NEW YORK, Dec. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is pleased to announce that Dr. Alex Godwin Coutinho has taken over the role of Chair of its Board of Directors, and U.S. Ambassador Eric Goosby and the Rt. Hon. the Lord Fowler have become new members of the Board.
Dr. Coutinho is a driving force in the global fight against HIV/AIDS in his personal life and professional career. As Executive Director of the Infectious Diseases Institute in Kampala and, previously, at The AIDS Support Organization (TASO), he has helped ensure access to life-saving HIV services for tens of thousands of people. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Government of Japan's 2013 Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize for Medical Services, alongside Dr. Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, founding Executive Director of UNAIDS, and a prior IAVI Board member. Dr. Coutinho joined IAVI's Board in December 2008, and has been serving as Chair of its Compensation Committee and a member of the Audit/Finance Committee. He succeeds Paul H. Klingenstein, Managing Partner of Aberdare Ventures, who served as IAVI Board Chair for five years and continues to serve as a member of the Board.
"An AIDS vaccine represents the most strategic investment we can make to end the AIDS epidemic," said Dr. Coutinho, "and I commit to work with all people and institutions dedicated to this cause."
Ambassador Goosby recently completed a four-and-a-half-year term as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. Under his leadership, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan on AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) significantly expanded its HIV program around the world. Ambassador Goosby's extensive experience with HIV/AIDS began with treating patients at San Francisco General Hospital when AIDS first emerged, and has ranged to engagement at the highest levels of policy leadership. As the first Director of the Ryan White Care Act at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, he also helped develop HIV/AIDS delivery systems in the United States.
"The ability to achieve an AIDS-free generation will only be realized with the development of an effective HIV vaccine," said Ambassador Goosby. "The work of IAVI and its partners remains critical to achieving and sustaining control of the global epidemic."
Lord Fowler is a UK parliamentarian with a long and distinguished track record of galvanizing public support for AIDS prevention. As Secretary of State for Health and Social Security under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, he launched the UK's first official AIDS awareness drive, the "Don't Die of Ignorance" campaign. He chaired the House of Lords Select Committee on HIV/AIDS and is currently vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS, an ambassador for the National AIDS Trust, and a patron of the British HIV Association and the Terrence Higgins Trust.
"The importance of developing a vaccine is fundamental. If we could achieve that, it would be a massive breakthrough," said Lord Fowler. "It would cut through the prejudice that prevents people coming forward for testing. It would also avoid the difficulties and expense of a lifetime's treatment on drugs."
"Alex Coutinho's service and unwavering dedication have made him a role model for an entire generation of HIV service-providers in Africa and around the world," said IAVI President and CEO Margie McGlynn. "Eric Goosby has brought the experience and compassion of many years as a clinician to his leading role in the United States' domestic and international response to HIV/AIDS. Lord Fowler pioneered the UK's response to AIDS, and has helped shape a global health agenda that emphasizes the importance of defeating AIDS and the promise of a preventive vaccine. Their vision and experience will add powerful guidance and support to the quest to ensure the development of a vaccine to help end AIDS.
"We also extend our heartfelt thanks to Paul Klingenstein for his invaluable counsel and supportive leadership during his term as Board Chair."
IAVI Board members comprise experts from more than 10 countries with a broad range of distinguished experience in healthcare, finance, vaccinology, clinical research, international development, and academia.
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. Founded in 1996, IAVI works with private companies, academics and civil society partners in 25 countries to research, design and develop AIDS vaccine candidates. In addition, IAVI conducts policy analyses and serves as an advocate for the AIDS vaccine field. IAVI supports a comprehensive approach to addressing HIV and AIDS that balances the expansion and strengthening of existing HIV-prevention and treatment programs with targeted investments in the design and development of new tools to prevent HIV. IAVI is dedicated to ensuring that a future AIDS vaccine will be available and accessible to all who need it. IAVI relies on the generous donations from governments, private individuals, corporations and foundations to carry out its mission. For more information, please visit www.iavi.org.
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SOURCE International AIDS Vaccine Initiative