Parking this great blog experiment to get on with our work

Publishing this MergingCAPs blog has been a fascinating experiment. Since it was imagined and published only a few short months ago, the leaderships of the new, statewide Colorado AIDS Project really believes it has done what we imagined. That is to invite our staffs, boards, high-level volunteers, donors, friends, and other supporters into a frank conversation about why the merger of four of Colorado’s regional ASOs is exactly the right thing at the right time.  We wanted to be candid, straightforward and transparent about the merger, what it means, and why it matters. And we think we’ve achieved that.

Now, we’re made the determination that it’s time to move this blog into park. We’re not taking it down entirely – we’re keeping it live for a while, because there’s some great stuff on here. We think it will remain a fantastic reference for the merger for quite some time.

And we are certainly not stopping the conversation about how the merger prepares us to engage the ever-evolving HIV/AIDS epidemic in Colorado. In fact, that conversation has just started. Which brings me to the point of this post. Now, as our mission instructs us, we’ve got work to do, work that is as urgent as ever.  It’s time for us to get on with serving those living with and at risk of HIV/AIDS in our state.

Thank you to all of this blog’s readers for your attention and expressions of support during this important organizational change. It has only increased our confidence that we’ve made the right move.

All our best. -Ruth

Work of the CEO-search committee begins, and what happens in the meantime

The search committee to find a new CEO for the new, statewide Colorado AIDS Project is up and running. The committee is comprised of:

  • Christy Bush, Chair (NCAP)
  • Jeff Basinger, Regional Director (NCAP)
  • Mike Guthrie (WestCAP)
  • Mary Beth Luedtke, Regional Director (WestCAP)
  • Bill Mead (S-CAP)
  • Richard Blair, Regional Director (S-CAP)
  • Richard Corbetta (DCAP)
  • Robert George, Regional Director (DCAP)
  • Ruth Pederson, Interim CEO (CAP)

The hope is to refine the requirements and post a job description in January of 2012, with the goal of having a new CEO on board by July 2012.  The new CEO will undoubtedly need some time to learn the ropes. Then he or she will hire a chief financial officer. The likely next hire will be a permanent chief development officer, then ultimately a chief program officer.

The four regional directors – Jeff Basinger of NCAP, Richard Blair of S-CAP, Mary Beth Luedtke of WestCAP, and Robert George of what is now DenverCAP – will ultimately report to that chief program officer. Until then, they – along with interim chief development officer Tim Schuetz – will report to the CEO. I will continue to occupy that CEO spot as an interim until the new CEO is hired next summer.

HIV/AIDS remain a very real threat in Colorado, and we are responding

The new, statewide Colorado AIDS Project has the same aim as NCAP and all the other regional CAPs have had for years: equal access to culturally competent, high-quality primary and specialty medical care for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).  And we want those who are at risk of the disease to have access to accurate information to prevent the disease’s spread.

We believe the new statewide entity is ideally situated to achieve these aims, with four regional offices and additional testing locations throughout the state. As our business plan lays out, we’re moving to a place where we can enhance capacity, increase efficiency, and generate economies of scale. We can bring a measure of standardization and the incorporation of best practices into service delivery across the state. And we can provide a united voice for responding to changing political climates and their resultant funding realities.

All of this matters now more than ever, because the political climate and funding realities really are changing, as is the nature of the pandemic right here at home. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) estimates that as of 2008, there are more than 10,000 PLWHA in Colorado. As many as 25% of the PLWHA in Colorado may be unaware of their status and thus not included in that 10,000 number. CDPHE estimates a 15% increase in infection rates in Colorado in the last five years. In 2006, it estimated 322 new cases of HIV in Colorado, but cautioned that the estimate may be low by as much as 40%.

All of this is a way of saying that although the collective focus of people in the U.S. has drifted from HIV/AIDS, the disease has not gone away. The threat is ever present and very real. The new, statewide Colorado AIDS Project – and indeed all Coloradans – have much yet to do in the ongoing fight.