Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Mike Weir June 7, 2021

Hill Happenings 

Administrative Activities 

FY2022 POTUS Budget 

On May 28, 2021, the White House published President Biden’s Budget of the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2022. The proposal would increase the Health and Human Services budget to $133.7 billion, up from the $108.4 billion enacted in FY2021. It is important to note that this is a budget request and does not have the power of the law. Only Congress has the power to appropriate funds. NASTAD will advocate on behalf of health departments and people living with or at risk of HIV and/or hepatitis. NASTAD will continue to provide updates on the FY2022 appropriations process.  

Congressional Budget Justifications: 

The President’s request includes discretionary funding for key HIV programs, including at CDC, HRSA Ryan White HIV/AIDS and Health Center Programs, NIH, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) Program, and IHS. This budget marks the third year of appropriations requests for the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative (EHE).  Overall, funding for these programs totals $6.73 billion, an increase of $330.8 million (5%) over the FY2021 enacted level. Funding specifically targeted towards the EHE initiative totaled $670 million. 

Administration Actions in Observance of HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day 

On June 5, President Biden issued a statement in observance of the 40th anniversary of the first reported cases of a mysterious illness among gay men that would later become known as AIDS. President Biden recommitted the nation to “provide moral leadership to eradicate the stigma and discrimination still faced by those living with HIV, rededicating ourselves to continuing the vital work of ending this epidemic once and for all.” Below are additional statements and releases from federal partners: 

Appointment to Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) 

The White House announced that Harold Phillips will serve as the new director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. Phillips previously worked at the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OIDP) as Senior HIV Advisor and Chief Operating Officer of the EHE initiative. He also served as Director of the Office of HIV/AIDS Training and Capacity Development at the HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau. 

CDC Releases New HIV Surveillance and Supplemental Surveillance Reports 

The CDC published three new reports using HIV surveillance data:  

These reports all feature data from the same timeframe: 2015-2019. HIV prevention partners can use these reports to monitor trends, determine successes, identify gaps in HIV prevention, and help direct prevention efforts and resource allocation. 

Resources 

NASTAD Webinar: Scaling Up HIV Workforce Capacity for Ending the HIV Epidemic 

Date: Wednesday, June 9, from 2:00 to 3:30 PM ET 

NASTAD is pleased to announce a three-part webinar series Scaling Up HIV Workforce Capacity for Ending the HIV Epidemic. The series will focus on addressing the needs and challenges faced by health departments and community partners as they work to implement their Ending the HIV Epidemic plans. The series will also highlight the importance of community representation in the HIV workforce. The initial webinar will focus on identifying workforce gaps and needs of health departments and community partners by highlighting important considerations when evaluating and measuring the HIV workforce. NASTAD will review the workforce challenges of health department HIV programs during the COVID-19 pandemic as shared through a 2020 request for information. The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) will share tips and tools on evaluation and measurement, and Mecklenburg County, an Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Phase 1 Jurisdiction will share their experience with conducting a workforce capacity assessment as a part of their EHE planning.  

Job Postings 

Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Coordinator – Des Moines, Iowa 

Under the direction of the bureau chief and functional oversight of the Data Program Manager, coordinates and serves as the lead epidemiologist for the Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Program, including providing functional oversight for surveillance activities for hepatitis B and C. 

HHS Policy and Research Fellowship – Remote/Washington, DC 

Multiple fellowship opportunities are currently available in the Office of Infectious Diseases and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) located in Washington, DC. The opportunity will be remote, until otherwise specified by the participant's assigned mentor. The policy and research fellowship within the Office of Infectious Diseases and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) provides participants with an opportunity to learn about the policy development process from a range of different perspectives and program areas. Other activities will include drafting reports, letters, white papers, and other forms of scientific writing. OIDP supports a range of inter-agency activities in public health and serves as a foundation for federal and non-federal stakeholder collaboration. 

