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Rios-Ellis Attends White House Reception for HIV/AIDS Community

Published: August 16, 2010

Britt Rios-Ellis, a professor of health science at CSULB, recently attended an invitation-only reception at the White House to honor the work of the HIV/AIDS community.

The reception, held on July 13th, coincided with the Obama Administration’s unveiling of a new national HIV/AIDS strategy, which focuses on reducing infections and increasing access to care.

“It was a wonderful reception,” said Rios-Ellis, who noted that there were about 150 invitees to the reception. “I was very honored to have been invited and to have the opportunity to work with staff from President Obama’s Office of National AIDS Policy.”

The reception featured an address by President Barack Obama and some face-to-face time for Rios-Ellis with U.S. Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius.

“We are hoping that as the United States prepares to host the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. after President Obama lifted the travel ban, that we will have increased opportunities to contribute to national strategy regarding HIV prevention within Latino communities,” Rios-Ellis explained.

As the director of the NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training, she and her staff have several projects focused on HIV prevention within Latino communities and community-based organizations throughout the United States.

“We have a long track record of facilitating the development of community capacity through community based participatory research to prevent HIV and promote testing among underserved Latino communities,” said Rios-Ellis, who is also one of three elected co-chairs of the National Latino AIDS Action Network.

Professor of Health Science Attends White House Reception for HIV/AIDS Community

Britt Rios-Ellis (r) at The White House with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius (c) and National Latino AIDS Action Network co-chair Francisco Ruiz.

“Latinos in communities throughout the U.S. often lack access to health care and information that is culturally and linguistically relevant,” she continued. “Getting the word out in a culturally relevant manner is crucial to assure effective HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and access to care.”

While Rios-Ellis enjoyed the reception, she didn’t have too much time to revel in it. She left Washington, D.C. that night to conduct a peer educator training session for Latino HIV/AIDS community health workers the next morning in Long Beach before catching another flight to Vienna that night to attend the World AIDS Conference as part of a group sponsored by the NIH Office of AIDS Research.

–Rick Gloady