Ed. Note: This post is part of the Celebrating Black History Month series, which highlights African Americans from across the Administration whose work contributes to the President's goals for winning the future.
I live by the motto “To Live and To Serve.” In addition to the great influence of my mother and father, this perspective has led me to a career that has combined my passions for medicine and public service. After growing up in San Francisco and attending college at Princeton University, I earned an M.D. at University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, where I also completed my internship and residency with a fellowship in General Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases. As a young physician in the 1980s in San Francisco, I found myself in the middle of the emerging AIDS epidemic in America, which became the focus of my career. I now have almost 30 years of experience with HIV/AIDS, ranging from these early years treating patients at San Francisco General Hospital, to engagement at high- level policy leadership. In the Clinton Administration, I served as one of the President’s advisors on HIV/AIDS. As the first Director of the Ryan White Care Act at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I helped develop HIV/AIDS delivery systems in the United States. After leaving government, I joined the NGO Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation as CEO and Chief Medical Officer in 2001, where I turned my focus from the domestic epidemic to the global HIV/AIDS emergency.
It is a pleasure to now serve President Obama and Secretary Clinton as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator at the Department of State, where I lead all of the U.S. government’s international HIV/AIDS efforts. I oversee the implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which works in more than 80 developing countries that are heavily burdened by HIV. This work is the largest response to a single disease in the history of the world. To me, PEPFAR embodies President Obama’s State of the Union’s message of “Winning the Future” for America. It reflects the generosity of the American people and leads countries riddled by the HIV epidemic to greater economic stability and security. The program focuses on prevention strategies to decrease new infections, and life-saving treatment and care for those already living with HIV. We currently support treatment for over 3.2 million people, up from fewer than 2.5 million in 2009. In 2010 alone, we supported HIV counseling for 33 million people, and care for 12 million people, including 3.8 million orphans and vulnerable children. By reaching over 600,000 mothers in 2010 with services to prevention mother-to-child transmission of HIV, we allowed over 114,000 babies to be born free of HIV. In all we do, we have focused on making smart investments to save as many lives as possible.