amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Public Health Leaders to Obama: AIDS Investments Save Lives, We Need Your Leadership



Meredith Mazzotta
Senior Communications Officer
Center for Global Health Policy 
703-740-4954 (office)
571-216-9942 (cell)    

Cub Barrett
Program Communications Manager
212-806-1602 (office)
847-571-0509 (cell) 

December 16, 2010 (WASHINGTON)—With the Obama Administration poised to determine its fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget request, two dozen prominent public health leaders across the nation joined together to call on President Obama to significantly increase funding for the effective response to global AIDS through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The group of 25 leaders—including Donna Shalala, PhD, former secretary of Health and Human Services and current president of the University of Miami; Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University Medical School; Julio Frenk, MD, PhD, MPH, dean of the School of Public Health at Harvard University; Michael Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD, president of Dartmouth College—signed an open letter in an advertisement in Thursday’s edition of Politico, a widely read and influential newspaper reporting on Capitol Hill.

“This is a crucial time in the battle against global AIDS,” said Jim Curran, MD, MPH, dean of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta and one of the signers of the letter.  “As leaders in public health, we felt it urgent that we reach out to the President now to ensure the continued investment in these programs that have already saved the lives of millions and have the potential to do so much more.”

The President’s leadership in setting a high bar for funding these lifesaving programs is especially important given the major political changes in the next Congress, including the many new members of the House and Senate with limited knowledge of the history and value of the U.S. global AIDS response. Leadership from the White House can help ensure the continued successes of these programs, measured in lives saved and HIV infections averted, with resources aimed at expanding access to HIV treatment and implementing evidence-based interventions to protect individuals and communities from HIV infection.

The ad, which can be found below, appeared in Thursday’s print edition of Politico.


Mr. President, we need your leadership on global AIDS in the 2012 budget


Dear President Obama:

This is a pivotal moment in the global AIDS epidemic. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are tremendously successful. There are clear signs of progress, with lower mortality and falling HIV infection rates across sub-Saharan Africa.  And recent scientific advances give us new tools to change the course of the epidemic.

Your fiscal year 2012 budget request is particularly crucial this year. As you prepare your budget request please consider:

  • AIDS is the leading killer of women of reproductive age and the response to AIDS remains crucial to the health of women globally;
  • PEPFAR builds health systems by investing in laboratories, personnel and other areas that are a foundation for broader health services and the Global Health Initiative;
  • Only $0.0025 from each tax dollar goes to global health, yet the return is incalculable, saving millions of lives and advancing America’s reputation abroad;
  • PEPFAR has a unique history of strong bipartisan support—bringing Democrats and Republicans together; and
  • The need remains great. Ten million people in urgent need of lifesaving care do not have access. Too many children are still becoming infected and dying before they are offered treatment that can save their lives.

Please request a substantial increase in global AIDS and health funding in your budget. In doing so you will send the unequivocal message that America will not retreat from our leadership on global AIDS; we will not abandon the millions of poor men, women and children in Africa and elsewhere who are living with or at risk for HIV infection. Rather, we will continue to make progress in saving lives and ensuring that the scientific breakthroughs made possible by American ingenuity and U.S. taxpayers’ hard earned dollars benefit those who need them the most in the U.S. and around the world.

David Bangsberg, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School; Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health
Mercedes C. Becerra, ScD, Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Richard E. Chaisson, MD, Director, Center for Tuberculosis Research, Johns Hopkins Univ.
Paul D. Cleary, PhD, Dean, Yale Univ. School of Public Health
Deborah Cotton, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Boston Univ. School of Medicine
Jim Curran, MD, MPH, Dean, Emory Univ. Rollins  School of Public Health
Susan Cu-Uvin, MD, Director, Global Health Initiative, Brown Univ.
Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, Director, Global Health Initiative, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia Univ.
Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, Chair, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Julio Frenk, MD, PhD, MPH, Dean, School of Public Health,  Harvard University
Gerald Friedland, MD, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Public Health, Yale Univ. School of Medicine
Diane Havlir, MD, Professor of Medicine, Univ. of California San Francisco
Salmaan Keshavjee, MD, PhD, Director, Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change, Harvard Medical School
Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD, President, Dartmouth College
Michael Klag, MD, MPH, Dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Daniel R. Kuritzkes, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Director of AIDS Research, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Kenneth H. Mayer, MD, Professor of Medicine and Community Health, Brown Univ.
Veronica Miller, PhD, Director, Forum for Collaborative HIV Research
Neal Nathanson, MD, Associate Dean, Global Health Programs, Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Josh Ruxin, PhD, MPH, Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health, Columbia Univ.; Founder and Director, Rwanda Works
John A. Schneider, MD, MPH, Director, Global Health Programs, Univ. of Chicago
Donna Shalala, PhD, President, Univ. of Miami
Sten H. Vermund, MD, PhD, Amos Christie Chair of Global Health, Vanderbilt Univ. School of Medicine
Judith Wasserheit, MD, MPH, Vice Chair, Dept. of Global Health, Univ. of Washington
Terrie Fox Wetle, PhD, Associate Dean of Medicine for Public Health, Alpert Medical School, Brown Univ.

Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only

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