Like peas in a Pod, we're in this together"
Partnership to End AIDS Status, Inc. (PEAS), officially organized and recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization. PEAS is a non-profit charitable organization established in 2009 to maximize the effectiveness of service resources to ensure the physical, mental and social equality for all persons residing in the Memphis Transitional Grant Area by providing residents with preventive tools to make healthier decisions. PEAS Inc. specializes in OUTREACH.
The mission and goal of PEAS Inc. is to deliver services and comprehensive HIV/HCV testing and education to the most highly affected communities during vulnerable hours and in non-traditional settings. PEAS Inc has served more than 10,000 residents in the Memphis and Shelby County area. LaRonia is certified through the Centers for Disease Control to facilitate life changing interventions such as SISTA/TWISTA, ANEA, HepConnect, COMPASS, PrEP/Prevention, ARTAS and a Certified Syringe Supply/Exchange Program.
PEAS Inc. founded November 1, 2009 by LaRonia Hurd-Sawyer, RN, MSN-CNL, MPH, Executive Director/Founder with a group of female health professionals/ Public Health advocates dedicated to the eradication of HIV/AIDS and other health disparities from the communities in the Mid-South. The Board of Directors of PEAS Inc. have a combined 25+ years of multidisciplinary experience. PEAS Inc's staff has assisted at the community level in efforts to assess service gaps, community needs, coordinate and plan the allocation of resources for persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and other STIs disparities that is placed within minority communities.
Simultaneously, the staff is equally involved in the assessment of needs and service delivery of diffused effective behavioral interventions and services for those at risk of HIV/HCV exposure. Furthermore, PEAS Inc. staff shares the desire to maintain an organization committed to meeting the needs of the community members where they lie. One of the major goals of PEAS Inc. is to deliver comprehensive services such as HIV/HCV education, needle exchange, and more to the most impacted communities during “vulnerable hours” meaning (after business hours and weekends).
Most of PEAS Inc.’s recipients of services are essentially 90% African American/Hispanic, English and Spanish speaking; predominantly from the Memphis and Shelby county area. Approximately 80% of the recipients of services provided by PEAS Inc. include Ciswomen/Cismen, Transwomen/Transmen, and those of LGBTQIA experience, due to large numbers of or high percentage of single-parent or women-headed homes in the Memphis TGA area.
Southern States are known for numerous characteristics that place with high-risk for living unhealthy and compromised lives (e.g., poverty; a dearth of decent jobs; a significant number of residents with low educational attainment; high rates of crime, illegitimate births, and unemployment; and low median household income). According to the epidemiological data for Memphis TGA area, African American females of childbearing age have contributed significantly to the high number of cases reported since 1992. The high rate of HIV/AIDS cases continues into the 21st century according to the epidemiological profile from the Memphis/Shelby County Health Department. Although Blacks accounted for about 16% of the population, they comprised about 54% of people living with HIV/AIDS in Tennessee.
The City of Memphis, known as the urban hub of the region, is located on the Mississippi River in Shelby County, TN. African American/Minority individuals makes up more than half of the population. It is characterized by a high rate of poverty, which is found primarily within the African American/Hispanic community, and is attributable to low education levels, underemployment, and low-wage service jobs. Levels of education directly impact the ability of an individual to process information about health care and act upon it in her own best interest. Socioeconomic and cultural conditions have set the stage in many ways for the current HIV/AIDS epidemic.
LaRonia D. Hurd-Sawyer, RN, MSN-CNL, MPH
Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer & Founder
Mrs. LaRonia D. Hurd-Sawyer holds a Masters of Public Health from University of Memphis (2009), Master of Nursing with emphasis on Clinical Nurse Leader UT Memphis (2015), Mrs. Hurd-Sawyer's graduate thesis focuses on the incarcerated male population and HIV/AIDS in the South. Mrs Sawyer is currently a Psych RN focusing in Infectious Disease.
Mrs Hurd-Sawyer completed her graduate internship at the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department where she researched and compiled the 2008 Syphilis Rapid Ethnographic Community Assessment Report for the Memphis/Shelby County area.
Mrs. Hurd-Sawyer has been invited to present her research findings at numerous HIV/AIDS and mental health conferences in the Southern states. LaRonia is the Executive Director and CEO of Partnership To End AIDS Status Inc. (PEAS Inc), formed in November 1, 2009 by a group of women to help in the eradication of HIV/AIDS/HCV and other health disparities in Memphis communities.
PEAS, Inc Board
Hughey’s Debits & Credits, LLC. HDC has focused on growing small organizations and putting them on the path to financial success. She manages, reviews, and oversees all accounts but understands that a great staff is what ultimately drives the business. With a solid business background that includes working in industries such as creative designs, food service, higher education, and nonprofit organizations, Ronda, who also holds a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting, is more than prepared to help her clients succeed.
DeAndre is PEAS, Inc. PrEP Navigator, in which he directs our clients and assists them into PrEP linkage and guides them throughout their journey with PrEP. He also helps with direction of PEAS, Inc. testing events.
