Advancing Excellence in HIV Care
Key Milestones for 2004
In many respects, 2004 is a key year for the Academy. We have already achieved several organizational milestones. In August, Academy membership surpassed 2,000, reaching an all-time high. I am also happy to report that last month, the Academy was awarded funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist with the implementation of the CDC's HIV initiative, Advancing HIV Prevention: New Strategies for a Changing Epidemic. This is the Academy's first federal grant, and work on the project has already begun.
In June, the Academy launched a new educational initiative -- Practical Management of HIV, a one-day regional workshop series presenting the Recent Learning Objectives of the AAHIVM Core Curriculum. Already, this workshop has enjoyed successes in Los Angeles, Harrisburg, PA and Houston, TX, with future workshops planned for Orlando, Sturbridge, MA and Puerto Rico (city TBA). And this past May, in conjunction with HIVMA, the AIDS Institute and IAPAC, the Academy helped bring you White Coat Day, the first coordinated day of lobbying ever for HIV medical providers. Each of these is a watershed achievement and attests to the currency and vigor of the Academy.
A Year of New Leadership
This year has proven to be a year of change for the Academy. This summer, you continued the tradition of extensive practical service by electing new members to your regional Boards of Directors. Drawing upon this new pool of regional talent, new representatives to the National Board have been seated and continue the aggressive furtherance of our mission to improve excellence in HIV care. In May of this year, I stepped up to become Chair of the National Board. In accepting the Board Chair position, I recognize that I have demanding tasks and responsibilities ahead and that a high bar has been set. Judith Feinberg's prior tenure as Board Chair saw the Academy grow and mature into the premier national organization of HIV health care professionals.
New leadership is also present on our administrative staff. In May, the Academy hired Rori Ferensic as the director of professional development and credentialing, asserting our commitment to continuing education and external validation of HIV treatment expertise. Rori's exceptional experience in association-based certification and education programs will ensure that the Academy continues to be a leader in continuing education and the identification of HIV specialists in the United States.
Most notably, this July, Scott Hitt, M.D. resigned as CEO of the Academy. As founder of the organization, Dr. Hitt worked tirelessly to improve the quality of and access to care. His insightful leadership and nurturance of the Academy enabled it to become the foremost professional organization in the field of HIV medicine. While Dr. Hitt's departure was unfortunate, the Board is pleased to announce that Howard Grossman, M.D., A.A.H.I.V.S. has recently been hired as the Academy's new Executive Director. Dr. Grossman represents a rich mix of leadership, knowledge and skillfulness that will ensure the Academy continues to move forward. He will begin limited work with AAHIVM immediately and will assume full operational duties at the turn of the year upon the organization's relocation to Washington, DC. In the meantime, Dan Levek will continue in his role as Interim Executive Director for AAHIVM.
Looking Ahead to 2005
This year will continue to be a sentinel year for the Academy. This fall, the Academy will be sending out its annual online member survey to gather crucial feedback to aid in planning for 2005. Last year's survey was a great success, and the information gathered led to many of this year's initiatives, including the launch of the Practical Management of HIV workshop series and improvements to the HIV Medicine Self-Directed Study Guide. We look forward to your participation again this year, so please watch your e-mail for this online survey.
Also this fall, the Academy will begin implementing its move to Washington, DC. As announced in January, the Academy will be moving its national headquarters from Los Angeles to increase the number and availability of resources and to promote access to decision makers and policy sources within the federal government and many nongovernmental organizations. The move will take place slowly over the upcoming months, with a permanent office opening in Washington, DC at the beginning of 2005. The move has been planned so as to have a minimal effect on membership functions.
Among all of these changes and milestones, the Board, staff and I together remain committed to keeping the organization focused upon its mission to advance excellence in HIV medicine. As we address the mission of the Academy, each of us recognizes that the Academy must be a dynamic organization if we are to continue effectively to address the changing HIV epidemic. The Academy's vitality and strength to approach the challenges of the HIV epidemic are drawn directly from its membership. As we approach 2005, I sincerely hope that you reaffirm your commitment to the Academy and HIV medicine by renewing your membership with the Academy and by stepping forward to offer your personal time and participation on a regional or national level.
This article was provided by American Academy of HIV Medicine. It is a part of the publication The Nexus.