Action Link

A News Service of The AIDS Institute

In This Issue
Message from the E.D.
Affordable Care Act
Ryan White
Federal Policy Report
Florida Policy Report
CBA Network Report
Education Report
Research Report
Communications Report
What is TAI?
Upcoming Events
Conference Resources
Inside the Next Issue
Newsletter Feedback
Support Our Work
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September 2012
TAI Logo with Mission

Welcome to Action Link - your quarterly newsletter for HIV/AIDS public policy, research, advocacy and education. We encourage you to read further and learn more about The AIDS Institute's programs, services, and resources.
Message from the Executive Director

The AIDS Institute Founded 20 Years Ago This Month    


Michael Ruppal
Although we were incorporated 20 years ago this September 17, our organization was started over 27 years ago by a group of dedicated grassroots volunteers focused on changing the way Florida dealt with the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.  

I am humbled to be the 5th Executive Director of this great organization that was founded as Florida AIDS Action.  Through our collective efforts, great strides have been made to impact social change and support those who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS.


I joined the Florida AIDS Action team 10 years ago on October 1, 2002.  It was a privilege to be part of the historic meetings of the board of directors that changed our name and our scope in 2003 to The AIDS Institute, a national organization dedicated to impacting social change through public policy, research, advocacy and education.  This mission holds true today and is our guiding force for our work and programs.  


As we begin our 3rd decade of service as a non-profit organization, please join me, our board, staff and volunteers in reflecting on the history of HIV/AIDS we have been part of and remembering those we have lost that dedicated their lives to fight a battle that is not yet over.


Please stay tuned over the coming months for more information about remembrance and reflection of our history including successes, milestones and the people who made it all happen, as well as how The AIDS Institute will continue to lead our national response to HIV/AIDS.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

TAI Participates on ACA Webinar, Prevention and HIV Testing 

August 22, 2012
HIV Health Reform

One of the most important aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is its focus on prevention and expanded coverage of many preventive services to keep people from becoming sick in the first place.

This webinar, presented August 23, 2012, features an overview of the preventative services included in the ACA that can improve the health of people living with HIV and promote HIV prevention.

Presenters reviewed what preventive services will be covered by Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance plans, including the women's preventive services package, and discuss the important role the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force plays in coverage determinations.  Using HIV screening as a case study, presenters examined how preventive services are being implemented at the state and federal level and highlight some of the barriers towards implementation. A CDC staff member discussed how the agency is implementing ACA's preventive services to assist in their work to prevent HIV.

Presenters and topics include:
  • HIV Prevention and the Affordable Care Act, Carl Schmid, The AIDS Institute
  • A Case Study of Preventive Services Coverage of HIV Testing, Lindsey Dawson, The AIDS Institute
  • Texas Case Study: Routine HIV Testing - Billing and Reimbursement, Jenny R. McFarlane, Texas Dept. of State Health Services
  • HIV-Related Preventive Services: Implementation Issues, Pascale Wortley, CDC
Ryan White Reauthorization

Comments to HRSA in Support of Reauthorization of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

July 31, 2012 


The AIDS Institute strongly supports continuation of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program in its current configuration with minor adjustments, as necessary, to ensure that the potential benefits of health reform can be realized.Ryan White 


There are more people living with HIV/AIDS than ever before in the United States. The need for the care, treatment and supportive services that the Ryan White Program offers to low-income people living with or affected by HIV continues and will continue well in the future, even with full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Access to care and treatment is more critical than ever before as treatment guidelines are recommending the initiation of treatment to everyone who is HIV-infected.


Click Here for Complete Public Comments 

Federal Policy Report
TAI Press Releases 


Access to HIV Testing For Women Increases Thanks to Affordable Care Act

July 31, 2012


House Health Spending Bill Shows Stark Differences Between President and Senate

July 17, 2012  


The AIDS Institute Reacts to Supreme Court Decision

June 28, 2012 


Opportunities to increase HIV Testing as More Payers Cover  

June 22, 2012 


Senate Maintains Commitment to Domestic HIV/AIDS Programs  

June 15, 2012 


TAI Public Comments


Public Comment on HCV Testing Recommendations 

June 7, 2012 


TAI Urges CMS Not to Approve Harmful FL Medicaid Amendment 

June 4, 2012


TAI @ "AIDS 2012" International AIDS Conference

IAC 2012
Carl Schmid, TAI's Deputy Executive Director (far right) and Other Panelists Present at the International AIDS Conference
Conversations on Health CareŽ WNPR Episodes

August 12, 2012 


The AIDS Institute's Resource Center for AIDS 2012

July 31, 2012  


AIDS 2012 Media Resources

July 31, 2012


The 3-Minute Interview: Carl Schmid  

July 28, 2012

Washington Examiner   


U.S. Policy Experts Warning During XIX International AIDS Conference

July 25, 2012


2012 International AIDS Conference Satellite: Achieving the Goals of the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy, A Community Perspective

