California: HIV Prevention Chief Named
August 17, 2007
After a search lasting nearly two years, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) has named Dr. Grant Colfax as its new director of HIV prevention. Colfax will start his new job on Sept. 4.
A 10-year veteran of the SFDPH AIDS Office, Colfax most recently served as co-director of the HIV epidemiology section. He will direct the merger of the HIV prevention research unit with the HIV prevention section. Colfax's salary will remain at its current level: $168,896. He will also continue to see patients at San Francisco General Hospital's AIDS Ward 86 a half-day each week.
A self-described "outcome and evidence-based person," Colfax said, "One of the things I am planning to do in the first few months is figure out where resources are being allocated, based on the best evidence out there where they should be going, and what are the outcomes we are getting from our dollars." He also hopes to see prevention staff and researchers work more closely together.
One way to achieve further reductions in the city's fairly stable HIV rate might be to create prevention messages focused on the positive, rather than negative, aspects of the lives of gay men, Colfax said.
"Most gay men don't use substances, and most gay men who use substances don't use them heavily," Colfax said. "How can we reinforce that in the community as positive community norms to come up with a more asset-based model? Most gay men don't use meth. What is it about their resilience that won't lead them down a pathway to using meth? How can we reinforce those strengths?"
Colfax will work out a transition plan with interim HIV Prevention Director Tracey Packer, who will remain in the section in a role to be determined, Colfax said.
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
08.16.2007; Matthew S. Bajko
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.