Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
San Francisco AIDS Foundation Director of 15 Years To Step Down for Personal Reasons
San Francisco AIDS Foundation Executive Director Pat Christen on Friday announced she will leave her position on July 31 to spend more time with her family, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Christen, who has served as director for 15 years, joined the foundation as an AIDS Hotline volunteer in 1985 and also served as spokesperson and policy director (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/22). Christen said the decision to leave SFAF was "an absolutely agonizing and bittersweet decision," adding that she leaves the organization "knowing that the depth of leading and passionate commitment to our mission are stronger than ever before." Mark McCormick, chair of the SFAF board of directors, said that the foundation "has been a constant driving force in the local, state, national and international fight against HIV and AIDS, and Pat's leadership is a key reason behind this agency's longstanding effectiveness and success" (San Francisco AIDS Foundation release, 5/21). According to the Chronicle, Christen was "instrumental" in the drafting of legislation that led to the Ryan White CARE Act, which distributes $2 billion in federal funding for national AIDS treatment programs and care services for HIV-positive people (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/22). In addition, Christen "played a key role" in assisting the South African government roll out a national antiretroviral treatment program, according to a SFAF release (SFAF release, 5/21). Christen said she is "particularly proud" of SFAF's role in establishing a needle-exchange program in San Francisco, which is "widely credited with keeping HIV infection rates" in the city "substantially below those in other cities," according to the Chronicle. SFAF already has begun a search for a permanent replacement for Christen, and SFAF Development Director Lance Henderson -- who was the foundation's chief financial officer for 10 years -- will serve as the agency's acting director in the interim (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/22).
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