Alumni from the AIDS United Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellowship move on to successful careers in health and social-justice focused public policy. Hear from five alumni of the Fellowship below.
Lorraine Anyango, Summer 2014 Fellow
My experience as an AIDS United Zamora Fellow empowered me to be a youth leader within the HIV/AIDS movement.
Working alongside a team of individuals who were knowledgeable in both the programmatic and policy side of HIV prepared me for my role as the Chair of Y+, The Global Network of Young People Living with HIV, and in working with various young key populations who have been infected, affected, or impacted by HIV worldwide. Being at AIDS United affirmed my passion for empowering people living with HIV, advocating for policies that better the lives of those living with HIV, and striving to put an end to the disease.
I currently work at Community Research Initiatives as a Health Insurance Enrollment Specialist, providing training and technical assistance to providers and consumers around accessing health care.
Bernadette Carriere, Spring 2014 Fellow
Being selected as a Pedro Zamora fellow was a fantastic experience! I enjoyed getting to know and work with people who are true champions for people who may not have access to health care, housing or support.
I was a fellow at a turning point in my life and my experience helped me recognize my purpose: to work with inner-city youth to help reduce the impact of HIV in my community. I recently graduated with a Masters of Landscape Architecture degree from LSU and, prior to that, I was granted 501 c3 status to start my own nonprofit. I hope to shape policies based on how people of color live and interact with nature in order to create landscapes that encourage youth to be mindful of their surroundings and community. In doing so, I hope to shape critical thinkers who are aware of HIV, how it affects their community, and how to reduce their risk.
As a woman of color and with the recent chain of events related to BlackLivesMatter, I often feel helpless. But looking back on my journey, I realize that nothing has ever been accomplished in a day. My experience as a Pedro Zamora fellow has helped me remain steadfast in my mission to assist underprivileged youth and minorities.
Tran Doan, Summer 2012 Fellow
My training with AIDS United was so incredibly informative and life-changing that I ended up refocusing my career on public health policy. As a Zamora Fellow, I worked with the Policy and Advocacy team to design a fun, easy-to-follow Prezi toolkit that enabled any HIV/AIDS advocate to influence policies on Capitol Hill. One of my favorite memories was the opportunity to stand on the steps of the Supreme Court to hear in-person the landmark decision
upholding the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate (blogged about it here
AIDS United even later hired me twice as a consultant to design presentations for capacity-building. After completing my MPH, AIDS United brought me back to Washington DC, this time as full-time Policy Associate. Here, I am able to be surrounded by talented individuals, from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, who are bounded by a shared vision of creating a healthier, more equitable society.
Jimmy Schneidewind, Spring 2009 Fellow
As a Fellow and Public Policy Associate, I would regularly contribute to organizational efforts to create strategy, design public relations campaigns, and lobby Members of Congress, all in the name of achieving a coalition that carried the potential to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS.
After my time at AU, I went to graduate school to get a Master in Public Policy and Business Administration. My experience as a Zamora Fellow, and later as a Public Policy Associate, gave me an enormous advantage over the majority of my classmates. Working in Washington, D.C., with the staff of AU's Public Policy Department as my mentors, was like a master's in and of itself. I was already familiar with much of the vernacular used in public policy discussions, the wide variety of factors that must be considered in order to design effective policy, and I already had ample experience writing policy memos, while most of my classmates had little to none.
A highlight of my time at AU was creating a suite of online tools that would prepare advocates from across the country to lobby their Members of Congress during the 2012 International AIDS Conference. I had the feeling that the work I was doing could actually make a tangible difference in the effort for the voices of public health advocates to be heard by Congress. Another, broad highlight, was just the experience of being mentored by staff in the Policy Department.
Nathan Schaefer, Summer 2005 Fellow
During his time as a Fellow, Nathan took the lead drafting a policy brief about the importance of a key component of the Ryan White CARE Act – the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs). The brief documented the cost-savings measures of ADAPs and why they are so critical for the health and well-being of Americans living with HIV. This was especially important as Congress was preparing the reauthorize the critical legislation the next year.
What began during his Zamora Fellowship quickly turned into a personal and professional commitment for Schaefer. He went on to work at reputable AIDS service and advocacy organizations, including AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families, the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, and at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC). One of Schaefer’s career highlights was testifying to HHS’s Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability in June 2010 about the need to reform blood donations policies for gay and bisexual men (see attached photo). During his time at GMHC, the nation’s oldest AIDS Service Organization, Schaefer also served on AIDS Action (and then AIDS United’s) Public Policy Committee along with leading advocates from across the country.
“The Fellowship gave me a platform to begin my career in Public Policy and Advocacy on behalf of people living with and at risk for HIV. It was an honor to be selected for the opportunity at such a young age. The Fellowship serves a critical role in selecting and grooming the next generation of advocates and leaders.”