On Tuesday, February 5th, 20 individuals from around the State gathered to participate in AIDS Watch Ohio, a biennial statewide advocacy day that has historically been produced by the Ohio AIDS Coalition. The program consisted of a morning training, working lunch, legislative visits, and a debriefing session. New this year was a legislative reception following the program.
Participants included ARC Ohio staff from the Toledo, Mansfield, and Columbus offices, consumers from Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, OAC staff, and a funding and advocacy partner from Northeast Ohio. ARC Ohio’s executive management members, housing director, and case managers participated in both the training and legislative visits.
Teams of participants met with various Ohio House and Senate members including House and Senate leadership, Chair of the Finance Committee, and other ranking officials in the Health Committee. Participants also presented the Spirit of Healing Awards to Representatives Mike Duffey and John Patrick Carney and to Senators Frank LaRose and Michael Skindell. The Award was bestowed on behalf of ARC Ohio for their support during the JCARR proceedings this past summer as well as their commitment to Ohio’s HIV/AIDS community. Award recipients and all members were invited to the legislative reception later that evening.
Because the program’s objective was to build relationships with policymakers, the discussions usually surrounded creating awareness of AIDS Resource Center Ohio and the services it provides. Participants educated their legislators about ARC Ohio’s new direction post-merger, its new medical center and pharmacy, and its policy priorities. Other conversations included information on the latest HIV/AIDS surveillance data and how ARC Ohio has adopted the treatment cascade as their model for service provision and prevention efforts. Legislators were encouraged to contact the ARC policy team with questions about HIV/AIDS or any related policy issues in the coming year.
Check out some of these photographs from a successful year at AIDS Watch 2013! Pictures courtesy of Kyle Stein.