From the Executive Director
Please allow me to introduce myself; my name is Eric Rodriguez and I'm the new Executive Director here at Body Positive, Inc., the parent agency of Body Positive magazine.
While some of you may know me as a member of the BP Board of Directors, I've been conducting research and doing public service in the HIV/AIDS community for many years now. I've worked as a data analyst, ethnographer, and project manager at the National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI), as a project director at the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST), and as a writer/academic during my undergraduate training in Western Pennsylvania and in my graduate training here in New York City. It's an honor and a privilege to be given the chance to serve the HIV/AIDS community as Body Positive's new Executive Director.
I tested HIV-positive almost three years ago -- having sero-converted while running a research intervention for HIV-positive gay and bisexual men here in New York City. I haven't been positive for very long, especially when compared with some of the terrific individuals I've met since I started working here at BP. But I've found that I have a much different perspective working in the HIV/AIDS community as an HIV-positive man than I did when I was HIV-negative. Issues that Body Positive addresses on a monthly basis -- such as disclosure, meds, research, outreach, and mental health -- were once abstract ideas that I discussed with colleagues, and wrote about in professional journals. But now I experience them myself, and that changes my perspective.
This is only my first column as Executive Director, so I'll sign off for now. I have lots of ideas for Body Positive, and I look forward to sharing them with you in this space in the months and years to come.
Eric M. Rodriguez
P.S.: I'd also like to let you know that Dana Levin, our former Director of Volunteer and Client Support Services, had left the agency in order to return to graduate school at the University of Michigan. Dana asked us to share the following message with our readers: "The commitment, caring, determination, and generosity of spirit of this community has astonished me from the day I arrived at BP, and this is something that I will carry with me througout my life. You are an inspiration to me, you have taught me a lot about life, and I feel lucky to have known you. I know that you will keep up the good fight, until one day when we won't have to fight anymore."
This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.