Director of Health Law and Policy Clinic Named to White House HIV/AIDS Council

Robert Greenwald with other members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) at the White House.

Robert Greenwald (bottom right) and other distinguished members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) meet at the White House.

Robert Greenwald, Managing Director of the WilmerHale Legal Services Center at HLS, was appointed on Feb. 1 to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). PACHA provides advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the President regarding programs and policies intended to promote effective care, treatment, and prevention of HIV disease, and to advance research on HIV disease and AIDS.

In a statement announcing Greenwald and the other members of PACHA, President Barack Obama said, “We often speak about HIV/AIDS as if it’s only going on somewhere else, but we face a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic in America. That’s why last year my administration began crafting a new National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Today, I’m pleased to have a new group of experts joining PACHA; and I look forward to hearing from the council about our continued efforts to prevent the spread of HIV infections in the United States and to provide care and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS around the world.”

PACHA consists of 25 members and includes prominent community leaders with particular expertise in matters concerning HIV and AIDS, public health, global health, business, and other aspects of society. Members are appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. “These new members also represent the best of America,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, adding that she looked forward to their “strategic guidance” in helping HHS develop and implement a national HIV/AIDS strategy.

Greenwald, a national expert on legal issues related to HIV/AIDS who directs the Legal Services Center’s Health Law and Policy Clinic, said, “It is an honor to be asked to serve on PACHA and to have the opportunity to work with the other appointees and the Obama Administration on the development and implementation of a national AIDS strategy that addresses, among other issues, HIV care, prevention and research needs.”

Greenwald, who also serves as co-chair of the Federal HIV Health Care Access Working Group, a national coalition of advocates working to improve access to quality care for people living with HIV/AIDS, added, “In the Harvard Law School Health Law and Policy Clinic, we have served thousands of people living with HIV and AIDS over the past twenty years. We know that dramatic unmet need exists across this country, and I look forward to participating in efforts to define the future direction of the nation’s response to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

In 1987, Greenwald launched HLS’s AIDS Law Clinic (now the Health Law and Policy Clinic), the nation’s first law school-based legal services program serving low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. Since then, he has worked with hundreds of HLS students as the Clinic has provided direct legal services to thousands of HIV-positive client in a broad range of substantive areas of law. Through the Clinic, Greenwald leads many state and national health law and policy projects aimed at removing barriers to care and treatment for poor and low-income people living with HIV and other chronic medical conditions.

At HLS, he teaches Family, Domestic Violence and LGBT Law: Litigating in the Family Courts, as well as the clinical workshop Health, Disability and Estate Planning: Law and Policy. Last year, he received the HLS Lambda Leadership Award at the organization’s annual conference on legal advocacy issues for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

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