Dr. Mathilde Krim, the founder and guiding spirit behind the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) died yesterday at the age of 91. Dr Krim was a noted researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City when the AIDS epidemic struck in the 1980’s. Moved by the plight of so many young men dying from a poorly understood disease, and realizing that individuals must take action when public support from then Reagan administration was not forthcoming, Dr.Krim decided to leave her lab and take up the cause of raising the resources necessary for scientists to find the cause, treatments and a cure for AIDS. Dr Krim was well positioned in society to do so, having many contacts in the arts in Hollywood and the East Coast, as well as with business and government elites. She utilized these contacts and networks to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for AIDS research, beginning at a time when such support was absolutely critical and continuing into the present. Through AmFAR Dr Krim supported cutting edge research efforts and basic science all over the world, including in resource poor environments that would otherwise have had to access to groundbreaking research. These research efforts also included the Community Based Clinical Trials Network which gave FIGHT our original funding and supported us as we developed into a coherent research organization. Not only did AmFAR provide us with funding; the organization sponsored many national meetings where local physicians and local AIDS activists were able to meet and consider our research agendas with each other and learn from some of the most important researchers and scientists in the field. Dr. Krim was always at these meetings, lending all of us her personal support. When FIGHT got started, Dr. Krim traveled to Philadelphia to be with us and draw attention to our founding, giving our agenda a jump start in the local medical and scientific communities.
We at FIGHT owe our existence, to Dr Krim and to her tireless support and advocacy for people with AIDS. All the work we have done – our treatment centers; our cure research; our advocacy and service programs; our education programs – were able to develop and thrive because in 1990 Dr. Krim and AmFAR’s board of directors took a chance on a tiny new organization in a big city down the highway from New York City. None of it would have happened without her vision. And for all people living with HIV and for those at risk let us remember today that the fact that we now have effective treatments and we are close to a cure is due in no small part to her efforts. We at FIGHT extend our deepest condolences to the Krim family at this sad time, and to the board and staff of AmFAR.
We have all been enriched by Dr Krim’s time on this earth. Let us honor her memory today and every day by remaining committed to the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic within the lifetime of those affected now. Rest in power Dr. Krim. Your legacy lives on in the many people whom you inspired and helped.
December 1st was World AIDS Day and FIGHT honored the occasion with the 9th Annual Prayer Breakfast. Over 300 faith leaders and community members came together to offer hope and healing for those who are living with HIV/AIDS. We took the day to remember those who have passed and recommitted ourselves to standing with our sisters andbrothers in faith, in activism, in reducing stigma, and in enduring love. Bishop Audrey Bronson, Pastor of Sanctuary Church of the Open Door, served as keynote speaker for the breakfast. The event also included prayers by Rev. Dr. Chris Kimmenez and Rev. Naomi Washington Leaphart. The FIGHT Gospel Choir and the Kathanghah Dance Company were also on hand to offer inspiration through the performing arts.
Thank you to everyone who came out to help us celebrate the occasion and kickoff the opening of the powerful art exhibit “Still Fighting for Our Lives”, which features materials from William Way’s Philadelphia AIDS Library graphic collection
Team FIGHT was loud and proud at the 31st Annual AIDS Walk/Run which took place on Sunday October 15th. 100 team members ran, walked and raised emergency funding for people in the HIV community. This year, FIGHT’s theme was “We are Family!” Together, we came out for an amazing cause and showed the community just how strong the FIGHT family is!” Stay tuned for more photos from the 2017 AIDS Walk/Run.
FIGHT welcomes D. Deone Powell, Esquire to the FIGHT family as our new full-time General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer. Deone will be serving in a cross-functional role as a member of the leadership team and will add value by providing to senior management effective advice on company strategies and their implementation. He will also work with the leadership team and Board of Directors to facilitate the resolution of issues related to regulatory provisions, risk management and board governance.
Deone comes to us after working as a Senior Associate with progressive responsibilities in the litigation department at the Philadelphia office of Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C., recognized as a preeminent law firm in the United States. There, Deone served as trial counsel in major jury trials including the landmark 2013 Salvation Army building collapse case that resulted in the largest settlement in Pennsylvania history.
