The COMPASS Initiative® Faith Coordinating Center focuses on preparing ministry and nonprofit leaders to address the needs of vulnerable populations such as rural communities in Appalachia, African Americans, and LGBTQ individuals. These groups, particularly in the South, often experience a higher number of cases of HIV/AIDS with access to fewer support and prevention resources.
“Applying a theological understanding to the role of the church in transforming how communities approach HIV/AIDS is critical to our work. We have a unique opportunity to engage faith communities in answering the call to serve and love beyond the stigmas of the past.” Dr. Shonda Jones
Meet the Team
Shonda Jones, EdD
Dr. Shonda Jones has worked in theological education for twenty years and an established track record of providing strategic leadership at academic institutions, establishing best practices in recruitment and admissions, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and engaging learners through courses and co-curricular programming. She has worked in the HIV/AIDS arena as an employee and board member in several organizations and has also served on the HIV and Faith Advisory Board for the COMPASS Initiative®. Dr. Jones’ scholarly interests include the intersection of theological school choice and race, faith and health, and her focus broadly examines intercultural practices that promote communal thriving with and among faith leaders and faith communities. She teaches in the area of intercultural competency for ministry and leadership. Dr. Jones is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, a certified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), and a trainer for intercultural competency and relationship-building. She earned her BA in English and Religious Studies from Texas Christian University, and MDiv from Brite Divinity School, and EdD in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama.
Allison Mathews, PhD
Dr. Allison Mathews serves as Executive Director and Research Fellow in Faith and Health. She previously served as the Associate Director of Integrating Special Populations in the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest Baptist Health. She specializes in integrating technology, social marketing, community engagement and social science to examine the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality and religiosity on HIV-related stigma and to innovate clinical research engagement and access to health care for underserved populations. Dr. Mathews has been an invited to speak about HIV and COVID-19 on national and international platforms, including TEDxCaryWomen. Dr. Mathews and Ms. Kimberly Knight co-founded and had December 14 officially declared by the state of North Carolina as HIV Cure Research Day to raise awareness about HIV cure research and encourage community involvement in ending the HIV epidemic. Her most recent work focused on engaging communities in COVID-19 related studies to raise awareness about COVID-19 vaccines, connect people affected by COVID-19 to wrap-around services, and better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on underserved communities.
In addition to research, Dr. Mathews is an entrepreneur. She is the Founder and CEO of Community Expert Solutions, a consulting company that develops community-based ideas into revenue generating projects that solve health problems. They developed Digital LinCS, an online case management system that matches and connects people to free and reduced medication and assists in managing provider case loads more efficiently. She earned her BA in Sociology from Howard University, and her MA and PhD in Sociology from UNC Chapel Hill. She completed her postdoctoral work at UNC Chapel Hill in the Department of Social Medicine and the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease.