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Spring 2002

First ResPAC Meeting Held

The Research Policy Advisory Committee for New York State (ResPAC) held its inaugural subcommittee meeting in January 2002.

ResPAC is ACRIA's initiative to create a first of its kind statewide strategic plan for future HIV research. It is a cooperative program with scientists, clinicians, community representatives and public health officials throughout New York.

Eleven epidemiologists attended the January meeting at amfAR's offices to discuss emerging needs in HIV research. Their resulting draft report identified seven areas of high priority for future epidemiological studies.

Subsequent strategic planning sessions will be held for behavioral science and clinical research in the very near future. A report containing findings from all three subcommittees will be available to the public following ResPAC's Full Committee Meeting later this year.

ACRIA Elects Four New Board Members

Jason Heffner, Adam Lippes, Martha Nelson, and Maer Roshan have joined ACRIA's Board of Directors. Each brings unique strengths to the agency's oversight body.

Jason Heffner has been a longtime AIDS activist as a member of ACT UP and other organizations concerned with the public health sector's response to the HIV epidemic. Most recently, he has become involved in global issues surrounding this disease. He currently serves as Technical Advisor in the Office of Sustainable Development, Bureau of Africa at the United States Agency for International Development. Mr. Heffner will add an important community voice to the Board's deliberations in the coming years.

Adam Lippes is a prominent fashion industry executive. He currently serves as Creative Director of Oscar De La Renta LTD, a major American design house. Mr. Lippes has been a strong supporter of ACRIA's mission for several years. Prior to joining the Board, he became involved in agency-wide issues as a member of ACRIA's National Advisory Council. He has also demonstrated his commitment to ACRIA through several fundraising efforts. Most recently, he hosted our 2001 holiday dinner that generated over $100,000 in support.

Martha Nelson is Managing Editor of People magazine, among the most renowned popular culture publications in the world. Previously, as founding editor of InStyle magazine, Ms. Nelson has been credited with launching the premier monthly celebrity and fashion oriented publication yet conceived. Ms. Nelson's association with ACRIA goes back to 1997 when she was kind enough to offer InStyle magazine support for two fundraising events. Her interest in our work has grown since that time, as demonstrated by the significant financial backing that Ms. Nelson has arranged for subsequent ACRIA events and for fundraising appeals by several other AIDS-related non-profits. We are very excited to have someone of Ms. Nelson's capabilities and stature on our Board of Directors.

Maer Roshan is another successful publishing executive, having held a number of prominent positions at highly regarded national magazines. Most recently, Mr. Roshan served as Editorial Director of Talk magazine. Prior to that position, he was Deputy Editor of New York magazine. Mr. Roshan's interest in causes of particular importance to the gay and lesbian community is well known. He has been a leading voice within the publishing world on health issues of high impact to these and other minority populations. We anticipate that Mr. Roshan will bring a vital new perspective to the Board's deliberations.

ACRIA Welcomes New Staff

ACRIA is pleased to welcome Stephen Karpiak, Ph.D. as our Associate Director of Research. We are excited to have recruited an individual who is so well suited to this position. The bulk of Dr. Karpiak's career has been spent as a Senior Researcher within the Division of Neuroscience at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons' Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Karpiak's time at that major teaching hospital has allowed him to acquire both an in depth understanding of the medical research process and the ability to compose complex grant proposals for scientific projects. Of equal significance, Dr. Karpiak has experience in the AIDS non-profit sector. Immediately prior to joining ACRIA, he served as Executive Director of Pride Senior Network in New York City and of A Place Called Home in Arizona. He has also been a Program Director of Being Alive services at AIDS Project Arizona. We look forward to Dr. Karpiak's contributions to ACRIA's research program in the years ahead.

ACRIA also welcomes Richard Poirier as the agency's controller. Mr. Poirier comes to us with over twelve years of financial management and accounting experience. He has coordinated budgeting, accounts payable and accounts receivable functions at both large corporations and small start-up firms. Mr. Poirier not only has the capability to manage our existing accounting needs, but will also be able to develop and implement any new financial protocols that may be required as our programs expand.

Tracy Swan is ACRIA's newest HIV Treatment Educator. She brings to our programs a sophisticated knowledge of both HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) health issues and a proven background in counseling individuals about their healthcare options. Immediately prior to joining ACRIA, Ms. Swan was the Access Project Director at the AIDS Treatment Data Network, where she maintained a database of national and local ADAP and Medicaid benefits and provided treatment counseling and education. Ms. Swan acquired her significant knowledge of HIV and HCV treatment issues while serving at the Cambridge Health Alliance's Multidisciplinary AIDS Program as Substance Abuse Specialist/HCV Case Management Program Director at the Alliance's network of Boston area hospitals and satellite clinics. Ms. Swan currently serves on the Community Constituency Group of the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). Ms. Swan's involvement with the ACTG allows her to ensure that the concerns of HIV-positive individuals are appropriately considered in the design of HIV trials.

New Web Site

ACRIA recently redesigned our Web site to include several new resources. The redesign was implemented primarily to make the agency's directory of enrolling HIV clinical trials in New York State available as an online resource. But other features have also been upgraded, and we've created an entirely new look for the site.

The new online directory offers users a high degree of flexibility to view trial listings that are of interest to their specific needs and circumstances. Individuals can request to see only those trials that are enrolling within a specific region, or they can search for trials by condition, treatment, and/or criteria such as CD4 count, viral load and age.

The Web site has also been improved in other ways. It now has a search engine for users to quickly and easily reference information on specific topics from the site's extensive content. Treatment and research issues can now be located without having to wade through multiple back issues of ACRIA Update or other archived materials. Users can go directly to sources containing the pertinent discussions. We hope that you visit soon to view the site's new look and functionality.

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This article was provided by AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. It is a part of the publication ACRIA Update. Visit ACRIA's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.