NASTAD Recognizes Members, Staff, and Partners during 2024 Annual Meeting

During the 2024 Annual Meeting, NASTAD celebrated the accomplishments of dedicated members, staff, and partners. This year, NASTAD was pleased to recognize the contributions of the following health department staff and NASTAD partners:  

  • 2024 Program Excellence Award: Chelsea Martin (Michigan) 
  • 2024 Nicholas A. Rango Leadership Award: Marlene McNeese (Houston)  
  • 2024 Service Award: Dave Kern (Chicago), Jacquelyn Clymore (North Carolina), Andrew Gans (New Mexico), and Dawn Fukuda (Massachusetts) 
  • 2024 Partnership Award: Congresswoman Barbara Lee

NASTAD was also pleased to recognize the following staff who received 10-year service awards:  

  • 10-Year Service Award: Erin Bascom 
  • 10-Year Service Award: Mike Weir

 2024 Program Excellence Award: Chelsea Martin (Michigan)

This year, Chelsea Martin, from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, won NASTAD’s 2024 Program Excellence Award for the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Project. This project was developed in partnership with the Bureau of HIV/STI Projects and is led by the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter. The program aims to enhance the quality of, and access to, cognition-related services for people living with HIV (PLWH) in Michigan. The program partners with the University of Michigan to develop resources that can inform providers’ selection and implementation of pre-screening, screening, and treatment practices for Alzheimer’s Disease, related dementias, and HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND). Thank you to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for doing this important work. 

2024 Nicholas A. Rango Leadership Award: Marlene McNeese (Houston)

Marlene McNeese, Deputy Assistant Director at the Houston Health Department, was awarded this year’s Nicholas A. Rango Leadership Award. Honoring Dr. Rango’s spirit and work, Marlene was recognized with this award because she demonstrated superior intelligence, dedication, activism in government, and impatience in leading the fight against HIV. Marlene has worked in the HIV field for over 20 years and has served in many roles. As the co-chair of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS (PACHA) since 2021, Marlene has provided balanced discussions that center the voices of community while responding to guidance from federal partners. Marlene and her PACHA co-chair, John Wiesman, oversaw an initiative called “PACHA-to-the-People,” where they used their positions to ensure that PACHA was hearing and being responsive to the needs of the community. Additionally, beginning in November 2021, Marlene began conversations on the benefits and risks of molecular HIV surveillance (MHS) and cluster detection and response (CDR) activities. She oversaw the development of a process that allowed advocates to lead a discussion with federal partners, state and local health officials, PLWH, and other stakeholders to critically examine the practice of MHS and CDR. Marlene also is an active participant in the Houston HIV Planning Group and has served as the Chair of the Houston Ryan White Planning Council, Co-chair of the Houston Community Planning Group, and Board Chair of NASTAD. Thank you, Marlene, for your hard work, dedication, and commitment to fighting HIV and prioritizing community and vulnerable populations in your work.

2024 Service Award: Dave Kern (Chicago)

Dave Kern, Deputy Commissioner at the City of Chicago Department of Public Health, was awarded with a NASTAD Service Award for his exemplary term as NASTAD’s 2023-2024 Board Chair. Dave’s support, guidance, and contributions have been invaluable. Dave’s Chair’s Challenge focused on four key populations: 1) persons of trans experience, 2) people who use drugs; 3) people aging with HIV; and 4) gay, bisexual, and other same gender loving men. Dave continues to champion the need to focus on these priority populations for us to end the intersecting epidemics. Dave also incorporates syndemic approaches in his work in Chicago. He works to address housing, funding, social determinants of health, and racial equity. Dave works on the THRIVE initiative, which is a year-long commitment of providing coaching, mentorship, capacity building, and technical assistance to executive leaders and Board members of BIPOC-led and focused organizations in Chicago and Illinois. Dave, we appreciate all that you have done in the fight to end the epidemics.