July 19, 2012


Audio of AIDS In America Press Briefing

July 10, 2012


AIDS In America Press Kit

July 10, 2012


TAI in the News


Reclaiming HIV as a 'Gay' Disease
August 29, 2012 

The Gay & Lesbian Review - Worldwide   


AIDS Advocates Pushing for Medicaid Expansion

August 3, 2012



AIDS Program Advocates Call for Stable Funding and Minor Changes in Ryan White Renewal

July 31, 2012

CQ HealthBeat


July 24, 2012

The Catalyst  


Right Choices Can Turn the Tide on AIDS

July 20, 2012

Special to Roll Call 


July 10, 2012 

CQ Healthbeat   


AIDS Conference is a Wrap, U.S. Still Has Much Work To Do

July 7, 2012

CQ HealthBeat



Additional Articles: 

FDA Approves First Rapid Take Home Test 

As Global AIDS Conference Nears, Advocates Say: Focus on the U.S. 

International Conference Sheds Light on U.S. AIDS Crisis 

Health Care Law Victory For Women and HIV 

What's Next for Health Care Reform? 

Hershey Pledges Broad Effort to Accommodate HIV-Positive Students 

Access to HIV Testing for Women Increases Thanks to ACA  

Obama vs. Bush: Who's done more on HIV/AIDS? 



For more information, please visit us at, or contact Carl Schmid, Deputy Executive Director and Public Policy Director at, 202-835-8373. 

Florida Policy Report
Florida HIV/AIDS Advocacy Network (FHAAN)

The AIDS Institute's Florida HIV/AIDS Advocacy Network (FHAAN), is the statewide FHAAN Logoeffort comprised of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA's), community advocates, HIV/AIDS and industry professionals, and anyone wanting to be involved to coordinate HIV advocacy efforts for all Floridians living with HIV and AIDS.
FHAAN's mission is to advocate for statewide HIV/AIDS resources including education, policies, programs, funding and legislation.

To read the FHAAN Monthly Newsletters, please Click Here.

For more information, please visit us at, or contact Ted Howard, FHAAN Administrator at, 813-258-5929.
CBA Network Report
CDCThe AIDS Institute's CBA program exists to strengthen consumer access to and use of CBA services for HIV Prevention. The program improves the effectiveness of HIV prevention services by creating and sustaining an engaged network of CBA consumers that expresses consumer's needs and concerns to CBA providers and funders, educates consumers about CBA and how to access it, and reduces the stigma related to seeking CBA.

To read the CBA Network Link quarterly newsletters, please Click Here

For more information, please visit us at:, or contact Michelle Scavnicky, Director of Education and Capacity Building Assistance Programs at, 813-258-5929. 
Education Report
National HIV/AIDS and Aging

The AIDS Institute launched National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD) on September 18, 2008. Each year our nation observes NHAAAD and promotes activities on or around September 18th. National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness (NHAAA) is a national campaign highlighting the complex issues related to HIV prevention, care and treatment for aging populations in the United States.


Please join us on the 5th annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD) as we host an educational webinar examining issues related to older adults and HIV/AIDS.


Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Time: 1:00PM - 2:30PM (EDT)

Topics include:  

I.   Introduction of NHAAAD and Webinar Overview  

II.  A Call to Action for HIV Awareness, Education and Prevention for Older Adults

III. Collaborations at the Federal Level to address HIV among Older Adults  

IV. Increased Need for Research on Older Adults with HIV


Registration is limited, so reserve your space early:

2012 NHAAAD Webinar Registration



For more information, please visit us at, or contact Michelle Scavnicky, Director of Education and CBA Programs at, 813-258-5929. 

Research Report
The Florida Consortium for HIV/AIDS Research (FCHAR)
The AIDS Institute's Florida Consortium for HIV/AIDS Research (FCHAR) is an action and advocacy group of HIV researchers statewide in Florida.  The Consortium was created to bring more HIV research resources to Florida and advance the body of knowledge about all aspects of HIV prevention, care and treatment.  There is a focus on promoting and arranging Inter-institutional collaboration.  FCHAR members also educate Public Health individuals and potential study participants about the nature of the three types of HIV studies: behavioral/epidemiologic, clinical trials and basic science/virology/vaccine development.
Read entire article by clicking here

To read the Research Link quarterly newsletters, please Click Here.

For more information, please visit us at:, or contact Spencer Lieb, Research Coordinator at, 850-329-7021.
Communications Report
Please visit our Media section for access to previous Action Link newsletters, as well as other important communications resources pertaining to our work:
Web and Social Media
TAI Twitter 
TAI YouTube
TAI Email Ted Howard Pic

For more information, please visit us at
TAI Media, or contact Ted Howard, Communications Coordinator at, 813-258-5929. 
What is The AIDS Institute?
The AIDS Institute is a national nonprofit organization who's mission is to promote action for social change through public policy, research, advocacy and education.
TAI Logo (Color)
The AIDS Institute (TAI) began as a grass roots community mobilization effort in the mid 1980s. In 1992, this advocacy network became incorporated as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Over the years, The AIDS Institute has expanded its vision to become a leading national nonprofit AIDS agency with offices in Tampa, Florida and Washington, DC. Affiliated with the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, The AIDS Institute remains focused on HIV/AIDS while incorporating work on related healthcare issues, including Hepatitis.