Director I, HIV/STD Prevention and Care – Austin, Texas 

Works under the general direction of the Director of the TB/HIV/STD Section (THSS) of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Performs advanced (senior-level) managerial work leading the day-to-day operations of the HIV/STD Prevention and Care Unit. The Director I would lead the day-to-day operations of an array of programmatic services that maintain and facilitate programs of the Unit. These programs include statewide programs for HIV clinical and social services; the provision of medications for the treatment of HIV and other STDs; and HIV, STD and viral hepatitis prevention. 

NASTAD Senior Director, Public Health Systems – Remote/Washington, DC 

The Senior Director, Public Health Systems, provides leadership and direction to NASTAD’s health care access (HCA) and health systems integration (HSI) efforts. This position leads the HCA and HSI teams providing direct supervision to these teams’ directors and the overarching work of the teams regarding programmatic, technical assistance, and capacity building activities. 

Statewide Deputy Medical Director, HIV/STD/Vi ral Hepatitis -- Nashville, Tennessee 

Primary responsibilities include leadership and oversight of programs related to HIV prevention and treatment in Tennessee. This position will supervise and provide mentorship to the directors of HIV Prevention and Surveillance and the Ryan White Part B program. Utilize data to guide program and policy development and will provide clinical and programmatic oversight for the implementation of all related prevention and treatment activities. Requires management and leadership skills. 

COVID-19 Project Manager – Richmond, Virginia 

The Virginia Department of Health is seeking a COVID-19 Project Manager in the Office of Epidemiology. This position works with various stakeholders to organize resources, communicate on projects, and provide reports to various levels of leadership. The COVID-19 Project Manager is primarily responsible for implementing project management processes, organizing timelines, communicating updates, escalating issues that are identified, and providing various reports that provide updates regarding the project’s status. 

Assistant Commissioner - Health Department – Baltimore, Maryland 

The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) is seeking an Assistant Commissioner to lead the Bureau of Communicable Disease and Outbreak Control. This senior management position will lead a talented team responsible for communicable disease investigation, outbreak control and emergency preparedness programming. The incumbent will also be responsible for developing and implementing agency wide policies related to health department readiness to respond to public health emergencies. The incumbent will report directly to the Deputy Commissioner for BCHD’s Division of Population Health & Disease Prevention.    

Communicable Disease Epidemiologist – Cheyenne, Wyoming 

This position will serve as the Communicable Disease AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Coordinator, Wyoming TB Controller, and Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) for the Communicable Disease (CD) Treatment Program.  Assist in outbreak response to ensure the safety of Wyoming residents; by interviewing cases for exposure information, updating news outlets on the progress of outbreak control, analyzing exposure data utilizing epidemiological and statistical methods. 

Open Positions – New York State 

The New York State Department of Health, in partnership with Health Research, Inc, has various job openings, including some within the AIDS Institute. Please visit this link to learn about their current opportunities.  

News Bulletin 

Syringe Services Programs Are Vital to Ending the Hepatitis C Epidemic 

“Across the country, we are seeing spikes in HIV rates in areas that are shutting down SSPs. These programs are frequently the entry point for individuals to not only receive care but also start on a path toward recovery. Put simply, they save lives. 

Many would associate the closure of SSPs as being a rural health issue, but nothing could be further from the truth. We are even witnessing SSPs closures in California.” 

As the Pandemic Wanes, Sexually Transmitted Infections Are Likely to Rise 

“Then there’s always hope of an STI vaccine. While there are none immediately forthcoming, new clinical trials are ongoing for vaccines against herpes and gonorrhea. And as Operation Warp Speed has shown, pharmaceutical companies can create effective vaccines quickly with enough political will and financial support.” 

Generic PrEP Highlights How Even Low-Cost HIV Care Relies on High Drug Prices 

“The availability of generic Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine, or TDF/FTC), the most popular HIV prevention pill in the country, for as little as $69 a bottle without insurance seems like it can’t be anything but good news—right? But according to a commentary published in Health Affairs, low-cost pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pills might actually amount to a funding cut for programs that help people overcome barriers to PrEP.”