Prism Health North Texas is delighted to share that its Free World Bound Program, serving currently and recently incarcerated Texans, was awarded Nonprofit Team of the Year by D CEO Magazine at the 2022 Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards on July 21, 2022. This was the second prestigious recognition awarded to the Free World Bound team this year, the first being the Reentry and Integration Division Award as part of the Texas Governor’s 2022 Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards in May.

The Free World Bound program, which works with ethnic minority individuals who are currently living with or are at risk for HIV and who are currently or previously incarcerated, includes HIV prevention services and linkage to medical care to help them succeed within society. In late 2021, the program was awarded two grants by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), allowing it to expand from 30 prisons to becoming available to any of the 61 prisons in the state of Texas.

Daron Kirven, PHNTX Senior Director of Community Outreach, accepted the award at the ceremony at Deep Ellum’s The Factory. Kirven was essential to the establishment of the Free World Bound program in 2001, and has been integral to its development and expansion since then.

“Being recognized by D CEO and receiving this award is truly an honor, a blessing, and verifies the importance of the work we do every single day to provide much needed services to a population who is often forgotten. Even though I accepted this award on behalf of Prism Health North Texas, the Free World Bound staff deserves all the credit for their tireless efforts traveling across the great state of Texas to meet with clients while incarcerated and linking them to services upon release. Without their dedication and commitment, the quality of services we offer would not be possible. In addition, the support we receive from our senior leadership is invaluable and really speaks to the dedication to a patient first approach.”

-Daron Kirven

In addition to linking the incarcerated individuals to medical care and providing HIV and STI testing, Free World Bound provides assistance with referrals to essential services, linkage to social services, procurement of HIV medication or PrEP, housing and transportation, behavioral health services, emergency financial assistance, and with HIV, STI, and substance misuse prevention education. Process and outcome evaluation will be integrated into all phases of the project to ensure that stated objectives are on track to be achieved.

The program works to further Prism Health North Texas’ mission to advance the health of North Texas through education, research, prevention, and personalized integrated HIV care. When being released from incarceration, healthcare can fall in priorities when compared to housing, food, transportation, and employment. The Free World Bound program works to maintain access to healthcare, HIV care, and PrEP in order to set a solid foundation for success in other areas of life upon reentering the free world.

The annual D CEO Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards were presented in partnership with the Communities Foundation of Texas. The awards celebrate the efforts of local nonprofit organizations and professionals, and the companies and business leaders who support them. This year’s competition was particularly tough as D CEO received more than 500 nominations, the organization said in a statement.

About Prism Health North Texas: 1986 during the HIV/AIDS crisis in North Texas, through an initial grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Formed as AIDS Arms Network out of the Communities Foundation of Texas, PHNTX for the past 35 years has served the critical role of connecting people living with HIV to care and services in the area. PHNTX evolved to be a nationally recognized leader in delivering high-quality HIV and sexual health services, most recently expanding services to address the alarming rise in sexually transmitted infections in Dallas County and North Texas. Roughly 30% of people living with HIV in North Texas receive medical care and support at one of the four health centers.