AIDS Action Announces Hiring of New Executive Director
Carl Sciortino, state lawmaker and social justice advocate, has extensive experience advocating on behalf of people living with HIV and those vulnerable to infection
BOSTON, March 25, 2014— AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts announces today that it has named Carl Sciortino its Executive Director. Sciortino, a state representative from the 34th Middlesex District, will resign from elected office Friday, April 4.
“Carl’s entire career has been defined by his work on social justice issues and his advocacy on behalf of those infected, affected, and at risk for HIV,” said Douglas Spencer, chair of the AIDS Action Board of Directors. “Even with health reform and better access to care, there is still much to do to prevent the spread of HIV and ensure access to care and treatment for all of those who are infected. Carl will lead us into a new era in which we can finally win the battle against HIV and look forward to an AIDS-free generation.”
During nine years in office, Sciortino distinguished himself as an effective and reliable proponent of policy changes, as well as allocation of resources, to aid those living with, and vulnerable to, HIV infection. In 2012, he supported passage of a law resulting in expanded HIV testing, and he has consistently sponsored budget amendments seeking increases in funding for HIV outreach, prevention, and education. He has championed social justice issues throughout his career including the right of same-sex couples to marry; banning discrimination against transgender people; expanding access to health care; and increasing resources for anti-poverty programs.
“As a gay man living with HIV, I am honored to lead one of the country’s oldest and most effective organizations in the battle against this disease which has raged on over 30 years,” said Sciortino. “My goal for AIDS Action in the years ahead is simple: continue the work that has resulted in lowering the rate of new HIV diagnoses in Massachusetts; provide the multitude of services needed to keep those living with HIV/AIDS connected with health care providers; and continue the public conversation about HIV needed to reduce the stigma that is still so closely associated with this disease.”
Sciortino will be the first person living with HIV to lead AIDS Action since its founding in 1982. The agency has been led since 2003 by Rebecca Haag. Under Haag’s leadership, AIDS Action merged with two smaller organizations in 2010 and 2011, and last year announced a new strategic partnership with Fenway Health.
This new model is one of the first of its kind in the nation and combines Fenway’s nationally recognized expertise in HIV care and treatment with AIDS Action’s community-based services. This is consistent with the movement in health care reform to provide a medical home model that addresses the comprehensive needs of patients to ensure better health care outcomes and lower health care costs.
“I can think of no one better than Carl to lead AIDS Action in the years to come and to work closely with Fenway Health to maximize our partnership on behalf of those we serve,” Haag said. “Carl has been an invaluable legislative and advocacy partner over the last decade. He is uniquely positioned to advance the state and national conversation around treatment and care of those living with chronic conditions, and the need for health care reform to pay for the vital support services necessary to keep treatment costs sustainable.”
Sciortino was first elected to office in 2004. In 2011, he was named Legislator of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. In 2010, the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association named him Legislator of the Year. He is a founding member of the Young Elected Officials Network. Prior to being elected to the state legislature, he worked as a research manager for Fenway Health. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Tufts University. He lives in Medford with his husband.
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is the state’s leading provider of prevention and wellness services for people vulnerable to HIV infection. It provides services to one in six people in Massachusetts living with an HIV diagnosis. These services include HIV counseling and testing; needle exchange; mental health counseling; housing assistance; and legal services. AIDS Action works to prevent new HIV infections, support those affected by HIV, and tackle the root causes of HIV/AIDS by educating the public and health professionals about HIV prevention and care; and advocating for fair and effective HIV/AIDS policy at the city, state, and federal levels. Founded in 1983, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is New England’s first and largest AIDS service organization. In 2013, AIDS Action formed a strategic alliance with Fenway Health that will allow the two organizations to work more closely together and improve delivery of care and services to people living with HIV/AIDS. Learn more at www.aac.org.