AIDS Funding Collaborative Welcomes New Community-at-Large Advisory Committee Members

CLEVELAND, OH – Starting June 1st, the AIDS Funding Collaborative welcomed two new community-at-large members to its Advisory Committee. The AIDS Funding Collaborative (AFC) is a public/private partnership designed to strengthen the community’s response to HIV/AIDS by providing advocacy, funding, leadership and coordination in Greater Cleveland.

The AFC’s governing body – the Advisory Committee – is comprised of representatives appointed by the AFC’s funding partners, along with community-at-large members, and representatives of designated community organizations that do not provide funding but have expertise regarding HIV/AIDS and/or funding of HIV/AIDS programs and services. All representatives have an equal vote in the AFC’s decision-making. The two newly elected community-at-large members are:

Gary A. Richardson, ACSW, LAPSW, C-ASWCM (Retired)

Gary Richardson was born in Cleveland. He worked with Federal, State, and local planning bodies, including the Ryan White Title I Planning Council for over a decade. Mr. Richardson has extensive experience on Capitol Hill advocating before members of Congress regarding the Ryan White CARE Act. Mr. Richardson worked as an HIV/AIDS Case Manager with specializations in substance abuse, mental health and housing. Mr. Richardson has received many awards for his HIV/AIDS leadership and advocacy regarding Black men living with HIV. He was a member of the 2007 class of Cleveland Bridge Builders. His most recent position was with the Cleveland Veterans Administration.

Puja S. Van Epps, MD (VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System)

Puja Van Epps is an infectious diseases clinician and a researcher at the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System. One focus for her is in health services research in the delivery of care to people living with and at-risk for HIV. Another area of interest is evaluating the use of novel data tools and telehealth technologies in HIV prevention and care. Dr. Van Epps is also the project lead for an implementation grant with the goal to leverage data tools developed using integrated electronic health record systems and advanced telehealth infrastructure to expand PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and ART (anti-retroviral therapy) use. Lastly, she serves as the director of the outpatient HIV clinic at the Cleveland VA, overseeing the care of approximately 350 veterans living with HIV.

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