The White House today announced that President Obama is naming Dr. Grant Colfax as the new director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). Colfax was most recently the director of the HIV Prevention Section in the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
"Grant Colfax will lead the my Administration's continued progress in providing care and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS," Obama said in a statement. "Grant's expertise will be key as we continue to face serious challenges and take bold steps to meet them. I look forward to his leadership in the months and years to come."
In a statement, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said, "The announcement that Dr. Grant Colfax will serve as the New Director of President Obama's Office of National AIDS Policy brings enormous pride to many San Franciscans and prestige to our city's efforts to increase prevention, ensure treatment, and support research."
Colfax, according to the White House, will coordinate the continuing efforts of the government to reduce the number of HIV infections across the United States. A part of the White House Domestic Policy Council, ONAP emphasizes prevention through wide-ranging education initiatives and helps to coordinate the care and treatment of citizens with HIV/AIDS.
According to the White House, ONAP coordinates with the National Security Council and the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, and works with international bodies to ensure that America's response to the global pandemic -- including the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) -- is fully integrated with other prevention, care, and treatment efforts around the world.
Colfax is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed his medical residency at the University of California, San Francisco. According to the White House, his work focuses on collaborating with community stakeholders to implement sustainable, evidence-based HIV prevention and treatment interventions and policies in public health settings and measuring their effectiveness.
Of his work in San Francisco, Pelosi said, "As Director of the HIV Prevention Section in the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Grant has been essential in ensuring a decline in new HIV infections. With experience as a health care practitioner, researcher, and public policy thinker, Grant is uniquely suited to lead the lifesaving efforts of the Office of National AIDS Policy. He has pioneered groundbreaking, evidence-based prevention strategies, such as monitoring and mapping 'community viral load' for decreasing new HIV infections."
[Photo: Colfax (Photo via University of California-San Francisco.)]