By: Joe Siegel/TRT Reporter
Dr. Kenneth H. Mayer will be honored by Fenway Health with this year’s Congressman Gerry E. Studds Award, which will be given at The Men’s Event on April 9.
The award, named in honor of the late Congressman, is presented to individuals of integrity and selflessness who embody the spirit of service and provide positive leadership for the LGBT community. Studds represented southeastern Massachusetts in the U.S. Congress from 1973 to 1997 and became the first openly gay Member of Congress in 1983 when he proudly acknowledged his sexual orientation standing on the congressional floor.
“Ken is being honored for his lifetime of work to improve the health of the LGBT community,” said Philip Finch, Fenway Health’s Vice-President of Communications and Development.
Finch noted that Mayer helped discover some of the first cases of HIV in New England in the mid-1980s.
“(Mayer) was sort of the guy who was a groundbreaking scientist in New England to help ensure that (HIV patients) had access to fair treatment, had access to trial drugs and experimental treatment programs during the early days of HIV and managed to save dozens and dozens of lives,” Finch noted.
Mayer is Medical Research Director and Co-Chair of The Fenway Institute and led the Fenway team involved in the groundbreaking iPrex study, which showed that high-risk individuals who took a single daily anti-HIV pill dramatically lowered their risk of HIV infection. The approach, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), has the potential to lower HIV infection rates worldwide, saving millions of lives.
In addition to his work at Fenway, Mayer has been the Director of the Brown University AIDS Program in Rhode Island and Professor of Medicine and Community Health at Brown University. He is involved in HIV/AIDS research programs around the world, including most notably with Humsafar Trust in Mumbai and YRG Care and the TB Research Center in Chennai, India. He has co-edited 5 scholarly texts (including “The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health) and more than 450 peer-reviewed papers, and has served on the national boards of the Gay Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), the Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR), and is currently a member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society.
The 2011 Men’s Event will be held on Saturday, April 9 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. It is a black-tie fundraiser for Fenway Health that brings together more than 1,300 gay, transgender and bisexual men, their friends and supporters for a night of dinner and dancing. More information is available at www.mensevent.org.