12 Cities Project Feed

April 06, 2011


HHS Strategy Implementation Group Reviews Progress, Identifies Additional Opportunities

By Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

NHAS HHS Implementation

L-R: Dr. Valdiserri, Dr. Koh, Mr. Crowley, Mr. Millett

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convened a meeting of its department-wide National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) Implementation Group. This was the first meeting of the group since the completion of the HHS NHAS Operational Plan and its public release in mid-February. During the meeting, representatives of operational divisions and staff offices discussed ongoing activities, shared updates about recent progress on activities detailed in the Department’s Operational Plan, and identified opportunities for further collaboration.

Implementation Group chairman, Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, thanked the participants for their continued leadership and reflected on the significant progress made by the Department in the nearly nine months since the White House released the Strategy. He observed that he has heard both excitement and enthusiasm from advocates and community members about the NHAS  and the Department’s progress to date. At the same time, though, advocates, stakeholders and leaders—including the Secretary of HHS—have high expectations for the Department’s continued coordination and collaboration to achieve the Strategy’s significant goals.

Mr. Jeffrey Crowley, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, commended the group on its accomplishments to date and its continued momentum. He also discussed some of the significant elements (PDF 250KB) of the President’s FY2012 Budget that support the implementation of the Strategy and have important implications for HHS. Finally, Mr. Crowley urged continued coordination and collaboration among agencies on several key activities including efforts to reduce grantee burden, sustain ongoing participation in the 12 Cities Project, and plan how to report on the first year of the nation’s efforts to implement the Strategy.

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March 24, 2011


Report by the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status

By James Albino, Senior Program Manager, Office of National AIDS Policy 

On March 16, the White House released the Report by the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status. That report contained a number of recommendations related to Puerto Rico’s political status and economic development; it also addressed the need for HIV outreach and education, especially for Puerto Rico’s veterans.  

In July 2011, the President released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), which contains specific recommendations for responding more effectively to the domestic HIV epidemic. HHS has an Operational Plan for the NHAS, and one element of that plan is the 12 Cities Project. These cities represent 44% of the nation’s AIDS cases, and San Juan, Puerto Rico is one of them. The 12 cities have been chosen to actively coordinate Federally funded programs at the local level, and the project involves collaboration between HHS agencies that could have huge payoffs and propel progress toward the Strategy’s goals of reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care and improving outcomes for people diagnosed with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.

In Puerto Rico, those goals are particularly important, because the HIV incidence rate on the Island (45.0 cases per 100,000 population) is twice what it is on the mainland (22.8). The Puerto Rico epidemic also differs from the mainland in that the most common form of HIV transmission in Puerto Rico is through injection drug use, rather than male-to-male sexual contact, and that those diagnosed with HIV tend to be older (30-39).

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March 02, 2011


SAMHSA, Behavioral Health and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (Part I)

By Gretchen Stiers, PhD, HIV/AIDS Policy Lead, Office of Policy, Planning and Innovation, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Gretchen Stiers

Gretchen Stiers, SAMHSA

As the recently appointed Federal inter-agency liaison for HIV/AIDS at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), I am pleased to join the discussion here on the AIDS.gov blog about how the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) is being implemented across the Federal government. In support of the NHAS, SAMHSA is engaged in a variety of activities that address the behavioral health needs of people at high risk for or living with HIV/AIDS as well as efforts to improve coordination across the government and with State, Tribal and community partners. In this post, I’ll highlight just a few of these activities but I’ll be blogging again soon with more information about other NHAS-related activities underway at SAMHSA.

Behavioral Health and HIV/AIDS
As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. SAMHSA’s new strategic plan, “Leading Change: A Plan for SAMHSA’s Roles and Actions 2011-2014,” aims to improve the Nation’s behavioral health, transform health care in America, and achieve excellence in operations. Strategic Initiative 5, Health Reform, specifically addresses the behavioral health problems of people at highest risk for or living with HIV/AIDS and emphasizes SAMHSA’s commitment to implementing the NHAS. In fiscal year 2011 and beyond, SAMHSA remains committed to addressing the behavioral health problems that can put individuals at greater risk for HIV infection or that co-occur with HIV infection and can hinder access to treatment and maintenance in care.

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February 28, 2011


The 12 Cities Project

By Miguel Gomez, AIDS.gov Director

An important component of the HHS National HIV/AIDS Strategy Operational Plan is what is known as “the 12 Cities Project.” The HHS-wide project supports and accelerates comprehensive HIV/AIDS planning and cross-agency response in the 12 U.S. jurisdictions that bear the highest AIDS burden in the country.

We have touched on the project in some prior posts, but I recently spoke to Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, to learn more about the project and its importance for helping the nation achieve the Strategy’s goals. View Dr. Valdiserri’s video below.

We have also prepared an overview (PDF) of the 12 Cities Project. 

While this initiative represents is a significant component of the HHS NHAS Operational Plan, it is by no means the only activity HHS is undertaking to pursue the Strategy’s goals. To be sure, HHS is actively pursuing more than 175 actions specified in the first NHAS Federal Implementation Plan plus many additional ones set forth in its Operational Plan.

In the coming weeks and months the AIDS.gov blog will be featuring updates about how all of these activities, including the 12 Cities Project, are unfolding.

HHS 12 Cities Project

February 16, 2011


National HIV/AIDS Strategy Key Issue at January PACHA Meeting

By Christopher Bates, Executive Director, Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Members of PACHA

Much of the recent meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) focused on implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The Strategy asks PACHA to provide, on an ongoing basis, recommendations on how to effectively implement the Strategy, as well as establish a mechanism to monitor the Strategy’s implementation. Last week, Council members heard updates from White House and agency officials, asked many questions and offered thoughtful suggestions. These are a few of the highlights.  

Mr. Jeffrey Crowley, Director of the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), expressed appreciation to the Federal agencies for their efforts toward the Strategy’s goals to date. He also encouraged a balance of efforts between the important innovative planning and coordination taking place within and across agencies and actually executing the plans developed.  Mr. Crowley also shared some of the activities his office has on the near horizon including further work on establishing indicators that measure progress towards the Strategy’s goals, preparing the 2012 NHAS Federal Implementation Plan, and drafting the first report to the President on the nation’s progress. That report, Mr. Crowley noted, will not merely be a report on Federal activities, but a review of the nation’s collective efforts including those by State, tribal and local governments, businesses, faith communities, philanthropy, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others.

Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, reported that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had recently issued a communiqué to senior leadership of all the Department’s Operating Divisions and Staff Offices reiterating the Department’s commitment to implementing the Strategy and detailing several steps to be taken to help achieve the goals of the Strategy. These included continued efforts toward greater intra-departmental coordination and collaboration on matters including grant administration, common metrics, and funding announcements as well as active support of the “12 Cities Project”.

Continue reading "National HIV/AIDS Strategy Key Issue at January PACHA Meeting " »


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