Stephanie spearheads the TWISTA (Latinx), where she educates our Hispanic population about empowerment and encourage those who may not have had a voice in the past. Stephanie also provides translation to our non-English speaking clients
Lala is Legendary in the community, she provides PrEP Navigator, in which she directs our clients and assists them into PrEP linkage and guides them throughout their journey with PrEP. Lala also helps with direction of PEAS, Inc. testing events. She is also our recruiter in TWISTA.
PEAS Inc.’s core values and principles of operation include but are not limited to providing equal access to services and resources to all clients, operating a client-centered organization, providing a safe haven for all clients, employing staff who commit to remaining non-judgmental and professional, and assuring the confidentiality of all clients.
- Provide equality of service resources for all clients
- Operate a client-centered organization
- Transparency to all we serve
- Provide a safe haven for all clients/ non-judgmental
- Confidentiality of all clients
The mission of Partnership to End AIDS Status (PEAS Inc.), a nonprofit public charitable organization, is to maximize the effectiveness of service resources to ensure physical, mental, and social equality for all persons residing in the Memphis Transitional Grant Area (TGA) by providing residents with preventative tools to make healthier decisions. Memphis TGA’s counties include Fayette, Shelby and/or Tipton counties in Tennessee or DeSoto, Tate, Tunica, and/or Marshall Counties in Mississippi and/or Crittenden County in Arkansas.
PEAS Inc. offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs that target persons who experience health disparities, such as men who have sex with men, African American women of childbearing age, individuals of transgender experience, and other persons impacted by various chronic illnesses. PEAS Inc. utilizes programming that is designed to affect behavior changes specifically in communities of color of any age, gender, and who have experienced any form of trauma or who may participate in high risk behavior or who represent the affected HIV community.
PEAS Inc has an interdisciplinary, trained certified staff. The staff proposes to the following HIV/AIDS Prevention interventions:
- PrEP and Prevention
- SISTA - Targeting African American Women of Childbearing Age
- TWISTA - Targeting Transgender Males-to-Female Community Members
- HepConnect educating African American individuals about drug and needle use
- COMPASS Initiative
- ANEA (Act Now: End AIDS)/TRANScend
- Syringe Supply/Exchange Program
The SISTA (Sisters Informing Sisters about Topics on AIDS) recognized by CDC as an intervention that is effective in reducing the HIV risk of African American women. The goal of SISTA is to reduce sexual risk behavior among heterosexually active women of color. SISTA consists of a five-session curriculum. Session topics include Ethnic/Gender Pride, HIV/AIDS Education, Assertiveness Skills Training, Behavioral Self-Management, and Coping Skills. The SISTA intervention will be conducted by Mrs. Rosa Rebecca Barber, BSPH and Mrs. LaRonia Dhasha Hurd-Sawyer B.S., MPH. Mrs. Hurd-Sawyer and are fully certified to conduct this intervention.
The TWISTA (Transgender Women being Informed by Sisters about Topics on AIDS) Project is recognized by CDC as an intervention that is effective in reducing the HIV risk of African American women. TWISTA is the modification of the SISTA intervention framed for Transgender Male-to-Female individuals. The goal of TWISTA is to reduce sexual risk behavior among heterosexually active women of color. TWISTA consists of a five-session curriculum. Session topics include Ethnic/Gender Pride, HIV/AIDS Education, Assertiveness Skills Training, Behavioral Self-Management, and Coping Skills. The TWISTA intervention will be conducted by Mrs. LaRonia Hurd-Sawyer who is fully certified to conduct this intervention with Ms. Laterica Porter as her peer.
This project is named after a Pastor in Jackson, MS whom died of a massive heart attack in 2008. This program will target participants with heart disease and prevention of pre-heart problems by implementing healthy eating and exercise. Danielle Edwards, a certified personal trainer will implement this program.
This project is named after PEAS Inc. Executive Director whom first-born (So’longe M. Sawyer) died in 2008 due to a pre-term birth. This program focuses on the infant mortality initiative, educating mothers on infant mortality. Dr. Nikia Grayson spearheads this program.
Providing Harm Reduction in partnership with National Harm Reduction Coalition to increased risk individuals- Hepatitis C, needle and drug education; in turn lowering drug overdose in Shelby County and surrounding areas. With leadership from Dr. Martha Ballard with peers Mrs. Rosa Barber, and Mr. Mason King Lyons. PEAS, Inc. is also a certified SSP (Syringe Supply/Exchange Program).
ANEA: Act Now: End AIDS
Under the Leadership of Mrs. Rosa Barber, Ms. Halenia Dianne Crews and Ms. Monica Lusk, PEAS, Inc. gathers a counsel of our Trans peers to go in depth and find solutions to ways to lower HIV/AIDS infection in the LGBTQ+ community, in Partnership with St. Jude Children's Hospital Ending HIV Epidemic (EHE) planning.