This article was cross-posted from the AIDS.gov blog. James Albino is the Senior Program Manager in the Office of National AIDS Policy.
Today, the White Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy (ONAP) engaged the business community, private foundations, and the HIV/AIDS community to begin a dialogue on how to improve the role of public private partnerships as our office develops the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). As a former director of a community based organization in Puerto Rico, I know that public private partnerships can mean the difference between continuing to provide life enhancing service or closing up shop.
Today's panelists included: Kandy Ferree, National AIDS Fund, President; Nancy Mahon, MAC AIDS Fund, Executive Director, North American Programs; Anthony Hooper, Bristol Myers Squibb, President Americas; Karen Davis, Hasbro, Hasbro Inc., Vice President Community Relations; David McMurry Chevron Global HIV/AIDS Policy Implementation Senior Manager; Louis O. Spraggins, Positive Charge, Chicago; Joe Kimbrell, Louisiana Public Health Institute; and Tom Luce, National Math and Science Initiative.
An important factor in the development and implementation of the NHAS is ONAP's effort to broaden the reach of the national conversation on HIV/AIDS. Part of that effort involves starting a conversation on the role partnerships between government, private sector foundations, corporations, national HIV/AIDS advocacy and community-based service organizations that are working on the front lines of the HIV epidemic. Today's panel, moderated by Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, began the Administration's conversation of the role of such partnerships in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Sonal Shah, Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation helped frame the panel discussion in her opening remarks. Sonal shared her ample experience in guiding the development of public private partnerships in other areas, most notably the Administration's "Educate to Innovate, Campaign for Excellence in STEM" (public private partnerships in science, technology, education) which serves as an Administration model for building public private partnerships.
The panel highlighted the importance of the business community, private national funders, and the HIV/AIDS service and advocacy communities in collaborating in the development of public private partnerships. The participants highlighted current programs being funded by the private sector, which directly align with the goals, and objectives the President outlined for the National Strategy. The event also recognized the efforts of national AIDS organizations and community-based partners as they work collaboratively to increase access to lifesaving care.
Moving forward, our office will seek to encourage the development of public private partnerships that bring to bear new resources and expertise for the populations and communities most affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States. It will take innovative leadership from these key stakeholders to effectively address the three pillars of the NHAS - Reducing Incidence, Increasing Access to Care and Reducing Health Disparities.
ONAP has stressed that the work of the NHAS does not fall to the Federal government alone. Success will require the commitment of all parts of society; including people living with HIV, state and local governments, corporate America, faith communities, highly affected communities, philanthropy, and others. ONAP and the Obama Administration have been clear to say that the presence, of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy alone, will not effectively address the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic. The NHAS must have clear goals, measurable outcomes and meaningful opportunities for broad, and importantly engagement across sectors.