Host Committee Volunteers

Host Committee Volunteers

Through the Center for Health Justice, Gia Olaes is a Reentry Counselor responding to those in the LGBTQI2-S community who are impacted by incarceration. Along with the Transgender Service Provider Network and serving the LA Transgender Advisory Council, Gia hope’s to actively create progressive & inclusive change in policy for Trans & Gender Non-Conforming identities. For Gia, focus on proper Gender Affirming care is of the utmost importance. Along with a background in care for foster children, Alzheimer’s patients, and Trans Identifying people, Gia is additionally involved with the Trans Chorus of LA and continues to support Trans Art with an emphasis on Taking Back Our Power advocacy.

Ricky N. Bluthenthal, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and the Institute for Prevention Research at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.  His research has established the effectiveness of syringe exchange programs, tested novel interventions and strategies to reduce HIV risk and improve HIV testing among people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men, documented how community conditions contribute to health disparities, and examined health policy implementation.  At present, Dr. Bluthenthal is conducting studies on preventing injection initiation, improving HIV testing and linkage to care for low-income gay and bisexual African American men, and reducing stress and improving family cohesion among low-income Latinos using a mindfulness-based meditation intervention.  Other research interests include health care for people who inject drugs, drug use epidemiology, life course theory, and mixed method research designs. Dr. Bluthenthal has published over 120 manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific journals including the American Journal of Public Health, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, and Social Science and Medicine among others.

LaShonda Spencer, MD (Internal Medicine-Pediatrics/Infectious Diseases).  Dr. Spencer is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Medical Director of MCA Clinic, and Associate Director of Education for the Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellowship Program at LAC+USC Keck School of Medicine.   Dr. Spencer provides primary and preventive HIV care to pediatric/adolescent and adult patients, including pregnant women at the MCA program.  Her areas of research interest are the prevention of HIV transmission from Mother to Child, HIV disease in Women and Adolescents and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis.  Her current research projects include Antiretroviral Concentrations in Breast Milk in HIV infected Postpartum Women; as well as several International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group and Industry sponsored studies.  Dr. Spencer’s committee responsibilities include the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV, DHS HIV/AIDS Best Practices Committee, and the MCA Continuous Quality Improvement Committee.

Gabriel Maldonado is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TruEvolution based in Riverside, California serving the LGBTQ community through Ryan White-supported ancillary services as the first LGBT Center in the region, and engages in national advocacy efforts surrounding health disparities impacting LGBTQ communities of color. Gabriel also serves on the Board of Directors for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation as well as on the Advisory Boards for Janssen Therapeutics, Viiv Healthcare, and Merck & Co. In 2015, Gabriel was appointed onto the Presidential Advi- sory Council on HIV/AIDS under President Barack Obama and serves as Co-Chair of the Disparities Committee.  Gabriel currently serves as a Co-Chair for the 2019 National HIV Prevention Conference at the Centers for Disease Control.

Oscar De La O is a founding member and President & CEO of Bienestar Human Services.  Oscar has been an advocate for Latinos affected by HIV and AIDS for over 32 years.  His community involvement represents over forty years of service and advocacy on behalf of the Latina/ community, including the LGBT communities.    His love for and dedication to the community came from his mother who instilled in him the need to serve others in order to have a fulfilling and rewarding life.   Oscar makes it a priority to hold true to his “grassroots” identity in his community work and interactions.  He firmly believes in the empowerment and the full and active participation of all segments of the community.

Raphael J. Landovitz’s clinical research career focuses on optimizing the use of HIV antiretroviral therapy for both HIV treatment and HIV prevention.  He is Currently Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA, Associate Director of the UCLA Center for Clinical AIDS Research & Education, and Co-Director of the UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services (CHIPTS).  He is the protocol chair for the NIH/DAIDS funded Phase 2a and Phase 3 studies of long-acting injectable PrEP using cabotegravir (HPTN 077 and HPTN 083). He was awarded the John Carey Young Investigator Award by the AIDS Clinical Trials Group in 2010.

