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Marsha Martin Departs AIDS Action to Assume Appointment as Head of D.C.'s HIV/AIDS Administration

(Washington, DC) The boards of directors of Washington, D.C.-based AIDS Action Council and AIDS Action Foundation today formally announced the departure of Executive Director Dr. Marsha A. Martin. Dr. Martin will be joining the D.C. Department of Health Services as head of HIV/AIDS Administration.

The HIV/AIDS Administration distributes the approximately $80 million budget for HIV related programs in Washington, D.C., provides grants to area service providers, monitors programs, and tracks HIV and AIDS incidence in the District of Columbia.

Martin, who assumed the role of AIDS Action’s executive director in February 2002, was previously a special assistant to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala during the second term of the Clinton administration.

“In her tenure, Marsha has built a strong and capable team to which members of Congress, federal agency officials, and the White House look for reliable information and sound analyses of HIV related issues.” said Craig E. Thompson, chair of the AIDS Action Council board.

“This team of dedicated professionals has increased AIDS Action’s organizational capacity by enhancing our collaborations with partner organizations and coalitions, and this shared work is improving our country’s response to the HIV epidemic,” he continued.

Of particular note, AIDS Action is providing leadership, along with other advocates nationwide, to ensure swift passage of an improved Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act. As part of this effort, we are proposing a plan to modernize the CARE Act’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program so that everyone in need HIV treatment receives it.

David Wexler, a longtime member and former chair of both the AIDS Action Council and Foundation boards of AIDS, said that AIDS Action Foundation’s research, analysis, and educational work has also grown stronger.

“Since 2002, AIDS Action Foundation has been working with the federal government to bring HIV positive people into continuous care, and the Foundation has researched, produced, and disseminated educational materials as well as provided trainings on how communities across the country are successfully connecting individuals living with HIV to such care,” Wexler indicated.

“AIDS Action will now expand upon this work, with the support of a $900,000, three-year co-operative agreement from the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration,” he revealed.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Marsha to effect some much-needed change at a critical time for people living with HIV and for D.C.’s community of providers,” Wexler stated. “The District of Columbia is fortunate to get someone with Marsha’s experience and expertise. She will be at the heart of CARE Act reauthorization, and we look forward to a strong partnership.”

“Marsha’s leadership has helped to shape the work of AIDS Action,” Thompson observed. “As she moves into her new role in the HIV/AIDS Administration, the board members and staff of AIDS Action want to thank her and wish her well.”

“I’ve enjoyed working with AIDS Action’s board and staff to chart a new and improved course for the U.S. response to the epidemic,” Martin stated. “I look forward to continuing our partnership and drawing on the expertise of AIDS Action and its national and community partners as well as people living with HIV as the District builds a model HIV program for the nation.”

The staff of AIDS Action will continue to operate with the confidence of the board. Until a successor is named, Ronald Johnson, associate executive director of member organization Gay Men’s Health Crisis and co-chair of the AIDS Action’s public policy committee, will serve as the lead strategist for CARE Act reauthorization. Rebecca Haag, executive director of member organization AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, will lead the search for a new executive director, as part of her continuing role in strategic planning for the organization. Ms. Haag will also work closely with the senior management team of Jenifer Johnson, associate executive director, and John Hilton, deputy director, to ensure continuity of AIDS Action’s HIV advocacy, public policy, and research priorities.

AIDS Action strives to end the HIV epidemic by advancing public policies that prevent new infections, provide care for people living with HIV, and support the search for a cure. AIDS Action serves as the national voice for people living with HIV and represents AIDS service organizations, health departments, and a diverse network of community-based organizations across the country.


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