Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
PACHA Executive Director Patricia Ware Leaves Amid Thacker Controversy
Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS Executive Director Patricia Ware on Friday resigned from her position after Jerry Thacker, an AIDS advocate chosen for the panel on her recommendation, withdrew his name amid controversy over "anti-gay comments" he had made in speeches and on his Web site, the Washington Post reports (Connolly, Washington Post, 2/5). Thacker, a Pennsylvania marketing consultant who has called AIDS a "gay plague" and homosexuality a "deathstyle," withdrew his name on Jan. 23 after the White House, Democratic lawmakers and AIDS and gay-rights advocates criticized his appointment (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/24). Although Bush administration officials said that Ware was leaving to pursue a "more influential position" in HHS, officials involved in the deliberations claim that she was "moved to avoid further embarrassment" over Thacker's selection to the council. Ware, who was named executive director of the council in December 2001, is a "leading proponent" of abstinence-only sex education and was former director of the conservative group Americans for a Sound AIDS/HIV Policy. Some AIDS advocates and council members complained that Ware "overreached" in her position by "imposing her personal ideological views" on the council and that her support of Thacker was the "straw that broke the camel's back," according to the Post. Stuart Burden, an executive at the Levi Strauss Foundation and a former member of the panel, said that Ware "appeared at times" to want to "blame the gay community for AIDS." Other AIDS advocates said that in choosing Thacker for the panel, Ware was attempting to broaden support for AIDS prevention programs by appealing to minorities and religious advocates. "The theory of getting someone who can speak to the evangelical community is a good idea," one of Ware's council "allies" said, adding, "In this instance she just picked the wrong person" (Washington Post, 2/5).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.