 found a strong correlation between sweat lodge participation in Native American communities and reduced alcohol and drug use. 

Furthermore, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report titled, "Culture as Prevention: Reducing the Burden of Mental and Substance Use Disorders,” highlights the significance of cultural practices, such as sweat lodges, in preventing substance use among Native American youth. These practices help foster a strong sense of cultural pride, social support, and resilience, which are all key factors in preventing substance use.

Sweat lodge ceremonies provide physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. The intense heat and steam purify the body, while the communal setting promotes a sense of belonging. Furthermore, these ceremonies enable individuals to reconnect with their cultural heritage, reinforcing positive identity and purpose.

By embracing sweat lodge traditions into substance use prevention initiatives, communities can leverage their inherent protective factors. Educating individuals about the potential benefits and encouraging their involvement can enhance resilience, mental health, and decrease substance use.

National HIV Testing Day 

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is observed each year on June 27 to highlight the importance of HIV testing. This year's awareness day emphasizes the steps everyone can take once they know their HIV status. The NHTD theme for 2023 is “Take the Test & Take the Next Step.” This theme emphasizes that knowing your HIV status helps you choose options to stay healthy.

HIV testing, including self-testing, is the pathway to engaging people in care to keep them healthy, regardless of their test result. People who receive a negative test result can take advantage of HIV prevention tools such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), condoms, and other sexual health services such as vaccines and testing for sexually transmitted infections. People who receive a positive test result can rapidly start HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy, or ART) to stay healthy.

You can order safer sex supplies and at-home HIV test kits free from CHERP here.

Online Supply Orders

The Community Health Education and Resiliency Program provides safer sex supplies (condoms, dental dams, lube), HIV Self-Test Kits, Narcan, Fentanyl Test Strips, and Deterra Pouches to individuals and organizations in the IHS Albuquerque Area. Please use the links below to order your supplies.


Safer Sex Supplies and HIV Self-Test Kits:

Narcan, Fentanyl Test Strips, and Deterra Pouches:

For more information about online orders, contact Kurt at


ESCALATE Trainings

ESCALATE Training facilitates transformative and relational change in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Programs (RWHAP) by increasing participants' knowledge and skills to recognize and address HIV-related stigma within their organizations and communities they serve. This happens through a deepening awareness of and practices for cultural humility amongst people with HIV. Trainers create an equitable and transformative environment for RWHAP providers to learn with and from their people with HIV partners.

Upcoming ESCALATE Trainings:

  • Bronx, NY (Dual English and Spanish) - July 16 -21, 2023
  • Detroit, MI - August 13 - 18, 2023

Register Now

For more information, please email Christopher J. Paisano at

US Conference on HIV/AIDS

September 6-9, 2023

Marriott Marquis

Washington, DC

The 2023 United States Conference on HIV/AIDS (USCHA) will take place September 6–9, 2023 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. This year’s theme is “A Love Letter to Black Women”.

Similar to the focus on Puerto Rico and Latinx populations last year, the conference will lean into this theme by celebrating and honoring Black women (cis and trans). The conference will highlight Black women across our movements, from activists to women living with HIV, national advocates, community voices, federal leaders, health department staff, healthcare workers, researchers and women-focused organizations. The Opening Plenary will tell their stories and acknowledge their contributions. Their experiences will be highlighted in workshops, institutes, posters, and special events. A section of the exhibit hall will be set aside for small businesses owned and operated by Black women.

For more information, click here.


NM Community Planning and Action Group Meetings - August 2023

To join the NM CPAG list serve, email John Murphy at

If you have events you want to include in our monthly newsletter, please send them to Kurt at

Community Health Education and Resiliency Program
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