amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Chris Collins Joins amfAR as Vice President and Director of Public Policy


Contact: Cub Barrett, Manager, Program Communications, (212) 806-1602,

For Immediate Release

NEW YORK, May 20, 2009—Chris Collins, a veteran AIDS advocate who has helped shape HIV/AIDS policy and communications for nearly 20 years, was named vice president and director of public policy for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost announced today.

As director of public policy, Collins will be based in amfAR’s Washington, D.C., office. His primary responsibilities will be to lead amfAR’s efforts to secure necessary increases in funding for HIV/AIDS research; promote a comprehensive National AIDS Strategy, including repeal of the current ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs; expand access to care and treatment; and protect the civil rights of all people affected by HIV/AIDS.

“Chris’s talent, dedication and extensive HIV policy experience will be a great resource to his new colleagues at amfAR, as well as to Members of Congress, the research community, and people living with HIV/AIDS,” said U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, for whom Collins worked as a staff adviser. “I look forward to working with him to increase investments in HIV/AIDS research and to expand access to care, treatment and effective prevention methods.”

“I’m thrilled that amfAR will have someone of Chris’s caliber to oversee our public policy efforts,” Frost said. “Chris has been at the leading edge of the public discussion about HIV/AIDS for many years, and we’re excited to see him further amfAR’s goals in Washington and on the world stage.”

Collins will join a public policy team that includes Rear Admiral Susan Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.A., former U.S. assistant surgeon general and amfAR’s senior policy and medical advisor, who has provided pioneering leadership in public health and in the fight against AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Dr. Blumenthal most recently organized and chaired amfAR’s historic Capitol Hill conference, “Future Directions in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS,” in partnership with Research!America. “Chris brings outstanding public policy skills and dedication to this position,” Blumenthal said. “He will be an invaluable asset in amfAR's efforts to eradicate AIDS.”

Collins has spent more than 18 years working in HIV/AIDS policy and advocacy. He is the author of Improving Outcomes: Blueprint for a National AIDS Plan for the United States, which was published by the Open Society Institute in 2007.  Most recently, Collins was a consultant on policy and communications for several organizations, including the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy, where he helped organize efforts to advance the National AIDS Strategy movement, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he helped coordinate the Global HIV Prevention Working Group. He also oversaw production of the series of Missing the Target reports on international AIDS service scale-up produced by the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC).

Collins is a co-founder of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) and served as its executive director for two years, leading the organization’s advocacy and development efforts. As a consultant to AVAC he has recently written on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and other issues. Also, while serving as staff to Pelosi, Collins developed the first Congressional legislation designed to provide incentives for the development and delivery of vaccines against AIDS, malaria, and TB.

“The response to HIV/AIDS is at a pivotal juncture, both domestically and internationally, and amfAR has the history of accomplishment and breadth of engagement to continue to play a critical role in shaping HIV policy and programming into the future,” Collins said. “This new position is an opportunity to work with an outstanding team and make a tangible impact in the United States and abroad.”

Collins is the author of dozens of publications on HIV/AIDS policy. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with highest honors.

About amfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $290 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.