AFAO welcomes new leadership team
The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) has a new leadership team after it welcomed the appointment of new president Willie Rowe and incoming vice president, Bridget Haire.
Rowe joined the AFAO board as vice president in 2011 and takes over the top job from Ian Rankin.
“Ian made an enormous contribution as President,” Rowe said following his appointment. “His experience and enthusiasm in guiding AFAO through this eventful year has been a significant positive force and I look forward to continuing this”.
Rowe joined AFAO after serving on the WA AIDS Council board of management for thirteen years, including three years as Chairperson.
AFAO executive director Rob Lake said Rowe’s insights and experience in Western Australia will hold the organisation in good stead as it faced a rapidly changing environment in Australia’s HIV response.
“At a time when we face new challenges dealing with changes in the HIV epidemic in Australia, Willie’s insights into the rapidly changing issues faced in WA will be invaluable,” Lake said.
“2012 has been an exciting year for AFAO and Australia’s HIV partnership, culminating in the September release of the Melbourne Declaration. AFAO’s new president and vice president bring with them a wealth of experience and fresh perspectives.”
Haire is a leading Australian advocate for biomedical research and has worked extensively in the HIV sector and is a Researcher in Ethics at the University of Sydney.
In October, she took part in a prestigious international university thesis competition where she discussed research on HIV treatment trials and questioned whether it was ethical to issue trial participants with a placebo in order to test the effectiveness of an established treatment.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek was present at AFAO’s recent AGM, where she helped launch a position paper on how to turn political will into action so that Australia reaches its targets under the UN Political Declaration on HIV.
“We’re thrilled that the Minister was able to launch this ground-breaking paper” Lake said.
“The paper is a resource for the whole of the Australian HIV partnership – government, community, researchers and clinicians alike – to inform and guide leadership in meeting the challenges set by the UN Political Declaration.”
[Pictured] New AFAO President Willie Rowe (left) with Ian Rankin, who is stepping down from the role.