Prior to joining Zarwin Baum, Deone worked for Atkins & Cohen, P.C. as outside counsel to Temple University and Temple University Hospital. He has served as law clerk to the Honorable Judges George W. Overton and James Colins in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and Commonwealth Court, respectively. Deone received his B.A. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill and a certificate in organizational psychology from the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. He is a 2007 graduate of Temple University School of Law.
Deone is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., The Lawyers Club of Philadelphia and Temple Inn of Courts. He was awarded the 2016 Rising Star Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Every Summer, FIGHT hosts student interns from the Bridging the Gaps (BTG) program for six weeks. These interns work on a variety of projects including designing and implementing a client satisfaction survey and working on our annual FIGHT Stories project. This year, FIGHT’s Hepatitis C team and Development and Communications team hosted BTG interns. Two of FIGHT’s 2017 BTG interns were entered into a photo competition, taking first and second places for their schools. Congrats to all of our hard-working BTG interns!
It is with heartbreaking sadness that we announce that Jules Buchanan, one of Philadelphia FIGHT’s Project TEACH instructors, has passed away. Jules was a ray of sunshine to so many of the staff and participants at FIGHT. He was a truly beloved team member in Project TEACH, working collaboratively and creatively with us to provide the best possible program to our participants. He was exceptionally good at teaching and communicating complicated treatment information to the class members. He was someone who always provided a listening ear to our participants and was able to break up tense moments by making everyone laugh. Everyone felt that he was their biggest cheerleader on their pathway to whatever goals they may have had. He helped create and teach the first Youth TEACH classes, started a very popular sewing group at FIGHT, co-facilitated TEACH Alumni groups, and our annual Cookout. He was a mentor to dozens of our participants. But mostly, he was the person in the room who brought smiles to everyone face. He had so much to offer the world and he was just getting started. He was and is simply irreplaceable. Jules was joy. We will forever miss his smile, his laugh, his warmth, his incredible sense of style, his authenticity, and his wisdom.
Rest in Style, Jules. With Love, Your FIGHT Family
Congratulations to our very own Dr. Stacey Trooskin and the entire C A Difference program for successfully lobbying the Pennsylvania Department of Health to change the state’s Medicaid policy to expand coverage of life-saving drugs to treat Hepatitis C (HCV) virus! THIS IS MAJOR NEWS!
It is with great sadness that we announce that Paul Yabor, an AIDS Activist and member of the FIGHT Community passed away today. Paul was known across the Philadelphia region as a tireless champion of the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, and was involved in many related causes. He was a long-time member of ACT UP Philadelphia, and had become a member of the Pennsylvania State HIV Prevention Planning Board. He gave much of his energy to the work of Prevention Point Philadelphia, in addition to volunteering with Philly AIDS Thrift, the FIGHT Community Advisory Board, and countless other organizations. He was an early member of the Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land, which led to the successful development of the Philadelphia Land Bank. His most recent activist goals were fighting for opiate overdose prevention methods, and for the establishment of safer consumption sites for active drug users. Paul was a formidable activist and his voice will surely be missed.
Celebrate the start of AEM with the Opening Reception and Award Ceremony! Join us for hors d’oeuvres and great conversation as we present the annual Kiyoshi Kuromiya Award for Prevention, Treatment and Justice to Cleve Jones, founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and Roy Hayes, longtime Philly AIDS Activist.
June 2017 is the 23rd year that Philadelphia FIGHT hosted AIDS Education Month (AEM), a series of events throughout Philadelphia to increase AIDS awareness and to bring people together to find strategies to combat the virus. Over 10,000 individuals are directly reached by AEM every June.
The theme for this year’s AIDS Education Month is “One Community, Recommitting to the FIGHT.” In 2017, we are entering a time of uncertainty within the healthcare field, and we are seeing backlash against the gains in human and civil rights that activists have pushed for through decades of bravery and hard work. However, we refuse to accept any less than equal healthcare for all people. We draw strength by looking to those who laid their careers, their freedom, and their lives on the line in the fight for effective HIV treatments in those early years of the AIDS epidemic, before our medical system and our country knew how to combat the virus and its impacts. We are inspired by activists’ quests to use knowledge as a tool for self-empowerment, and their dogged pursuit of treatment, prevention, and justice.
Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring fellows, residents and students.
Dr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who joins Philadelphia FIGHT as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He completed his undergraduate training in Biology and Psychology from Union College, his medical school training at Albany Medical College, his residency training at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and his Chief Residency at the Albert Einstein Medical Center