Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Julio Contreras August 23, 2021

Hill Happenings

FY2022 Appropriations

Senate Democrats are working to quickly advance Fiscal Year 2022 (FY2022) spending bills in the upper chamber ahead of a September 30 fiscal deadline.  After the full Senate approved the bipartisan INVEST in America Act (H.R.3684) on August 10, Democrats are now prioritizing the FY2022 spending bills, where they plan to leverage the budget reconciliation process to pass policy priorities without Republican support, including health spending priorities such as lowering drug pricing and extending ACA subsidies authorized by the COVID-19 relief package, the American Rescue Plan.

On August 11, Senators approved a $3.5 trillion budget resolution for FY2022. The budget resolution sets fiscal parameters for the upper chamber’s spending bills and directs committees to begin drafting legislative text. Once the upper chamber’s spending bills are approved, the House will take up consideration of the infrastructure package and finalize the consolidated FY2022 spending bill and the infrastructure package in tandem.

Although Senate appropriators are starting to move forward spending bills, many lawmakers expect that Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution to extend federal funding and avoid a fiscal cliff until the FY2022 spending bills are finalized. NASTAD will continue to monitor the FY2022 appropriations process to advocate for the highest funding levels on behalf of HIV and hepatitis programs.

Administrative Activities

CDC Announces New Disease Forecasting Center

On August 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the creation of a new center designed to advance the use of forecasting and outbreak analytics in public health decision making. Once established, the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics will bring together next-generation public health data, expert disease modelers, public health emergency responders, and high-quality communications to facilitate access to and use of data for public health policy makers. The center will prioritize equity and accessibility, while serving as a hub for innovation and research on disease modeling.

Resources

NASTAD Drug User Health Policy Map

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new resource, the Drug User Health Policy Map, developed by NASTAD’s Drug User Health and Health Systems Integration Teams. This resource was created to help provide a better understanding of laws and policies in your state that impact people who use drugs. The interactive map provides information about each state as it relates to laws criminalizing HIV and hepatitis exposure through the use of drug paraphernalia; unique requirements of your jurisdiction’s 911 Good Samaritan Laws related to overdose response; and details of state-level Section 1115 Medicaid waivers that expand services for people who use drugs.   

NASTAD Resource: Materials for Syringe Services Programs: A Guide for Staff & Volunteers.

The Materials for Syringe Services Programs: A Guide for Staff & Volunteers learning tool consists of a Training Module Webinar, a Presenter’s Guide, and PowerPoint slide deck that syringe services programs and health departments can customize for their in-house staff trainings. Other materials, such as a customizable informational flyer, are forthcoming. This project was designed for use by health department and community-based syringe services programs (SSPs) and their staff to provide an overview of materials typically available at an SSP, discuss alternative materials for safer injection when needed, and improve communication about the use and utility of safer injection supplies.   

CDC Awards Cooperative Agreement: National Viral Hepatitis Education, Awareness, and Capacity Building for Communities and Providers: Part A

NASTAD, in partnership with National Virus Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), was awarded the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cooperative agreement National Viral Hepatitis Education, Awareness, and Capacity Building for Communities and Providers: Part A (CDC-RFA-PS21-2105). Through this 5-year award, the coalition of organizations will establish a consortium of public health partners, community-based organizations, people with lived experience, and healthcare providers, focused on identifying and addressing the unmet needs of people who inject drugs (PWID) to improve their access to viral hepatitis education, prevention, testing, linkage to care, and treatment.

Webinar: NAIRHHA Day: A Conversation with Federal & Local Partners

Date & Time: Wednesday, September 1 from 1 – 2 pm ET

Join Hepatitis B Foundation, NASTAD, and the Multicultural AIDS Coalition for an event that brings together federal and local partners working in the HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis spaces for a conversation centered on work with African immigrant communities.

ASTHO Webinar: Breaking Down Barriers: Advancing Health Equity in HIV Care

Date & Time: Monday, August 30

In part two of ASTHO’s HIV Webinar Series, we will focus on designing HIV systems that meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations. This webinar will teach you about some of the unique barriers populations face in receiving HIV care. We will highlight local efforts designed to address these barriers and improve retention in HIV care among marginalized communities.

Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (SHAAD), a day to raise awareness and address the impact of HIV on southern communities, is observed annually on August 20. CDC released an updated SHAAD toolkit with ready-to-use social media content to address stigma and other barriers to testing, prevention, and treatment for people living in the South.

