Due to negative changes in funding authority under the Ryan White program, the Ohio AIDS Coalition (OAC) will be reorganizing and charting a new chapter in its role as the voice of state policy and advocacy leadership on HIV and AIDS in Ohio. This isn’t the first time in OAC’s long history – and it won’t be its last – that OAC has had to adapt to the financial environment.
Unfortunately, as a result of the changes that limit use of Ryan White funding for programs such as OAC, the services provided by OAC are no longer allowable expenses under the Ryan White Part B program. As such the current program will be funded through March 2017.
Founded in 1986 by a group of individuals, OAC has had a long history of advocacy for Ohio’s HIV-positive community. 2011 brought a changing landscape for the organization, as OAC began to shift its focus from client outreach toward community education, engagement, and leadership. Under the leadership of Kevin Sullivan, the board of directors continued critical discussions about the sustainability of OAC and voted to begin conversations with AIDS Resource Center Ohio (ARC Ohio) as a safeguard for the continued advocacy and education that OAC provides for Ohio’s consumers. In August, 2011 ARC Ohio’s board of directors voted unanimously to carry out a full merger with OAC, with ARC Ohio serving as the continuing legal entity. The merger of OAC and ARC Ohio brought a stronger voice to the clients and constituents served here in Ohio. As a combined organization, advocacy and fundraising were enhanced, thus permitting continuance of the OAC vision of Hope, Healing, and Empowerment.
OAC’s programs and services continued under the umbrella of ARC Ohio (now Equitas Health), which provided administrative, and program support. Kevin believed that this move would strengthen long-term sustainability and enhance services. His decision has safeguarded the continued advocacy and education that OAC provides for Ohio’s consumers, and mobilized an even stronger advocacy and public policy voice.
OAC has grown tremendously over the years; the impact that OAC has had on lives has reached thousands throughout Ohio communities.
Equitas Health leadership will explore new strategies and structures to continue the advocacy and policy services for Ohioans with HIV.
Please stay tuned for more information.
Director of Ohio AIDS Coalition,
Chief Public Policy & Government Affairs Officer at Equitas Health