NASTAD Recognizes Health Department Staff and Partners During 2018 Annual Meeting

By Murray Penner May 30, 2018

Every year during our Annual Meeting, NASTAD celebrates the accomplishments of our members and partners with a series of awards. This year, we’re so proud to recognize the amazing accomplishments of Peter Whiticar, Diana Jordan, Anne Donnelly, and Dr. Theo Hodge.

NASTAD Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter Whiticar Chief, STD/AIDS Prevention Branch

Peter Whiticar (HI) has dedicated his career to ensuring that the residents of Hawaii have access to high quality infectious disease prevention, care, and treatment services. He is attentive to the unique health care needs of the Hawaiian people, including the high percentage of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, Asians, and Asian Americans that reside in the state. 

As a longtime NASTAD member, Peter has educated colleagues and federal funders about the importance of investing in core public health infrastructure in low incidence states. He is one of the original founding members of NASTAD, has long-served on the Board of Directors, and is an outspoken representative on behalf of fellow states – in particular low incidence jurisdictions and the Pacific Islands region. 

Throughout his career, Peter has remained committed to addressing societal injustices that drive health disparities. Whether focused on the needs of gay and bisexual men, persons who inject drugs, transgender individuals, homeless persons, individuals who have experienced incarceration, or non-US born immigrants and refugees, Peter has always sought to create spaces where individuals feel welcomed, valued, and safe. He brings humanity, humility, ethics, and an unwavering commitment to human rights. Peter is the true embodiment of Hawaii’s Aloha spirit, and we’re honored to present him NASTAD’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

NASTAD Chair’s Challenge Award: Diana JordanDirector, Division of Disease Prevention at the Virginia Department of Health

Over the last year, in response to the worsening opioid crisis and its infectious disease consequences, Diana Jordan and the Virginia Department of Health provided data, education, and support to the Virginia General Assembly which voted to legalize syringe services programs (SSPs). Diana, her team and community partners have been working hard to get the first SSP in the state off the ground. In addition to support for this legislation and technical assistance to local providers, Diana and her team have been working to cover some elements of substance use disorder treatment and drug user health services through a Medicaid waiver process. In addition to this policy development, the Department of Health, with leadership from Diana have responded to an HIV/hepatitis outbreak and continue to raise the alarm of increases in HIV and hepatitis among people who inject drugs.

NASTAD Partnership Award: Anne Donnelly, Director of Health Care Policy at Project Inform

Anne Donnelly began working with Project Inform 29 years ago at the height of California’s HIV epidemic. Her efforts helped increase funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to speed HIV drug discovery. Anne is one of the nation’s leading authorities on the complexities of Medicare, Medicaid, the Ryan White Program and their interaction. She is also an extremely effective advocate for access to quality, affordable healthcare for people with HIV and hepatitis C. Anne’s effectiveness as an advocate comes from her incredible ability to bring together different partners to work effectively towards shared goals, from her ability to see individuals’ challenges and address them on a state and federal systems level, and from her deep commitment to the people living with HIV and hepatitis C. 

NASTAD Partnership Award: Dr. Theo Hodge 

Dr. Theo Hodge is an HIV specialist based in Washington, D.C. – and for his patients, Dr. Hodge is a provider, a friend, and an advocate all in one. A native Washingtonian, Dr. Hodge began educating the community about HIV by meeting patients where they were at –in churches, barbershops, and other social spaces. He has worked at Whitman Walker Health, at the Family and Medical Counseling Services in Anacostia, at the Washington Free Clinic and continues to advocate for underinsured/uninsured HIV positive patents. Over the past few years, NASTAD has been lucky to integrate Dr. Hodge’s expertise into various initiatives at the organization. The Center for Engaging Black MSM Across the Care Continuum would not have been actualized without his support. He has been instrumental in identifying models of care across the country that are accelerating the quality of care for Black MSM, and in developing two continuing education courses on PrEP for healthcare providers.