The AIDS Institute has several programs that comprise a multifaceted approach to combatting HIV/AIDS.  These programs include: Public Policy Research; Government Affairs and Advocacy, Global Advocacy, Education, Capacity Building Assistance, State Policy Programs, National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness, Communications, and HIV/AIDS Research.

For more information, please Visit Us at:, or contact us at, 813-258-5929.
  • Public Policy Research
  • Government Affairs and Advocacy
  • Global Advocacy
  • Education
  • Capacity Building Assistance (CBA) Program
  • State Policy Program
  • National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness
  • Communications
  • HIV/AIDS Research
Board of Directors and Advisory Board 

Board of Directors 

Jonathon David Berliner, Secretary - Honolulu, HI

Alicia N. Bunton - Chicago, IL
Dr. Cesar A. Caceres, Immediate Past President - Washington, DC
Selvy E. Hall - Pontiac, MI
Dr. Helena A. Kwakwa - Philadelphia, PA
Marylin Merida, President - Tampa, FL
Peter L. Ralin, At Large Member - Denver, CO
David A. Reznik, D.D.S. - Atlanta, GA
The Reverend Edwin Sanders - Nashville, TN
William Schuyler - Alexandria, VA
Lew Sibert, Treasurer - Tampa, FL
Ivy Turnbull, Vice-President - Brooklyn, NY  

Board Advisors

Ex-Officio Member: Michael Ruppal, Executive Director - Tampa, FL
Deloris Dockrey - New Brunswick, NJ
Dr. David Holtgrave - Baltimore, MD
Jeanne White-Ginder - Leesburg, FL

Staff, Interns and Volunteers
Terrence Calhoun, Director of Conferences and Trainings
Lindsey Dawson
, Public Policy Associate
Ted Howard
, Communications Coordinator
Spencer Lieb
, HIV/AIDS Research Coordinator
Denise Ruppal
, Director of Finance and Administration
Michael Ruppal
, Executive Director
Michelle Scavnicky
, Director of Education and CBA Programs
Carl Schmid
, Deputy Executive Director
Bridget Verrette
, Public Policy Associate

For more information about our staff, including phone numbers, email addresses and photos, please Click Here. 

Recent Interns  

Lelia Lelia Hoover  

Summer 2012 Intern - Washington, DC 

Public Policy and Communication with a minor in Social and Economic Justice 

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill




Benita Chilampath

 Summer 2012 Intern - Tampa, Florida 

MPH - Global Communicable Diseases

University of South Florida





Shiniquia "Nicki" Colbourne  Nicki

Summer 2012 Intern - Tampa, Florida 

Master of Public Health 

Capella University






Additional Interns (photos not currently available):


Ellie Booshehri - Master of Public Health @ South Florida
Rebecca DeCook - Public Health @ University of Florida
Maribel Gonzalez - Master of Public Health @ Walden
Angela Harden - College of Public Health @ South Florida
Nathan Hurtz - Master of Public Health @ South Florida
Dwayne McNaught - College of Public Health @ South Florida
Ariel Ley - Biology, Communications @ Davidson  
Billie Jean Shaw - Mass Communications @ Winthrop
Bryant Smith - PhD in Leadership @ Capella    
Sara Weilinski - College of Public Health @ South Florida



For profiles of our previous Interns, please Click Here.

For more information about our Internship program, please Click Here.



Mario Ferri (FL) - FHAAN
Dawn Hunter (FL) - Information Technology
Thais Iznaga
(FL) - Administration
Layne Kinney (GA) - FHAAN
Rashaan Nelson (FL) - Administration
Theresa Skipper (FL) - Administration

For more information about our Volunteer program, please Click Here.
Upcoming Events
Calendar of Events:
Conference Resources 
  • XIX International AIDS Conference 2012
  • HIV Prevention Leadership Summit 2010 
  • National HIV Prevention Conference Information: 2009, 2011 
  • Regional Patient Advocacy Leaders Summit 2012 
  • United States Conference on AIDS 20102011 
Inside the Next Issue  

"A Look Ahead to 2013" 

Newsletter Feedback 
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Support Our Work
Donations can be made easily and securely by any of these 3 ways:

1. Click Here to complete our Credit Card Authorization Form! 

2. Online by clicking on this button: 

3. Mail your check payable to "The AIDS Institute"
17 Davis Boulevard, Suite 403
Tampa, Florida 33606
Michael Ruppal's Signature
Michael Ruppal, Executive Director
The AIDS Institute