FIGHT Mourns the Loss of AIDS Researchers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

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Philadelphia FIGHT joins the International AIDS Community and the world in mourning the deaths of AIDS researchers and activists on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014.  We quote here the words of Ellen LaPointe, our colleague in the old AmFAR clinical research network which was the network that led to our founding.  No one could have put it better:

The fact that there were reportedly over 100 people en route to the International AIDS conference in Melbourne on the plane that was shot down yesterday is beyond devastating. It’s impossible to comprehend how much collective knowledge, capacity, and devotion to ending this epidemic we lost in an instant. It is simply incalculable. And of course we mourn the loss of so many dear friends and colleagues we respected and loved. This is a breathtaking loss.

But the fact that so many people dedicated to one cause were lost at once does not compound or somehow worsen the tragedy of what happened yesterday, in my view. It merely shines an especially bright light on the immeasurable toll that violence takes on us all, every time and everywhere it happens.

Every act of war and violence deprives of us immeasurable, unknowable human potential. There are future AIDS researchers, cancer cure finders, climate change stoppers, and world peace makers growing up everywhere, right now. When we drop bombs and shoot at each other, we are killing a better future with our own hands.

Prayers today for the families of everyone who died on that plane, and also for every human being – each with immeasurable potential – in Gaza who is trying not to be killed in the war zone they suddenly find themselves in today.

Prayers that we will eventually find a way to co-exist on this planet without killing each other. Prayers for peace.

Spotlight On

Karam Mounzer, MD

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.

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Dr. Karam Mounzer

Dr. Mario Cruz

Dr. Mario CruzDr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who serves as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He has presented and/or published in the fields of community violence and domestic violence prevention, quality improvement, behavioral health, curriculum development and mentorship. In 2019 he received the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Award for Innovations in Healthcare.


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