Grissel Granados is the Program Manager for HIV Prevention Services, in the HIV Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Granados works primarily with young gay and bisexual men and transgender youth of color. Locally, she serves as a co-chair of the LA County Commission on HIV and was one of the community co-chairs of the launch of the Los Angeles County HIV/AIDS Strategy. On a national level, she is a new member of the Positive Women’s Network Board of Directors and publicly stepped down from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. She co-directed and co-produced the documentary titled, We’re Still Here, which depicts the stories of the first generation of people born with HIV in the 80s and 90s who are now young adults.

Erick Nunez is a Columbia University School of Social Work graduate (2015), with a track in Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming and a concentration in Contemporary Social Issues. Originally from South Central, California, Erick is the youngest of four, and is the first in his family to graduate from college after attending California State University of Long Beach (2012) with a B.A in Sociology. He has a deep passion for working with LGBTQ youth and homeless populations, being an advocate for those with HIV/AIDS and a role model to young gay black men through his roles in Young Gay Black Men’s Initiative – a nonprofit focusing on policy and advocacy and serving as the President of IMPULSE, NYC chapter. Which is a social networking group that promotes safe sex practices and HIV awareness and education through social events and advocacy efforts. After 5 years of residing in New York City, Erick has now relocated back home to Los Angeles to serve as the Program Manager for the Men’s Health Foundation new South Central health clinic.

Clark Marshall has worked for the State of California for over 18 years and 13 of those years he has worked at the Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS. Clark is currently the lead HIV Prevention Program Coordinator for several PrEP State and Federally funded programs and services. Clark is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a small private practice in Sacramento, California.

Derrick Butler, MD, MPH – Dr. Butler is a Family Medicine Physician and HIV Specialist practicing in South Central Los Angeles.  He received his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco. He currently serves as Associate Medical Director at the T.H.E. Health and Wellness Centers, a long standing federally qualified community health center and is the director of T.H.E Clinic’s HIV Program.  He also serves as Assistant Professor with the Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center at Charles Drew University. Dr. Butler is focused on addressing the current HIV/AIDS epidemic and the health disparities of urban populations.  With an additional interest in international health, Dr. Butler has also lived in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer and participated in medical missions in various parts of Africa.

Gerald Garth currently serves as Manager of Program Operations with the AMAAD Institute (Arming Minorities Against Addiction and Disease) to provide programs and services to LGBTQ communities of color in South Los Angeles with a focus in HIV prevention, reentry, and recovery support.  He previously served as Manager of Prevention and Care with the Black AIDS Institute.  Garth leads a new initiative that works with young Black gay and bisexual men to use their own personal experiences to hone compelling writing and storytelling abilities, called “Your Story, Your Words.”  He is proud and humbled to have given dozens of presentations across the country highlighting the work he has done with youth, women, people living with HIV, the faith community, and the impacts of substance use on Black communities. Recently, Garth was accepted into the California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers Fellowship Program (CHPRC), which supports research and policy analysis to address critical issues related to HIV/AIDS care and prevention in California.

Samantha Jo-Dato is a professional curriculum developer in and around Trans/ (Gender Non- Conforming) GNC issues. Jo-Dato has also led Trans initiatives that influence the onward social rebuilding, improvement and development of communities disproportionately impacted by barriers to holistic care for over 19 years. She is also committed to producing innovative, comprehensive, and data-driven programming that is focused on strengthening the Trans constituencies along with our allies in the greater Los Angeles CA area through awareness, engagement, learning, and human connection.  Samantha’s leadership has influenced the development and implementation of best practices on a state and national level.

Dontá Morrison is a Los Angeles based HIV advocate with vast experience in the areas of education, prevention, and treatment. He has managed community based programs focused on providing services to those most at-risk for infection; primarily young men of color. In addition, he has facilitated safer-sex/HIV 101 workshops to audiences that range from elementary aged youth to incarcerated individuals within the federal prison system.  A licensed minister and well versed in the functions of the faith based community. He has successfully broken barriers and offered guidance to clergy on how to best discuss sex and human sexuality in a culturally sensitive manner. His motto “HIV is a virus, not a sin” is something he wants the church to remember when dealing with an epidemic that is far from over.

