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Obama's AIDS Council named; Rosie Perez and Phill Wilson included
2010-03-01

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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today the appointment of 24 new members to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS ( PACHA ) . The PACHA's chair, Dr. Helene Gayle, was appointed in August 2009. This council of HIV/AIDS experts is composed of a diverse group of researchers, service providers, and community leaders from around the country, including people living with HIV. The Council also includes people who are from community-based organizations that cater to the medical, legal, or mental health needs of people living with HIV and AIDS.

The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS provides advice, information, and recommendations to the President through the Secretary of Health and Human Services on domestic and global HIV/AIDS policy issues. PACHA also serves to further the policy goals of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy ( ONAP ) and will play an important role in providing input for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

Currently, there are an estimated one million individuals living with HIV in the United States, and a new HIV infection occurs every nine-and-a-half minutes in America. Of those currently infected, one in five does not know he or she has the condition, and the majority of new infections are spread by people who are unaware of their own status. Globally, there are over 33 million people living with HIV, and AIDS remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Women and children around the world are particularly vulnerable due to gender inequalities, gaps in access to services, and increases in sexual violence.

"We often speak about HIV/AIDS as if it's only going on somewhere else, but we face a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic in America. That's why last year my administration began crafting a new National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Today, I'm pleased to have a new group of experts joining PACHA; and I look forward to hearing from the council about our continued efforts to prevent the spread of HIV infections in the United States and to provide care and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS around the world," said President Obama.

"These new members also represent the best of America. I look forward to their strategic guidance in assisting HHS to do its part in developing and implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and in supporting the important work of the PEPFAR program," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The PACHA will convene for the first time during the Obama Administration on February 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Additional information about the work of ONAP and the PACHA are available at http:// www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap and http:// www.pacha.gov/ .

Members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS

—A. Cornelius Baker; National Policy Advisor, National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition; Washington, D.C. Mr. Baker also serves as a Senior Communications Advisor at the Center on AIDS and Community Health of the Academy for Educational Development. For the past two decades, Mr. Baker has worked in the local and federal government, local and national community-based advocacy and service delivery and on a variety of workgroups to advance the nation's response to the HIV epidemic.

—Praveen Basaviah; HIV/AIDS advocate; Bay Area, CA. Mr. Basaviah most recently completed serving for one year as a Bill Clinton fellow in India through the American Indian Foundation ( AIF ) . He worked in the HIV/AIDS sector in South India with the South India AIDS Action Program. Prior to joining the AIF, Mr. Basaviah worked as a program manager at the National Centers on Sexuality in San Francisco; he also worked with the Speakers Bureau of Communities United Against Violence.

—Dawn Averitte Bridge; Founder and President of the Board, The Well Project; Nellysford, VA. Ms. Bridge founded the Well Project, which is a not-for-profit organization that works to change the course of the HIV/AIDS pandemic through a unique and comprehensive focus on women. Her knowledge and expertise in HIV/AIDS ranges from general HIV awareness and pathogenesis of HIV disease to complex treatment-related topics.

—Douglas Brooks; Vice President for Health Services, Justice Resource Institute ( JRI ) ; Boston, MA. Mr. Brooks also serves as Executive Director of the JRI Health/Sidney Borum Jr Health Center. Mr. Brooks is a licensed clinical social worker. His works involves partnering with local, state, and federal government and non-government sectors. For the past seven years, Mr. Brooks has represented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a member of the Massachusetts-South Africa Health Task Force.

—Calvin Butts III, D. Min.; Pastor, Abyssinian Baptist Church; New York, NY. Dr. Butts is the pastor of one of the largest churches in Harlem, NY. He also is president of the State University of New York ( SUNY ) and Chair of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. Dr. Butts helped to mobilize the religious community to support programs that provide assistance to AIDS patients and their families.

—Humberto Cruz; Director, AIDS Institute, New York State Department of Health; New York, NY. In his current position, Mr. Cruz provides oversight for the development, evaluation, and delivery of prevention programs; health care and support services; the establishment of clinical standards for care; education of health providers and the public, and guidance for regional and statewide planning. Mr. Cruz also serves as a member of the Executive Committee for the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors ( NASTAD ) .

—Ernest Darkoh, MD, MPH; Chairman, BroadReach Healthcare, LLC; Washington, DC. Dr. Darkoh is an internationally recognized expert in global health program management, strategic planning, health systems development and large scale treatment program implementation. Dr. Darkoh has served as an advisor to numerous governments, including Botswana, China, Ethiopia, and South Africa in the development of their public and private sector HIV/AIDS programs.

—Kevin Frost, Chief Executive Officer, The Foundation for AIDS Research ( amfAR ) ; New York, NY. Mr. Frost joined the staff of amfAR in 1994; he has occupied his current position since 2007. Prior to joining amfAR, Mr. Frost worked as an inpatient care coordinator of the AIDS program at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Mr. Frost's efforts significantly contributed to development of TREAT Asia, a collaborative effort of 17 Asian countries that are increasingly and actively engaged in HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and pertinent public education.

—Patricia Garcia, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Northwestern University; Chicago, IL. Dr. Garcia is a specialist in maternal and fetal medicine. Her research interests include epidemiology of STD and HIV/AIDS and interventions in STD and HIV/AIDS.

—Robert Greenwald, Managing Attorney, The WilmerHale Legal Services Center; Harvard Law School; Jamaica Plain, MA. Mr. Greenwald also directs the Health Law and Policy Clinic and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Law Clinic that are operated through the Legal Services Center ( LSC ) . Started by Mr. Greenwald as the AIDS Law Clinic, the Health Law and Policy Clinic was the first law school-based legal services program serving low-income people living with HIV/AIDS.

