Chair: Barb Cardell
Barb Cardell has been HIV+ since 1991 and has been involved with PWN since 2009. Based in Boulder, CO, Barb advocates for HIV+ women’s rights and awareness on a local, state and national level, and started Colorado’s PWN-USA regional chapter in January 2012 which now has over 20 members and created the “IF I WERE HIV+…” community education campaign for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. In 2011, Barb was appointed by Governor Ritter to sit on the Colorado Coalition for HIV Care and Prevention and was elected Vice Chair of the Coalition in 2012. In addition, Barb serves on the steering committee member for the People Living with HIV (PLHIV) Caucus. She starts each day asking herself “What will you do with your wild, precious life?”
Sharon S. DeCuir was diagnosed HIV-positive in 2002. She is currently the Prevention Program Coordinator at HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two, Inc. Baton Rouge; LA. Sharon is an active advocate when it relates to HIV/AIDs issues surrounding her community and state. Her current affiliations include service on the U.S. PLHIV Caucus, the Louisiana Governor’s Commission on HIV/AIDS & Hep C, the Baton Rouge TGA Advisory Council -Vice Chair, the Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative (SASI), the Positive Women’s Network – USA, Black AIDS Institute Delegate / BTAN City Co Chair, and the Capitol Area Alliance for Homeless BOD
Secretary: Dee Borrego
Ms. Borrego is an HIV+ transwoman originally from Denver, Colorado, who grew up mostly in suburban Connecticut. She acquired HIV at the age of 20; the same year as she began her transition. She has been living in the Boston area since 2004 where she has worked with and at a number of different community organizations in the Boston area, including JRI Health, TransCEND, the Boston Living Center and Cambridge Cares About AIDS. She was also a founding member of the US Positive Women’s Network (US PWN), an organization led by and for HIV+ American women to address the way HIV disproportionately affects women in the US. In 2010, Ms Borrego was chosen to speak at the Opening Plenary of the US Conference on AIDS (USCA) to discuss how HIV affects transgender youth. She currently serves as a steering committee member for the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance (HIV PJA).
Treasurer: Kathleen Griffith
Kat Griffith is a current Graduate student at Illinois State University and hopes to graduate in the spring of 2014 with a Masters in Social Work. Kat has served on several committees, including being the past Chair of her local Client Advisory Board, the inaugural two years of Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy, has been with the Positive Women’s Network since 2009 as a Steering Committee member, a Policy Co-chair and a Strategic Communications Action Team Member, and now a Board member of PWN-USA. Kat also currently sits on the Curriculum Advisory Committee for the National Network to End Domestic Violence as a representative of PWN-USA. Kat was diagnosed in 1991 while still in college. Since then, Kat has owned her own business, and returned to school. She is focused on the intersectionality of the HIV epidemic, while highlighting that hope and knowledge are the only ways to pave our future as women living with HIV.
Co-Parliamentarian: Loren Jones
Loren Jones is an HIV+ African-American women who has lived with the virus for at least 26 years. She has served the HIV/AIDS community as a member of the Alameda/Contra Costa County Planning Council twice. (1989-1991 and 2010-present). Loren currently chairs of the Policy, Education and Review Committee, and the Quality, Data and Services Committee, and serves as a member of the Prevention and the PLWHA committees. She also serves as a member of the Community AIDS Prevention Studies advisory board of UCSF. Ms Jones was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame in Health in 1997 and was awarded the Rebecca Denison award by WORLD in 2010. She is a founding member of the Positive Women’s Network – USA. Loren is also the mother of two daughters and grandmother of a two year old boy and girl.
Co-Parliamentarian: Pat Kelly
Patricia Kelly (Pat) is a local, regional and national educator, advocate and activist aging gracefully and gratefully living well and positive with AIDS. Pat is the Founder and President of A Family Affair HIV/AIDS (AFA) Ministry at Victory Tabernacle Deliverance Temple located in Orangeburg, SC. She is also Program Coordinator for Minority AIDS Council of Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun Counties. She has a BA in English from Claflin College. Pat was diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and AIDS in 1998. She is a founding member of Positive Women’s Network-USA and PWN-USA regional organizer for SC.
My name is Tranisha Arzah and I have been living with HIV since birth, for 25 years. Currently, I live in Seattle, WA, working as a Peer Advocate for BABES-Network YWCA which is a sisterhood of women facing HIV together. BABES Network is a Seattle-based peer support program for women and their families affected by HIV. We work from the belief that HIV-positive women are uniquely qualified to understand and encourage one another. I am also a Youth Scholar for the National Minority AIDS Council for the Youth Initiative to End AIDS in America which focuses on developing leadership among youth to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I am very passionate about advocating for social justice issues. Outside of work I like to be with my friends, dance, volunteer, and watch movies.
Bio coming soon!!!
Cathy Elliott is an HIV-positive treatment educator, advocate and public speaker. In her current position as an HIV Community Liaison for Merck & Co, Cathy travels throughout the western US providing comprehensive education and support to service providers who work with HIV+ individuals. Prior to joining Merck in early 2011, Cathy worked for over 15 years with a number of HIV/AIDS organizations in the Los Angeles area.
Cathy is the former President and founding member of the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC), a national coalition of AIDS activists founded in 2002. She has been honored by the City of West Hollywood, Being Alive Los Angeles, POZ Magazine, The Los Angeles Women’s HIV Task Force, SisterLove Inc, and California State Assembly Member Paul Koretz for her community work and volunteerism. Cathy holds a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management from Antioch University Los Angeles and is currently completing a second Master of Communication Management at the University of Southern California.
