Ambassador Harriet Babbitt Appointed New Executive Director of AIDS Action
Ambassador Harriet (Hattie) Babbitt, former Deputy Administrator for USAID, will immediately take over as the new executive director of AIDS Action, a national AIDS advocacy group that lobbies for "responsible federal policy" on HIV/AIDS issues and represents 3,200 community-based organizations, according to an AIDS Action release. Babbitt succeeds Claudia French, who left the group in June to become the executive director of the Gill Foundation, an equal opportunity lobbying group. Babbitt served three years at USAID where she worked on HIV/AIDS programs in Africa and South Asia and "led numerous health-related strategic initiatives." Before joining USAID, she served for four years as U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, where she worked on international human rights issues. John Michael Gonzalez, chair of the AIDS Action Foundation Board, and Tony Braswell, president of the AIDS Action Council Board, said in a joint statement that the "weight of [Babbitt's] experience" will be "felt among key decision makers in Washington," while Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) added that her experience will be "invaluable for AIDS Action in its ongoing leadership" in HIV/AIDS issues. Babbitt said, "HIV prevention and access to care will continue to be key agenda items for AIDS Action. I am determined to strengthen AIDS Action's strong presence on Capitol Hill and among other service organizations, and will administer a dynamic public policy campaign to raise the level of commitment to HIV/AIDS prevention, research and care at the federal level" (AIDS Action release, 9/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.