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New Members of PACHA-Presidential Advisory Council on AIDS
 
 
 
 
OraSure CEO named to presidential HIV/AIDS panel
 
Feb 3 2010
 
Douglas Michels, chief executive officer of OraSure Technologies in Bethlehem, has been named to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
 
The council provides advice, information and recommendations to the president through the secretary of Health and Human Services on domestic and global HIV/AIDS policy issues.
 
OraSure makes the OraQuick HIV test and other medical products.
 
Pennsylvania Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob Casey issued a joint statement Tuesday noting Michels' appointment.
 
''It is honor to have a Pennsylvania business leader among those selected to advise the president and the secretary on the critically important issue of HIV/AIDS,'' Casey said in a statement. ''Through his leadership of one of the Commonwealth's leading diagnostics companies, Mr. Michels has demonstrated a keen business acumen and a dedication to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.''
 
Said Specter, ''I am also proud to count OraSure Technologies, one of Pennsylvania's leading small businesses, among the companies that are making an impact on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Under Mr. Michels' leadership, Orasure is helping to save lives with its innovative oral fluid diagnostic products.''
 
Michels joined OraSure in June 2004. He serves on the board of St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network and 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.
 

Birmingham AIDS expert on new presidential panel
 
By Mary Orndorff -- The Birmingham News
February 02, 2010, 11:07AM
 
Kathie Hiers of Birmingham has been named to President Obama's national advisory council on AIDS on the recommendation of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. (Birmingham News file)WASHINGTON - Birmingham's Kathie Hiers said today she plans to use her seat on President Obama's new HIV/AIDS advisory panel to argue for more AIDS-related funding for the South.
 
"We've got the most minorities, the most people without health insurance, and the most poverty and now is the time to build the infrastructure in the South to take care of the disease," Hiers said in an interview after the inaugural meeting of the council. The region has a growing number of cases, especially among teens and minorities.
 
Hiers is chief executive officer of AIDS Alabama and one of 24 members appointed to the panel that will advise Obama on domestic and global AIDS issues. AIDS Alabama is a nonprofit that provides housing and other support to low-income people with HIV/AIDS.
 
"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," Obama said in a prepared statement.
 
Hiers was recommended for the appointment by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
 
Hiers and Sessions worked together to win more federal funding for AIDS treatment in southern states, but Hiers said the federal budget still shortchanges the region on education, mental health and housing funds for people living with HIV or AIDS.
 

Brooks named to AIDS council
Mass. activist joins Obama advisors

 
By Hannah McBride
Globe Correspondent / February 2, 2010
 
Douglas Brooks, an outspoken activist in Massachusetts who has been HIV-positive for 20 years, has been named to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.)
 
Brooks, who serves as vice president at the Justice Resource Institute in Boston, will work with Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services. The council will provide advice and recommendations to President Obama about national programs to reduce HIV infections and increase access to care.
 
Massachusetts has been at the forefront in HIV/AIDS policy by including those patients in the development and implementation of programs that affect them, Brooks said.
 
"It is right and good that we will be at the table to help lead the country in ending the pandemic,?? he said in a statement announcing his nomination.
 
Governor Deval Patrick, who nominated Brooks, said that as a black gay man living with HIV, Brooks serves as a unique advocate for AIDS patients.
 
"Douglas is one of those rare individuals who has been able to combine a deep sense of his own identity . . . with a commitment to creative, energetic, and ongoing grassroots community organizing and the advancement of social justice,?? Patrick said in the statement.
 
Brooks, a licensed social worker, has worked for decades in Boston and Provincetown on AIDS-related initiatives and is a visiting fellow at the McCormack Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
 
Internationally, he consults with South Africa's Eastern Cape Province Department of Health and helped organize the first HIV-positive Consumer Conference in the Eastern Cape Province.
 
Brooks is also a board member of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, the AIDS Action Council in Washington, D.C., and the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition
 

Sebelius names Kim to AIDS advisory council
 
By Laura Bryn Sisson, The Dartmouth Staff
 
Published on Wednesday, February 3, 2010
 
College President Jim Yong Kim has been officially named to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release. The council "provides advice, information and recommendations to the President through the Secretary of Health and Human Services on domestic and global HIV/AIDS policy issues," according to the release. Kim is one of 23 new members of the council, which usually meets two to three times each year.
 
