July 10, 2007
On June 21, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Dr. Michelle Roland's July 1 appointment as chief of the state Office of AIDS. The position was vacated a year ago by Michael Montgomery, who retired.
Roland, 45, who self-identifies as a bisexual, grew up in Berkeley and received her M.D. at the University of California-Davis. Her scope of expertise includes antiretroviral resistance, post-exposure prophylaxis, and organ transplantation in HIV-positive patients.
At the Office of AIDS, a part of the Department of Public Health, Roland will lead an agency with a $422 million annual budget. She will help set policy on areas including the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, HIV prevention, and disbursement of federal AIDS funding.
In an interview, Roland was reticent regarding such controversial topics as prison-based HIV testing and condom distribution, saying she preferred first to become familiar with the agency and staffers. She did say she was excited to see the Office of AIDS' recent move to fund needle exchange programs. "It will become clearer once I am there for a while what directions make sense to go in," said Roland.
Roland not only has an "intense commitment to those affected by HIV/AIDS," she has "enormous technical knowledge about treatment and prevention," said Mark Cloutier, San Francisco AIDS Foundation's executive director.
Roland has been involved with HIV/AIDS since 1987, helping in San Francisco when the first AIDS agencies were forming. Since 2005, she has been an associate clinical professor of medicine at the Department of Internal Medicine for the University of California-San Francisco's Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital. She also serves as vice-chair for the board of the American Academy of HIV Medicine.