Raniyah Copeland joined the Black AIDS Institute (the Institute) in 2008 and currently serves as the Director of Programs. In this role she is the organization’s chief HIV prevention and care expert and leads all HIV treatment, prevention and community mobilization engagement and direct service programming at the Institute. Raniyah has led the Institute’s entry into HIV testing and care work among Black Angelinos and the delivery of its training and capacity building programming with Health Care Organizations, Community Based Organizations and Health Departments.  Copeland attended the University of California, Berkeley studying the field of Public Health and African American Studies and has a Masters in Urban Public Health from Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles.

Richard Zaldivar founded The Wall Las Memorias Project in 1993 and constructed the only publicly funded AIDS Monuments in the nation in 2004. The monument is situated in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles and serves as an inspiration and a catalyst for social change.  Under his leadership, the organization has developed innovative programs to reach out to Latino and other underserved populations and developed HIV, substance abuse and mental health prevention programs in a holistic and spiritual manner.  A native of Los Angeles, Zaldivar began his career in public service as a field deputy to the legendary Los Angeles City Councilman Art Snyder and later went on to serve the City of Los Angeles for sixteen years. The highlight of his political career was serving on the National Democratic Convention Platform Committee’s Foreign Policy subcommittee.

Raul Quintero is a sex-positive PrEP and HIV advocate helping navigate underserved priority populations into care as PrEP Project Coordinator for Wesley Health Centers/JWCH Institute, Inc. Raul is also co-chair of Los Angeles County PrEP and PEP Work Group (LACPPWG), partnering with advocates, stakeholders, community based organizations, and HIV services organizations to collectively advocate for equitable access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in Los Angeles County.

Thomas Davis grew up in Estes Park, Colorado after being adopted at birth. Throughout his childhood and teenage years, he took great interest in the arts. If it was dancing, singing, or acting he loved to do it. Since Estes Park is a very small town he usually was the only boy to be so involved in performing. He moved to Los Angeles California in 2010 to attend AMDA College and Conservatory of the Arts where he received his BFA in Performing Arts Dance Theater in 2013. At the start of his final semester he was diagnosed with HIV. Realizing he didn’t know a lot about HIV Davis did his best to educate himself and realized things were going to be okay. After not seeing very many stories from MSM of color speaking out about their experiences he decided to share his own story with the hopes that others would do the same. He did this in the form of a video. Over a period of 2-3 months he filmed himself talking about his experience as someone who was newly living with HIV. He then started to get involved with the different organizations in Los Angeles so that he could learn more about HIV prevention and what he could do to combat stigma and ignorance.

Karla Brito, has a Master of Public Health in Health Education from California State University, Northridge and has extensive experience working in prevention including HIV, alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.  She has worked both with youth/adult patients and health service providers, and she has experience managing coalitions and sub-committees with a focus on preventing high risk-taking behavior in the community.  She has worked under County contracts and State funded grants, including a DPH California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) whose goal was to integrate tobacco prevention in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) settings both at the individual and public policy level. She is currently working at Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc., a non-profit organization, as a Program Coordinator for PrEP4Life funded by the Office of AIDS. PrEP4Life is a collaborative made up of five agencies in Los Angeles County: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, Valley Community Healthcare, Northeast Valley Health Corporation, and Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc.  The PrEP4Life collaborate conducts PrEP awareness and education to communities through outreach, Public Health detailing, PrEP referrals/linkages, and maintaining a presence in social media. On March 2017 she was elected to be one of two Co-Chairs for the Los Angeles County PrEP and PEP Work Group where multiple agencies and community members in Los Angeles County meet to discuss topics around PrEP.

Blossom C. Brown is a Trans-health advocate, HIV/AIDS activist, Actress, Producer, Motivational Speaker, and Community activist. Born in Greenwood, Mississippi and raised in Jackson, Ms she has longed to help her community.   She graduated from Mississippi University for Women with her Bachelors of Science degree in Public Health Education and is the first transwoman of color to graduate from the university. Her story got national attention when she appeared in Season 1 of Caitlyn Jenner’s docuseries “I Am Cait” and on The Ellen Show in which she teamed up with Caitlyn to give her $20,000 to go towards her education. She currently is living in Los Angeles, balancing the many hats she has to wear all while helping fight of empowering sexual health.