National Faith HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

National Faith HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is observed annually on August 29. CDC is hosting a webinar on August 27, 2021, at 1 pm (Eastern Time) focused on the ways in which community-based organizations, health departments, and faith leaders engage with interfaith communities to achieve health equity to end the HIV epidemic. Panelists will share best practices on interfaith approaches to mitigate HIV stigma. Click here to register for the webinar.

HRSA Launches Ending Stigma through Collaboration and Lifting All to Empowerment (ESCALATE) Program

On July 29, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the launch of the Ending Stigma through Collaboration and Lifting All to Empowerment (ESCALATE) program. ESCALATE was designed with the goal of reducing stigma for people with HIV on multiple levels throughout the health care delivery system, including on the individual client, organization, and system levels. The program also focuses on implementing various stigma-reducing approaches with an emphasis on increasing cultural humility in care and treatment settings for people with HIV within the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP). ESCALATE features trainings, time-limited TA for RWHAP recipients/subrecipients, and two learning collaboratives to reduce stigma and improve health outcomes based on the concepts of cultural humility and stigma reduction. Applications are open until Friday, September 3rd.

2021 Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium

Date: September 29-30

As part of the HRSA-funded Special Project of National Significance (SPNS): Evidence-Informed Approaches to Improving Health Outcomes for People Living with HIV, Howard Brown Health will host the virtual 2021 Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium taking place on September 29-30. This year's theme is Community Informed Care is a Radical Act. The goal of the conference is to provide a space for healthcare professionals, educators, researchers, and advocates from across the country to disseminate evidence-based practices and engage in rigorous discussion around issues relating to the health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities.

Job Postings

NASTAD Drug User Health Team

NASTAD, in partnership with AIDS United, has been selected by the CDC to manage a grant that will support SSPs in expanding their COVID and adult vaccination programming. We are recruiting for a Manager, a Senior Manager, and Associate Director/Project Coordinator. More information can be found below:

  • The Manager, Drug User Health plays a vital role in expanding the organization’s capacity to address the impacts of the intersecting crises of drug use, HIV/AIDS, and viral hepatitis in community and public health settings, particularly within state and local health departments and Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). Core activities will be to support NASTAD’s role in the launch and management of the Centers for Disease Control’s Supplemental Project for Expanding SSP Capacity to Respond to COVID-19 through the Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services Through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health (CDC-RFA-OT18-1802). 
  • The Senior Manager, Drug User Health plays a vital role in expanding the organization’s capacity to address the impacts of the intersecting crises of drug use, HIV/AIDS, and viral hepatitis in community and public health settings, particularly within state and local health departments and Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). Core activities will be to support NASTAD’s role in the launch, advancement, and management of the Centers for Disease Control’s Supplemental Project for Expanding SSP Capacity to Respond to COVID-19 through the Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services Through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health (CDC-RFA-OT18-1802).
  • The Associate Director, Drug User Health plays a vital role in expanding the organization’s capacity to address the impacts of the intersecting crises of drug use, HIV/AIDS, and viral hepatitis in community and public health settings, particularly within state and local health departments and Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). Core activities will be to serve as the Project Coordinator and direct activities related to NASTAD’s role in the launch and management of the Centers for Disease Control’s Supplemental Project for Expanding SSP Capacity to Respond to COVID-19 through the Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services Through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation’s Health (CDC-RFA-OT18-1802).

Hepatitis Surveillance Data Analyst – New Orleans, LA

This position is responsible for the data analysis activities for the Louisiana Office of Public Health STD/HIV/Hepatitis Program (SHHP), in the Hepatitis Surveillance unit. Data utilized for Hepatitis Surveillance activities include Hepatitis laboratory data, Case Report Forms, Provider Report Forms, Linkage to Cure data, investigation data, Medicaid data, and data from related sources and programs. This position will implement and coordinate data analysis activities to monitor and evaluate progress toward meeting hepatitis elimination within the state. All activities must be completed in accordance with the security and confidentiality guidelines required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SHHP.

University of Southern Maine – Portland, ME

  • HIV and STD Epidemiologist: The University of Southern Maine seeks applicants for a full-time, soft money-funded scientific professional position for statewide epidemiological support, program coordination, and leadership focusing on for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Responsibilities include statewide surveillance for HIV and other STDs, education and outreach activities focused on prevention of HIV and STD transmission, and participation in routine and outbreak infectious disease monitoring and response activities.
  • Viral Hepatitis Coordinator: The University of Southern Maine seeks applicants for a full-time, soft money funded professional position involving statewide viral hepatitis program coordination and leadership skills. Responsibilities include maintaining technical expertise in the subject area, and coordinating, developing, implementing, and evaluating programmatic interventions.  

