Howard Physician Named to DC Commission on HIV/AIDS
WASHINGTON (March 24) -- Dr. Lisa K. Fitzpatrick, associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Howard University College of Medicine and an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Howard University Hospital, was sworn in recently to Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Commission on HIV/AIDS.
Fitzpatrick, also co-principal investigator of the Pennsylvania Mid Atlantic AIDS Education Training Center, Howard University Local Performance Site, said she looked forward to serving on the panel.
“I am grateful to have this opportunity to tackle a problem that I have spent much of my professional career trying to address, said Fitzpatrick, who is also director of HIV/AIDS Services at United Medical Center. “I am confident that we can turn the tide on this dreaded disease.”
Gray said he created the commission to help end the HIV epidemic in the District of Columbia, where 3 percent of the population are infected with the virus.
The commission will focus on treatment, the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS and prevention, Gray said.
“By uniting the government with experts in the field of HIV and respected members of the community, we can create a comprehensive approach to treating and ending an epidemic which has affected our entire city leaving no ward or community untouched,” he said.
At the commission’s first meeting on March 8, Gray charged the 21 members with a number of responsibilities.
The commission is to develop HIV/AIDS policy recommendations to help reduce HIV infection rates, increase HIV testing utilization, improve access to quality medical, substance abuse, mental health treatment and housing for all persons with HIV/AIDS and to determine the best way to achieve “treatment on demand” in the District.
It will also develop recommendations to coordinate the District‘s HIV/AIDS strategy. The commissions also will make recommendations to control the epidemic, while simultaneously creating training and employment opportunities within the District.
Dr. Mohammad Akhter, director of the Department of Health and co-chair of the commission, said the commission brings together established partners with new organizations to increase the scope, influence and impact so the group can have more success than previous efforts.
“In order for us to improve on the progress already made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and really make a difference by decreasing the rate of new infections and improving the care for our residents living with HIV/AIDS, we must engage the entire community,” Akhter said.