The new members met with the rest of the council for the first time on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., the press release said.
 
Kim, who was unavailable for comment on Tuesday, traveled to Washington to attend the council meeting, College Director of Media Relations Roland Adams told The Dartmouth. Kim had previously stated he would be named a member of the council during his remarks at the Martin Luther King, Jr. keynote lecture on Jan. 18.
 
Other appointees include A. Cornelius Baker, the national policy advisor for the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition; Humberto Cruz, director of the AIDS Institute at the New York State Department of Health; Patricia Garcia, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University; and Anita McBride, former assistant to President Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush. Also joining the council is Santra Torres-Rivera, who "led the establishment in 1997 of the first nutritional program in Puerto Rico for persons with HIV/AIDS," according to the press release, and former Oscar nominee Rosie Perez, an actor, choreographer and director.
 
Students interviewed by The Dartmouth said they thought Kim's appointment came at a bad time for the College.
 
John Lee ?11 said he is concerned that Kim may be holding too many positions at once, although he said he is happy Kim is serving the international health community.
 
In particular, the approaching Board of Trustees meeting and impending deadlines for completing budget reduction plans may lead students to worry that Kim's energy will be diverted from the College, according to Rick D?Amato ?13.
 
Several students interviewed by The Dartmouth said that because Kim made a commitment to addressing the problems of the College, any deviation from this mission is inherently troubling. They added, however, that Kim may be able to bring a valuable national perspective from his work on the committee back to the College.
 
PACHA's past resolutions include support for the Early Treatment for HIV Act, which would have extended Medicaid coverage to individuals as soon as they are diagnosed with HIV, to allow them treatment in the early stages of infection instead of waiting until they became disabled by its effects, according to the AIDS Action Group web site. The bill was first introduced to the U.S. Senate in 2001 and has been reintroduced five times since, never making it out of committee, according to the Library of Congress web site.
 
PACHA also resolved in 2004 to support the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, which provides treatment medications to low income patients nationally, according to a web site for The Health Central Network.
 
The council is involved with the development of approaches for HIV/AIDS education, plans to reduce the cost of medication, support for the availability of anonymous testing and the examination of alternative treatments to traditional drugs and their integration into treatment plans, according to PACHA's web site. PACHA also reports on the education procedures, treatments and availability of clinical drug trials conducted in prisons, the web site said.
 
In 2008, PACHA resolved to "fill key policy and leadership positions" for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, according to the PACHA web site's log of past resolutions. PEPFAR provides funding for programs to fight HIV/AIDS globally, and is "the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history," according to an Oct. 22, 2008 press release by the U.S. State Department.
 
Tuesday's meeting took place on White House property from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and was open to the public, Christopher Bates, director of the Office for HIV/Aids policy and executive director of PACHA said in a letter announcing the meeting on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web site. Members of the public who had registered on PACHA's web site were allowed to comment at the meeting, Bates said in the letter.
 

Local AIDS activist appointed to President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS
 
February 2, HIV and AIDS ExaminerCandace Y. A. Montague
 
Yesterday, A. Cornelius Baker, a Senior Communications Advisor and Project Director at the Academy for Educational Development Center on AIDS and Community Health, was appointed one of the 24 new members to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). 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. He was recently voted as a member of the Board of Director's for Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc., a local non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of African-American gay and bisexual men. He is the National Policy Advisor for National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition in Washington, D.C.
 
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. Other appointees include Praveen Basaviah HIV/AIDS advocate who most recently completed serving for one year as a Bill Clinton fellow in India through the American Indian Foundation. Calvin Butts III, Pastor, Abyssinian Baptist Church and Chair of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. Dr. Jim Kim, M.D., Ph.D., President, Dartmouth College. Dr. Kim is also former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization (WHO). Rosie Pérez, Actor, choreographer, director who has been involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy work since 1991. Phil Wilson, Founder, Executive Director; The Black AIDS Institute. "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 yesterday.
 
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. "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 board convened for the first time today.
 
For more information about PACHA and a complete list of all 24 appointees, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap and http://www.pacha.gov/.
 
 
 
 
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