Austin Department of Public Health -- Austin, TX

  • Public Health Program Coordinator: The Public Health Program Coordinator will direct all aspects of the Ryan White Part A Quality Management Program. Responsibilities will include directing policy formulation; program planning, design, implementation, and evaluation. Excellent Benefits Program
  • Grants Coordinator: This position will be responsible for managing the subcontracting process for the Ending the HIV Epidemic grant by preparing RFPs/RFAs; developing grant subcontracts; negotiating work statements/budgets; and executing contracts.  This position is also responsible for monitoring grant expenses and activities by identifying and solving potential or existing grant problems. Excellent Benefits Program

Health Scientist, HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau – Rockville, MD

This position is located in the Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Division of Policy and Data, Special Projects of National Significance Branch. Some major duties and responsibilities include providing technical guidance for the evaluation of HIV/AIDS service programs administered by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Special Projects of National Significance; designing, analyzing, and disseminating HIV/AIDS service program data to facilitate program monitoring as well as determine the most effective methods for disseminating findings from aggregate- and client-level data collection systems; identifying, designing, and conducting analyses (qualitative and/or quantitative) of program data and preparing written and analytical reports; and providing expertise on planning, designing, and developing materials and documents for dissemination.

NASTAD Assistant, Program and Policy – Remote/Washington, DC

The Assistant, Program and Policy will support NASTAD’s program and policy teams by providing administrative and logistical support for the Senior Directors/Directors. The ideal candidate will be motivated, highly organized, and able to follow through on tasks with minimal prompting. Demonstrated ability to execute projects in a timely manner and precise attention to detail are required.

NASTAD Senior Associate, Prevention – Remote/Washington, DC

The Senior Associate, Prevention, as part of NASTAD’s Prevention team, supports the organization’s capacity to support health departments’ (HDs) implementation of Ending the HIV Epidemic plans. The position works primarily on NASTAD’s CDC-funded “Strategic Partnerships and Planning to Support Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States” (PS19-1906 Component A) project to provide technical assistance to HDs implementing CDC PS20-2010 Component A.

2021-2022 HepVu Fellowship

HepVu is focusing on empowering new voices by offering three fellowship opportunities for researchers in viral hepatitis and HIV spaces. Each fellow will be awarded a $10,000 personal stipend to conduct a research project related to HIV, Hepatitis C, or both, using data on AIDSVu and/or HepVu, along with other data sources. Priority will be given to research proposals that address health disparities and/or relevant intersections such as syndemics, the opioid epidemic, social determinants of health, STIs, etc. We believe communities affected by these health disparities should be centered in the work we do and strongly encourage applications from underrepresented groups in the HIV and Hepatitis C space. Fellows’ research will be featured on the Vu platforms and used to further illustrate the impact of HIV and/or viral hepatitis in the U.S.

New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control

  • ID Care Services Quality Management Specialist (Program Specialist IV #9T2810, Job ID: 19231). This full-time position plans and evaluates the quality management areas of the NH Ryan White CARE Program. Provides subject matter expertise with regard to quality improvement methodology and HIV specific performance measures, to demonstrate measured improvements in HIV care across NH.
  • COVID-19 Public Health Nurse Specialist (Public Health Nurse Specialist #9T2809, Job ID 20592). This full-time registered nurse position will join a multi-disciplinary team responsible for COVID-19 case investigation, contact tracing and outbreak response.

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.

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

NIH Makes Substantial New Investment of Over $265M in HIV Cure Research

“The National Institutes of Health has awarded approximately $53 million in annual funding over the next five years to 10 research organizations in a continued effort to find a cure for HIV. The new awards for the Martin Delaney Collaboratories for HIV Cure Research program further expand the initiative’s 2016 renewal from six institutions to 10, and represent a funding increase of approximately 75 percent. Additionally, one of the new grants is focused specifically on HIV cure research in infants and children.”

The Pandemic Is Bringing Us Closer to the First HIV Vaccine

“Moderna will soon begin the first-ever human clinical trials for a messenger RNA-based HIV vaccine, utilizing the same technology as its COVID vaccine. The trials could potentially begin as soon as this week, though they have not started recruiting as of publication time. Moderna will recruit 56 HIV-negative adults to enroll in Phase I. It will be testing two mRNA-based vaccines. Moderna’s and Pfizer’s COVID vaccines are mRNA-based, while Johnson & Johnson’s is not.”

CDC formally recommends third vaccine dose for immunocompromised people

“The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off Friday evening on recommending a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for some people with weakened immune systems… The FDA amended the emergency use authorizations for the two mRNA shots late Thursday to allow an additional dose for solid-organ transplant recipients ‘or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.’”