WASHINGTON, DC President Obama announced the appointment March 14 of one of the nation's leading public health policy experts as the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy ( ONAP ) .
Grant Colfax, MD, Director of the HIV Prevention Section in the San Francisco Department of Public Health will coordinate the continuing efforts of the government to reduce the number of HIV infections across the United States. A component of the White House Domestic Policy Council, ONAP emphasizes prevention through wide-ranging education initiatives and helps to coordinate the care and treatment of citizens with HIV/AIDS.
"Grant Colfax will lead the my Administration's continued progress in providing care and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS," said President Obama. "Grant's expertise will be key as we continue to face serious challenges and take bold steps to meet them. I look forward to his leadership in the months and years to come."
ONAP coordinates with the National Security Council and the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, and works with international bodies to ensure that America's response to the global pandemic is fully integrated with other prevention, care, and treatment efforts around the world. Through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief ( PEPFAR ) initiative, the U.S. has made enormous progress in responding to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, working with countries heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS to help expand access to treatment, care, and prevention.
Grant Colfax, MD, was most recently Director of the HIV Prevention Section in the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Dr. Colfax is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed his medical residency at the University of California, San Francisco. His work focuses on collaborating with community stakeholders to implement sustainable, evidence-based HIV prevention and treatment interventions and policies in public health settings and measuring their effectiveness. Under his leadership, San Francisco greatly expanded HIV testing and treatment support efforts.
Until assuming his ONAP role, Dr. Colfax was also an NIH- and CDC supported scientist studying HIV testing strategies, clinical trials of medications to treat substance dependence, and biomedical HIV prevention interventions. Dr. Colfax was a practicing clinician at the Positive Health Program, San Francisco's premier public HIV clinic.
NMAC Applauds Selection of Dr. Grant Colfax to Lead the Office of National AIDS Policy
The following is a statement from the National Minority AIDS Council's Executive Director Paul Kawata:
Washington, DC "The National Minority AIDS Council ( NMAC ) applauds President Obama's appointment of Dr. Grant Colfax to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy ( ONAP ) . This position is critical to ensuring a coordinated national response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and played a central role in developing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy under his predecessor. Dr. Colfax will be tasked with carrying forward this important work by ensuring that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ( ACA ) is implemented in a way that is responsive to the needs of individuals living with HIV or AIDS, including a robust Essential Health Benefits package, while also encouraging the employment of new biomedical interventions like treatment as prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis.
"As Director of HIV Prevention and Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health's AIDS Office, Dr. Colfax has served on the front lines of the battle against this epidemic. His experience working with highly vulnerable populations such as gay men and other men who have sex with men ( MSM ) as well as transgender populations will prove critical in ensuring that appropriate resources are directed to those communities most severely impacted by this epidemic. His thorough understanding of the correlation between substance abuse and HIV infection will also prove vital in our efforts to repeal the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange, which was reinstated by Congress in December.
"Over the last year, policy and science have aligned like never before, providing the HIV/AIDS community with a clear path forward to ending the epidemic. ONAP has historically been a critical partner in this struggle, regularly engaging the community and individuals living with HIV or AIDS in developing policies and strategies to achieve this goal. As we work to ensure full implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the ACA and fight to realize our mission of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in America and mitigating its disproportionate impact on communities of color, we look forward to continued collaboration with ONAP under Dr. Colfax