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Change Is the One True Constant: Transitions at HHS

Ronald Valdiserri

Dr. Ronald Valdiserri

Introducing the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy
As announced in the Federal Register on Friday, March 16, the office formerly known as the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy will now be known as the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP). OHAIDP, located within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, is responsible for coordinating, integrating, and directing the Department of Health and Human Services’ policies, programs, and activities related to HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, other infectious diseases of public health significance, and blood safety and availability.

While we remain actively and intensively involved with HIV/AIDS policy, particularly supporting and monitoring the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and staffing the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), the new name and reconfiguration of our office reflect the expansion of the scope of our responsibilities. This expansion includes supporting and monitoring the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, which has been part of our portfolio since last May when it was launched.

In addition, as of last Friday, the OHAIDP will provide analytic and administrative support to the Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability (ACBSA). Fortunately for us, the talented HHS staff who support the Advisory Committee are also joining our office, including the Senior Advisor on Blood Safety and Availability. The ACBSA was established in 1997 and provides advice to the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary for Health on a range of policy issues including:

  • definition of public health parameters around safety and availability of the blood and blood products,
  • broad public health, ethical and legal issues related to transfusion and transplantation safety, and
  • the implications for safety and availability of various economic factors affecting product cost and supply.

You can read more about the ACBSA at their website.

In all of this work, we look forward to continuing our close collaborative efforts with colleagues across HHS as well as our public health partners, health professionals,  private sector, and community partners..

PACHA Staff Changes
At the same time, we are saying farewell to one colleague and welcoming a new one.

Mr. Christopher Bates, MPA, who has served as the Deputy Director of OHAP and Executive Director of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), begins a detail to PEPFAR this week. I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank my colleague Christopher for his service to HHS and for his commitment to addressing HIV/AIDS. Christopher joined OHAP in the second year of the Clinton Administration, bringing valuable experience and perspective from his prior work leading both the Philadelphia HIV Commission and the Washington, DC, Comprehensive AIDS Resources and CARE Consortium.

During his tenure with OHAP, Christopher led numerous initiatives and served as an important sounding board for colleagues both inside and outside the Federal government. He launched and guided implementation of the Rapid Assessment, Response, and Evaluation (RARE) initiative which supported more than 60 local health departments and community-based organizations in using qualitative and quantitative tools to better understand behavioral drivers behind their local HIV epidemics so as to more effectively position prevention interventions to reduce rates of new infection.  Christopher also oversaw the administration of the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund for many years and helped conceptualize and manage both the Leadership Campaign on AIDS and the National HIV Testing Mobilization Campaign. Both of those multi-year initiatives engaged national and local partners serving communities of color and other populations disproportionately impacted by HIV in HIV education and testing activities.

For the past 10 years, Christopher has served in leadership roles at OHAP, including serving as the Executive Director of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. During his tenure he’s  been involved in all of our office’s key activities, including working to develop a new generation of federal employees committed to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Christopher has been an important and valued advisor during my 20 months here. His breadth of experience will be a great asset to PEPFAR. My colleagues and I wish him all the best as he sets out on this new assignment.

I am pleased to announce that Ms. Kaye Hayes, MPA, has been appointed by the Secretary to serve as the Executive Director of PACHA.  Before accepting this appointment, Ms. Hayes served for nine years as a Senior Policy Advisor for the Office on Women’s Health (OWH), also within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. Among her responsibilities at OWH has been the formulation of budget, performance and policy initiatives for the office, as well as management improvement and strategic planning. Prior to joining the OWH staff, Ms. Hayes served as Special Assistant to then-Assistant Secretary for Health and Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher.  In this capacity, Kaye worked on many health policy initiatives and managed the immediate personal staff for Dr. Satcher. Prior to her work with the Assistant Secretary for Health and Surgeon General, Kaye worked as the Extramural Community Liaison for the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she developed and strengthened partnerships with national, state and local organizations, including business, labor, faith community, entertainment and other non-traditional health partnerships.

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