—Kathie Hiers, Chief Executive Officer, AIDS Alabama; Birmingham, AL. AIDS Alabama is a non-profit organization that provides housing and supportive services, as well as education, outreach, and testing to low-income persons with HIV/AIDS. Ms. Hiers has worked for more than 15 years to serve the HIV/AIDS populations through Alabama's service organizations. Ms. Hiers is recognized as a leader of HIV advocacy efforts in Alabama.

—David Holtgrave, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Health, Behavior and Society; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Baltimore, MD. Dr. Holtgrave is an expert in HIV prevention who also brings extensive knowledge and expertise of HIV/AIDS issues that impact treatment and housing. Dr. Holtgrave was previously employed by the CDC as Director, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention - Intervention Research and Support. Dr. Holtgrave formerly served on an Institute of Medicine panel that examined a variety of strategies for the public sector funding of HIV care and treatment services in the United States.

—Michael Horberg, MD, MAS, Director, HIV/AIDS; Kaiser Permanente; Oakland, CA. In his current position, Dr. Horberg serves as an HIV and infectious diseases specialist. He provides guidance and coordination for program-wide improvements in care, established common data collection and reporting methodologies, and development of an integrated research network.

—Ejay Jack, Graduate Assistant, Multicultural Affairs; The University of Nebraska at Omaha; Omaha, NE. Mr. Jack has interest and experience working on international and domestic issues that impact HIV/AIDS and mental illness. His current work efforts focus on HIV and STD education and prevention within the transgender population and injection drug users.

—Jack Jackson Jr., Principal, The Agassiz Group, LLC; Phoenix, AZ. Mr. Jackson has been involved with matters concerning the impact of HIV/AIDS on American Indians and Alaska Natives living in tribal and urban communities. Mr. Jackson previously served on the Board of the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center ( NNAAPC ) and also served as one of the organization's public policy consultant. Mr. Jackson was appointed to serve as a member of PACHA during the Clinton administration.

—Naina Khanna, Director of Policy and Community Organizing; Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease ( WORLD ) ; Oakland, CA. Ms. Khanna has responsibility for coordinating organizational policy and advocacy efforts at the local, state and national levels, with an emphasis on training and leadership development for women living with HIV. She also manages and directs the U.S. Positive Women's Network ( PWN ) , which has a national membership of HIV positive women who are working for a response to the US epidemic that meets women's needs.

—Jim Kim, M.D., Ph.D., President, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. President Kim is a co-founder of Partners in Health ( PIH ) and a former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization ( WHO ) . He has dedicated himself to health and social justice work for more than two decades, helping to provide medical treatment to underserved populations worldwide. Before assuming the Dartmouth presidency, President Kim held professorships at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.

—Anita McBride, former Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush. Mrs. McBride directed the First Lady's staff work on the wide variety of issues — including education, global literacy, youth development, women's rights and health, historic preservation and conservation, the arts, and global health issues including efforts to end pandemic diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS. Mrs. McBride also served as a member of the U.S. delegations to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2002; the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2003; and the UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS in 2006. In January 2009, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

—Douglas Michels, President, Chief Executive Officer, OraSure Technologies, Inc., Bethlehem, PA. Mr. Michels joined OraSure Technologies, Inc in June 2004, as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Michels currently serves on the Board of St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network in Bethlehem, Pa., and has previously served on the Board of the National Blood Foundation, the Board of the National Committee for Quality Health Care, and the Coalition to Protect America's Health Care.

—Rosie Pérez, Actor, choreographer, director. Appeared in her first major film Do the Right Thing ( 1989 ) , which explored racial tensions in a varied community setting. She appeared on 21 Jump Streetand was choreographer for the show In Living Color, which earned her three Emmy nominations. It was her dramatic turn in Fearless ( 1993 ) that earned her first Oscar nomination. Ms. Perez has been involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy work since 1991.

—Mario J. Pérez, Director of the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS Programs and Policy ( OAPP ) . Mr. Perez is responsible for managing and guiding the annual investment of more than $80 million in local, state and federal resources that support a comprehensive local HIV/AIDS service delivery system. He is Commissioner on the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV and a former member of both the California HIV Planning Group and the Los Angeles County HIV Prevention Planning Committee. On numerous occasions over the last 15 years, he has testified before Members of Congress, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council to address a range of HIV/AIDS issues

—Malika Saada Saar, M.Ed, JD, Founder, Executive Director, Rebecca Project. The Rebecca Project for Human Rights is a national legal and policy organization that advocates for justice, dignity, and reform for vulnerable families. Ms. Saada Saar is the founder of Crossing the River, a written and spoken word workshop for mothers in recovery from substance abuse.

—Sandra Torres-Rivera, Executive Director, Bill's Kitchen. Mrs. Torres-Rivera led the establishment in 1997 of the first nutritional program in Puerto Rico for persons with HIV/AIDS. She has been recognized as an exceptional leader in the area of HIV/AIDS and has an ample understanding of the area of nutritional and support services for persons living with HIV. For eight years she served as a key member of the Ryan White Part A Planning Council for the San Juan EMA.

—Phill Wilson, Founder, Executive Director; The Black AIDS Institute. The Institute is a training and mobilization center focused exclusively on Black people. The Institute's mission is to stop the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV. Prior to founding the Institute, Mr. Wilson served as the AIDS Coordinator for the City of Los Angeles from 1990 to 1993, The Director of Policy and Planning at AIDS Project Los Angeles from 1993 to 1996. Mr. Wilson was the coordinator of the International Community Treatment and Science Workshop at several International AIDS Conferences. He has been involved in the founding of a number of other AIDS service organizations and community-based organizations, including the Chris Brownlie Hospice, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the National Minority AIDS Council, the Los Angeles County Gay Men of Color Consortium, and the CAEAR Coalition.

FROM A NEWS RELEASE


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