Based in Washington, DC, Vanessa Johnson is an advocate, community leader and champion for people living with HIV (PLHIV) and social justice issues. Her career accomplishments include 30 years of service in advocacy and program development scaling up domestic consumer responsive community health services. She is an experienced facilitator and nationally certified trainer with a focus on leadership development, community mobilization and public health interventions. She currently is a co-director for the Ribbon Consulting Group, a Washington, DC based peer-led consulting firm specializing in providing technical assistance to organizations of all types providing community based health services.
Octavia Y. Lewis, MPA
Octavia Y. Lewis, MPA leads all transgender-related programming and services at The Hetrick-Martin Institute through providing the youth with transferrable skills needed to navigate the systems which are in place to assist them while teaching them to find their voices to advocate for themselves, educating allies on what it means to be an ally, and leading through exemplary leadership skills on living one’s authentic life unapologetically. Octavia has also accomplished several noteworthy accomplishments since relocating to New York City in May of 2011.
She graduated from the Audre Lorde Project Trans Justice School, was the keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual Buffalo Trans Health Conference, a panelist at NYU’s Living Out Loud Series for World AIDS Day, a commencement speaker at HMI’s HSE graduation, a panelist at Columbia University on Gender & Sexuality, has facilitated workshops at the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Annual Newark LGBTQ Youth Summit, is a co-facilitator of JOG (Just One of the Girls) intervention, has published an article in The Root entitled “I’m Black, I’m Trans, I’m HIV-Positive and I’m OK”, completed the cover for the March edition of POZ Magazine, and became the foster mother of a 2-year-old named Ethan whom she hopes to adopt.
Octavia holds an Associate in General Studies from Atlanta Metropolitan College, a Bachelors in Business Administration/Marketing from Georgia Gwinnett College, a Masters in Public Administration/Health Services Management, and is a taking a short break from obtaining a doctoral degree in Public Health/Advocacy & Leadership.
LaTrischa Miles, BBA, Treatment Adherence Specialist: Ms. Miles has been involved in the HIV arena for over 10 years with expertise in training, advocacy, treatment adherence and community education. She supervises peers in the Treatment Adherence Program at Kansas City CARE Health Clinic in Missouri. Ms. Miles has developed curriculum and is a national trainer who has trained over 400 HIV+ individuals to become Peer Educators. Ms. Miles just completed her tenure as Chair of the Kansas City Ryan White Planning Council and member of Consumer Advocacy Committee. She is a volunteer member of the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS and certified to conduct HIV testing services. Recently she successfully completed the Training of Consumers on Quality conducted by the National Quality Center to become a consumer champion on local, regional and national quality management committees to improve efforts for consumers in HIV care and treatment services. Ms. Miles is the founder and President of GRACE of Greater Kansas City, a
Women’s monthly support group designed for and about women of faith affected and infected with HIV. Ms. Miles is one of the founders of the Positive Women’s Network and is a speaker and volunteer in a number of other organizations.
Pat is a founder of the BABES Network in Seattle, Washington, one of the oldest women-serving HIV organizations in the United States. She continues to serve on the Advisory Board of BABES, co-chairs the Seattle Transitional Grant Area Ryan White Planning Council, and is a skilled public speaker, facilitator, organizational development consultant and trainer. Pat is a founding member of the Positive Women’s Network – USA, and has been involved since its inception.
Venita is an attorney with a passion for social justice, equity, and advocacy with a background in economic development, urban planning, and community engagement. Venita was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 while serving as an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.
Venita is currently the Public Affairs Field Specialist for Legacy Community Health where she monitors healthcare policy and manages an advocacy training program for people living with HIV. Venita is committed to raising awareness about HIV, eliminating stigma, and teaching others to advocate for issues that impact the HIV community. Venita lives in Houston, Texas, has one daughter, two grandsons, and teaches yoga.
At the age of 30, while in school for computer engineering, Nicole was diagnosed HIV positive. Being diagnosed with HIV inspired Nicole to become more involved in the HIV community, particularly addressing issues that plague women, infants and children. Nicole was elected chair of the Ryan White Part D Michigan Community Advisory Board in 2008. As chair of the CAB, she has been selected to be the regional representative for the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trial Network (IMPAACT). She was also selected to be a part of the AIDS Alliance Consumer Leadership Corps Training Program and appointed by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to represent the community on the Southeastern Michigan HIV/AIDS Planning Council. In addition, Nicole founded the PWN-USA Detroit Chapter in 2011. Nicole plans on returning to school to pursue a degree in Public Policy and Law and her ultimate goal is to become a member of the United States Senate. Nicole believes no dream is untouchable.
Teresa is an African-American woman diagnosed with HIV in 1996, with expertise in the intersection of HIV and incarceration. Teresa is a senior member of PWN-USA’s Philadelphia Chapter. Teresa is a graduate of the Black AIDS Institute’s African American HIV University and an Adherence and Mobilization (TEAM) Navigator for the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC). She is currently employed by Philadelphia FIGHT, as the instructor for its signature program, TEACH Outside, a five-week adult treatment education and activist course for HIV-positive people released from prisons and/or jails, and other hard to reach communities.
Evany has been living with HIV for 14 yrs. Her most important role in life is being mother. She is the Program Coordinator for the Care 2 Prevent Program at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. She helps young adults and adolescents comb through issues regarding living with HIV. Her work takes her into many places all around the USA where she teaches about comprehensive sex education, and ways to prevent HIV while having fun safer sex. She is also a fierce advocate for People Living with HIV/AIDS.