Chair's Challenge

2019 - 2020 Chair's Challenge
The Time is NOW: End the Epidemics

Johanne Morne, New York

My Chair’s Challenge is titled The Time is NOW: End the Epidemics. We know we have the knowledge and tools needed to end the HIV and hepatitis epidemics. NASTAD and its membership is committed to ending stigma and to dramatically reducing new HIV and hepatitis infections through policies and public health practice grounded in science.

Over the next year, I ask that we as a collective body think about what we can do to leverage the time we have together to build on progress that has already been made through previous Chair’s Challenges. Therefore, my Chair’s Challenge is this:

  • To increase the number of jurisdictions by 50% that have a documented Ending the Epidemic plan. In May 2019, 11 states and 12 jurisdictions had plans.
  • To increase the number of NASTAD members by 100% that have signed on to Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U). In May 2019, 16 jurisdictions had adopted U=U.
  • Call on jurisdictions to convene stakeholder groups to investigate the barriers to accessing PrEP—such as structural barriers like housing, food insecurity, poverty, and a lack of access to health care.
  • Encourage all jurisdictions that are able to commit supplemental dues to support the Minority Leadership Program (MLP) and allow NASTAD to intentionally engage MLP Alumni in our effort to harness the collective strength of past cohorts to create a national network of public health professionals of color. 
  • Encourage NASTAD members to utilize the stigma microsite and host stigma summits in their jurisdictions.
  • Urge health departments to share HepTAC with staff to get them involved in accessing TA to strengthen their hepatitis infrastructure.

I am also calling on NASTAD members to be engaged in your state and local hepatitis elimination planning efforts if there are some, and if there are not, talk to your staff about opportunities to explore elimination planning moving forward. And finally, I’m challenging NASTAD to partner, prioritize, and expand its technical assistance capacity to train health departments on how to recognize trauma and integrate trauma-informed care services into prevention and care activities.

This is no small challenge, but it can be accomplished with a team approach! The time is NOW! No opportunity waits!