2024 Service Award: Jacquelyn Clymore (North Carolina)

Jacquelyn Clymore (North Carolina), CHAMP Coordinator Division of Public Health, Communicable Disease Branch at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, was awarded with a NASTAD Service Award for her service to the NASTAD Board and membership. Jacquelyn was recognized for her many years of service and contributions as a Board member and past Board Chair. In these roles, Jacquelyn contributed to the development of NASTAD’s updated strategic plan and the new Bylaws. Jacquelyn supported NASTAD’s efforts in diversifying the Board. We also thank Jacquelyn for her ongoing efforts of working to end the epidemics in North Carolina through her work of using data to drive programmatic and department efforts to decriminalize HIV and assist those who are most in need of HIV services. Thank you, Jacquelyn, for your continued focus and dedication to this work.

2024 Service Award: Andrew Gans (New Mexico)

Andrew Gans, Chief of the Infectious Disease Bureau at the New Mexico Department of Health, was awarded with a NASTAD Service Award for his continued dedication to ending the HIV and STI epidemics in New Mexico. Andrew has been at the forefront of several notable programs in New Mexico that worked toward providing optimal health outcomes for people living with and impacted by HIV and STIs. Andrew contributed to the development of the Syphilis-PrEP Intervention in Community Program (also known as the SPICY Project). This is a project that expands clinical capacity for PrEP and HIV and syphilis treatment. He also played a major role in STRIVE (Screen, Treat, Report, Investigate, View, and Engage), an intervention that is designed to prevent and respond to increasing rates of congenital syphilis in New Mexico. Thank you, Andrew, for all the work you have done and we look forward to see what else you will accomplish.

2024 Service Award: Dawn Fukuda (Massachusetts)

Dawn Fukuda, Assistant Commissioner Director, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, was awarded with a NASTAD Service Award for being a dedicated NASTAD member and Board member and for her continuous fight to end the epidemics in Massachusetts. After many years on NASTAD’s Board, Dawn’s tenure has ended this year, and NASTAD is grateful for her support and tenacity over the years. Dawn is a vocal and strong advocate for providing quality, equitable prevention and care services to marginalized communities, especially people who use drugs and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. NASTAD deeply appreciates the many years Dawn has dedicated to this fight and we look forward to continuing to work alongside her.

2024 Partnership Award: Congresswoman Barbara Lee

NASTAD awarded Congresswoman Barbara Lee with the 2024 Partnership Award to thank her for her commitment to ending the HIV epidemic. Congresswoman Lee’s work on establishing PEPFAR, advocating for HIV criminalization elimination, and increasing and preserving funding for both global and domestic HIV programs has brought us closer to ending the HIV epidemic. NASTAD is thankful for Congresswoman Lee’s dedication and commitment to leading this fight. NASTAD is officially renaming this award the Barbara Lee Congressional Partners Award.

2024 10-Year Staff Service Award: Erin Bascom

Erin Bascom, Director of Capacity Building Assistance (CBA) at NASTAD, received a 10 years of service staff award. Erin was recognized for her 10 years of dedication to NASTAD and working closely with health departments and community-based organizations to end the epidemics. One of Erin’s many accomplishments is her successful oversight of the implementation of NASTAD’s CBA project under the PS19-1904 cooperative agreement. This includes managing staffing, work plan, budget, consultants, subawards, and interfacing with federal project officers. She also worked to expand NASTAD’s HIV CDR portfolio by contributing to business development and by implementing new scopes of work, including the training of new staff. Thank you, Erin, for all that you have done for NASTAD and we look forward to continuing working alongside you.

2024 10-Year Staff Service Award: Mike Weir

Mike Weir, Associate Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs at NASTAD, received a 10 years of service staff award. For the past 10 years, Mike has assisted in the implementation of NASTAD’s legislative and policy priorities on HIV and hepatitis-related federal appropriations and legislative priorities. He serves as an elected member and co-chair of the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAPP) and HIV Prevention Action Coalition and on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina AIDS Action Network (NCAAN). Thank you, Mike, for providing your expertise, experience, and knowledge to NASTAD and we look forward to witnessing all that you will accomplish in the future.