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Helen Land named editor of HIV/AIDS journal

Helen Land's primary scholarly focus has been on minority stress, health and mental health outcomes for vulnerable groups affected by HIV/AIDS. (Photo/Brian Goodman)

Associate Professor Helen Land has been named senior editor of the Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services, which will join the five other publications based at the USC School of Social Work.

Land, who has been with the journal since its inception 10 years ago, will work with an esteemed group of co-editors, including professors Larry Gant of the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, Nathan Linsk of the University of Illinois’ School of Social Work in Chicago and Dexter Voisin of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.

Previously, Land was on the editorial board of the journal, which will be moving from the University of Illinois at Chicago to USC and was invited to be guest editor for a special issue on how border issues between the United States and Mexico impact service delivery for people affected by HIV/AIDS, most of whom are poor, urban and rural Latinos in need of HIV-related services.

Based on her attention to this substantive area, Land was invited to edit the book Outreach and Care Approaches to HIV/AIDS Along the U.S.-Mexico Border. Her primary scholarly focus has been on minority stress, health and mental health outcomes for vulnerable groups affected by HIV/AIDS. This line of translational research illuminated the need for culturally sensitive assessment instruments and service models for various vulnerable groups with the disease.

In her subsequent work, Land developed specific instruments for Latina and African-American women infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Her interest in this area originated from a National Institutes of Health-funded panel investigation of Anglo and Latino men who have sex with men (MSMs), Latinas and Caucasian women with AIDS and their caregivers.

Her publications have appeared in various journals, including Psychology and Health, Journal of Community Psychology, Social Science and Medicine and Social Work Research.

Land has been on the forefront of investigation and service to those with HIV since 1986. In the early years of the pandemic, she volunteered for five years at AIDS Project Los Angeles, first as a support group facilitator for MSM caregivers infected with HIV. Later she served as a trainer for the hotline in the areas of depression and suicide prevention. From this experience, she drew attention through her publications to methods of serving young MSMs struggling with debilitating illness, caregiving for the terminally ill and bereavement recovery.

Based on findings from her recent investigations, Land has developed an interest in how religion, spirituality and faith affect stress and resilience in various vulnerable groups, and her forthcoming book is titled Religion, Spirituality and Faith in Psychotherapy: Evidence-based Expressive Methods for Integrating Body, Brain and Mind. She also serves as president of the Society for Spirituality and Social Work.

“With a nationally eminent editorial board and increasing circulation, the Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services is now gaining solid attention for its scholarship in a field where we, as a school, are fortunate to have a number of prominent faculty,” said Marilyn Flynn, dean of the School of Social Work. “Congratulations to Helen for her leadership and consistent attention over the years to this critically important area in our field.”

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