Health GAP -- which is dedicated to eliminating barriers to global access to affordable life-sustaining medications for people living with HIV/AIDS -- is entering its next phase of work by welcoming new leadership located on two continents. Health Gap invites members of the HIV and health justice communities to meet its new Executive Director Asia Russell and Managing Director Jamila Headley, and to thank outgoing Managing Director Jennifer Flynn, at a cocktail party fundraiser in New York City on Dec. 11.
Health GAP explains that:
When we started in 1999, only a handful of people living with HIV in the Global South had access to life saving HIV treatment, and only a few organizations were fighting to transform that unacceptable reality. Much has changed since those days.
We have worked with partners around the world to win human-rights-based policies that have changed the global game on health and access to medicines. Today, more than 13 million people have access to HIV treatment and the newest science is showing us that we can end the AIDS crisis. Yet political will is still what stands between the millions still waiting for access and the life-saving treatment, care and prevention they need. In fact, lack of political will and broken promises on human rights, funding, and accountability mean "ending AIDS" could become just one more empty slogan, rather than a reality.
Here at Health GAP, we're thinking creatively about the kind of organization we need to become to take the fight forward into 2015 and beyond -- that's why we're expanding our work in East and Southern Africa, gearing up for the 2016 elections in the U.S., and building our leadership structure to tackle new challenges.
Here are the details for the event:
To celebrate Jennifer's time at Health GAP and to welcome Jamila and Asia to their new positions, we're holding a party and fundraiser on Thursday December 11th from 6pm-8pm at BLOOM Salon at the Ritz, 369 W 46th Street, 3rd Floor, in Manhattan.
Health Gap is requesting a donation of $25, $75 or $125 to help support the leadership transition, but nobody will be turned away. RSVPs are requested, as space is limited.
Both Russell and Headley bring many years of experience to this work, as seen in the bios provided by Health GAP:
Asia Russell has been a leader in the fight against HIV for over 20 years, first as a community organizer and treatment activist in Philadelphia, and ultimately as part of the group who founded Health GAP in 1999, serving as our Director of International Policy. She is currently based in Uganda, where she works in coalition with local human rights, HIV, sexual and reproductive health and rights, LGBTI organizations and other allies to win bold action by the Ugandan and donor governments on AIDS and health funding and policies, fight homophobic and stigmatizing laws, and to build the capacity of activist and other civil society networks. Asia is a 2008 recipient of the Keith Cylar Courage Award from Housing Works, the 2010 Kiyoshi Kuromiya Award from Philadelphia FIGHT, the 2011 John M. Lloyd Leadership Award, and an award in 2011 from The AIDS Service Organization (TASO), Uganda for her exceptional contribution as an AIDS activist. As Executive Director, Asia will be responsible for strengthening and expanding Health GAP's programmatic work, including in East and Southern Africa, while continuing to lead international policy campaigns that secure real change for communities.
Jamila Headley is a longtime ally and former core member of Health GAP, from the island of Barbados. Most recently, Jamila served as a Program Officer for the Accountability and Monitoring in Health Initiative and the Global Health Financing Initiative of the Public Health Program at Open Society Foundations (OSF). At OSF, she helped to lead the development of several new bodies of grant-making focused on strengthening civil society engagement in the development, implementation, and monitoring of national and donor governments' health budgets. Prior to this, Jamila completed a PhD at Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Jamila has written and conducted research on the development of national and regional responses to the HIV epidemic in Barbados and the Caribbean, the impact of trade agreements on health policy and access to medicines, and the role of North-South civil society partnerships in influencing the policies and priorities of large global health donors. She is a 2006 recipient of the Vermont State Madeline Kunin Public Service Award for her commitment to social justice. Jamila will be based in the U.S., where she will manage Health GAP's organizational and financial matters, while bringing her unique blend of knowledge and experience to key areas of Health GAP's programmatic work.
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