Phyllis Richardson is currently a PrEP Navigator and Certified HIV Tester and Counselor for Friends Research Institute. In that role she has assisted and linked over 170 Transgender Females and MSM who suffer from homelessness, mental health issues and sex workers overcome barriers that might have prevented them in the past from linking to PrEP care, as well as Primary and Mental Health care. Phyllis’s goal is to see that Adherence and Retention is continually maintained for all PrEP users.

Phyllis Richardson is currently a PrEP Navigator and Certified HIV Tester and Counselor for Friends Research Institute. In that role she has assisted and linked over 170 Transgender Females and MSM who suffer from homelessness, mental health issues and sex workers overcome barriers that might have prevented them in the past from linking to PrEP care, as well as Primary and Mental Health care. Phyllis’s goal is to see that Adherence and Retention is continually maintained for all PrEP users.

Dr. Moore is the Acting Medical Director for the Division of HIV and STD Programs (DHSP) at Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. In this role, he works to expand access to HIV and STD prevention tools, such as pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis and patient delivered partner therapy.  Dr. Moore is a practicing STD physician at North Hollywood Community Health Services clinic. He is a medical graduate of Morehouse School of Medicine, completed primary care internal medicine residency at Yale University School of Medicine, and recently completed his Masters of Science in Health Policy and Management at University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Moore was recently featured on NBC News “PRIDE 30” list in honor of LGBT people making a difference in the community. He was also recently interviewed by HIV Plus magazine for an article entitled “Meet the Doctor Changing How Black Gay/Bisexual Men View PrEP”.

Traci Bivens-Davis has over 20 years of dedicated service to extending HIV Prevention and Care services in marginalized communities. She is the former Engagement Coordinator for REACH LA where she collaborated with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health clinics to engage youth surviving with HIV into clinical care. As the former, Director of HIV Prevention Services for Common Ground, where she pioneered rapid testing programs, extended youth-based programs and implemented harm reduction street-based homeless outreach and syringe exchange services. Currently, she is the Training and Events Manager for Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County (CCALAC). In that role she acts as a liaison to oversee the development, coordination, and integration of training and events targeting CCALAC members.

Bryan Fiallos comes with four years of PrEP Navigation skills. Two of those years were spent working in East LA helping Undocumented Monolingual Spanish speakers gain access to PrEP. During this time Bryan also co-created LA County’s first PrEP Navigator summit to support the first wave of PrEP Navigators in Los Angeles County. Bryan also co-created and co-chaired LA County PrEP/PEP Navigator and Educators workgroup. Shortly after Bryan also began at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles helping adolescent’s ages 13-24 gain access to PrEP. Bryan now works at Lifelong in Seattle, Washington where he provides Bi-Lingual PrEP Navigation services where he hopes to create an increase in PrEP uptake with Latino’s.

James Wen is a Steering Committee Member for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization. HRC envisions a world where people including LGBTQ people are ensured their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.  James also serves on the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board and is the Housing and Homelessness Chair with the Los Angeles Transgender Advisory Council. He is a member of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, and advocates for transgender visibility in secular communities.  James has worked with trans-youth in rural Nevada, and is a parent to a college-bound son.

Jamar Moore is the Biomedical HIV Prevention Outreach Coordinator for the Division of HIV and STD Programs (DHSP) at Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, contracted with Entercom Communications Los Angeles. In this role, Moore serves as communication liaison between clients and providers for Prevention Education and PrEP uptake in Communities of Color, especially advocating for the LGBTQ Community. Serving as a PrEP Navigator, advocate for HIV/AIDS equality and having a true passion to serve youth to mid-aged adults, Moore sits on many Community Advisory Boards (CABs) throughout the County, serve on the leadership team for the Black PrEP Caucus (BPC) and is a valued member of the Los Angeles County PrEP/PEP workgroup(LACPPWG) and Los Angeles County PrEP Educator and Navigator workgroup (LACPEN). He has dedicated the last few years working heavily with the trans-gender community where he sits on committees advocating for trans-rights and gender non-conforming identities with helping oversee a social community Facebook page Trans in LA (TiLA) and a member of the  Transgender Service  Provider Network (TSPN).

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