by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
As part of the Elton John AIDS Foundation's (EJAF) strategy to strengthen the resilience of the HIV/AIDS movement and to support initiatives that empower community-based leaders from diverse backgrounds, the foundation announced May 5, that they will join the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in proclaiming the inaugural HIV 360° Fellowship Program.
Each year, according to EJAF, 'Ten outstanding young leaders will receive nine months of intensive leadership training to elevate their advocacy work in communities that continue to be deeply impacted by the epidemic.'
'At EJAF, we believe collaborative, unified efforts like the HIV 360° Fellowship Program are critical to stopping the spread of HIV within communities that continue to be hit the hardest by the epidemic,' said Scott Campbell, executive director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. 'We are very proud to be the primary funder for this groundbreaking program that is specifically focused on cultivating young leaders from diverse backgrounds with different ideas about how to stop the spread and stigma of HIV.'
EJAF provided two grants totaling $600,000 to HRC in 2014 and 2015 to support their work addressing HIV/AIDS in the LGBTQ community.
The 2015 grant helped to launch the HIV 360° Fellowship Program (www.hrc.org/hrc-story/hiv-360-fellowship-program) and continued to support HRC's efforts to increase awareness of HIV prevention, treatment, and care among LGBTQ people, specifically focusing on young Gay and Bisexual men and Transgender women.
The 10 fellows selected for the HIV 360° Fellowship Program's inaugural class are all under age 35 and are currently undertaking leadership roles in community-focused organizations and initiatives across two dozen states says EJAF officials.
The inaugural HIV 360° fellows are:
o Andrés Cano, National Latino HIV Awareness Day-Tucson, Tucson, AZ
o Thomas Davis, Health Education Specialist, LA LGBT Center, Los Angeles, CA
o Nicole Elinoff, Director of Clinical Services, The GLBT Center of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
o Mardrequs Harris, Public Health Program Director, Tennessee Department of Health, Memphis, TN
o Sasanka Jianadasa, Capacity Building and Community Resource Manager, HIPS, Washington, DC
o Tyrell Manning, Regional Integration Specialist, Williams and Associates, Inc., St. Louis, MO
o Pierre Jamar (PJ) Moton, Interim Clinical Program Manager, Abounding Prosperity, Inc., Dallas, TX
o Steven Romeo, Executive Director, The Change Project, Birmingham, AL
o Milan Sherry, Advisory Board Member, Positively Trans, New Orleans, LA
o Lee Storrow, Executive Director, North Carolina AIDS Action Network, Raleigh, NC
'Despite all our progress, HIV continues to ravage the LGBTQ community, with homophobia and transphobia fueling the stigma that keeps far too many away from testing, prevention, and treatment programs,' said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. 'These diverse leaders already have tremendous experience in their respective fields and communities, and we look forward to working with them to halt the spread and stigma of HIV once and for all.'
The HIV 360° Fellowship Program recently held its first retreat at HRC's Washington, DC, headquarters. According to officials, the fellows met with experts from amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, AIDS United, Casa Ruby, NAESM Inc., Whitman-Walker Health, and the Kaiser Family Foundation.
'By learning from each other and from mentors and experts participating in the program, these fellows will deepen their skills in nonprofit management, leadership, finance, and strategy, discover new marketing techniques, develop contacts and collaborative relationships with other organizations, and learn new ways to enhance the resilience and sustainability of their community organizations,' said EJAF officials.
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