by Joe Siegel/TRT Reporter
More than 100 people attended Fenway Health’s annual Board of Visitors meeting on October 19, at Fenway Health’s Ansin Building home at 1340 Boylston Street, Boston. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Healthcare: Real or At-Risk?”
Congressman Michael Capuano provided an update from Washington that focused on healthcare, HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues.
The next few years are going to be tough for AIDS Service Organizations across the country. The attendees were told that they could expect a reduction in federal funding for HIV/AIDS programs.
Henia Handler, Director of Government Affairs for Fenway Health, noted that President Obama is expecting AIDS organizations to slash their budgets.
“We are in fiscal crisis. We will most certainly remain in fiscal crisis for the next couple of years,” Handler noted. “There’s very little likelihood there will be an increase in appropriations for (the) Ryan White (Care Act) and yet much planning has to go forward because the authorization will end on September 30, 2013.”
Additionally, there is great uncertainty about federal AIDS funding due to a possible Republican takeover of Congress after the November 2 election.
Handler explained there was a “renewed interest in HIV/AIDS,” particularly due to a CDC (Centers for Disease Control) report showing a large increase in new cases of HIV infections among young gay men of color.
Those statistics, along with the possible end of the Ryan White Care Act, “has lent itself to significant concern across the National HIV/AIDS community,” Handler said.
Fenway Health is a Ryan White grant recipient and has also been treating AIDS patients since the first cases appeared in Massachusetts.
“We are rooted in the notion that (HIV/AIDS) really isn’t over yet,” Handler said, adding that although medications are helping patients to live longer, “it still is a lifetime condition.”
Following Capuano’s speech, Jeffrey Crowley, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy and Senior Advisory on Disability Policy gave an overview of the National AIDS Strategy.
Crowley then participated in a panel discussion moderated by Harold Cox, MSSW, Associate Dean of Public Health Practice, School of Public Health, Boston University; Douglas Brooks, MSW, Senior Vice President for Community Health and Public Policy, Justice Resource Institute;; Jean McGuire, PhD, Assistant Secretary, Executive Office of Health & Human Services, Disability Policy & Programs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Carl Rosendorf, independent consultant and former President & COO of Gather.com and CEO of Smartbargains.com, is the Chair of Fenway’s Board of Visitors. Established in 2005, the mission of Fenway’s Board of Visitors is to heighten the visibility of Fenway Health and to provide additional expertise and experience to support the organization.
Members are interested and influential members of the community, patients, donors, and friends who lend their contacts, connections, and goodwill to help advance Fenway’s mission.
For more information about Fenway Health visit: www.fenwayhealth.org