Welcome, BTAN Charlotte!
The latest chapter of the Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN) is geared up for success! BTAN Charlotte had its official launch and 3-day training July 15-17, 2015 with representatives from partnering organizations including: the Mecklenburg County Health Department, Carolinas Care, Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN), Novant Health and BTAN Charlotte’s host agency, The PowerHouse.
BTAN is the only collaboration of its kind that links Black Americans with HIV into care and treatment, strengthens local and national leadership, connects influential peers, raises HIV science and literacy in Black communities with a the goal to cultivate and support a national network.
Black AIDS Institute Board Chair Grazell Howard is excited to have BTAN in her city. “ I’ve fought for this!” she says with excitement. “I’ve been connected to the Institute for a long time; Phill [Wilson, Founder and CEO] knows that I’ve been pushing for BTAN presence for nearly just as long!”
To announce BTAN Charlotte to community, the chapter had its welcome reception in the heart of downtown Charlotte at the New Gallery of Modern Art. “I’m so glad to be able to!” says Director Irina Toshkova when asked how she felt about hosting at her venue, reinforcing part of BTAN’s mission to collaborate.
Dr. Ophelia E. Garmon-Brown, who serves a vice president of community and business partnerships for Novant Health, also realizes the importance of BTAN in Charlotte. “We see what’s happening in our city and our county. Of course, we are making efforts to address [the local epidemic], but just like any effort, it is made stronger through partnership; this is why we are so thrilled to have BTAN [Charlotte].”
“How can I help?” echoes Health Director of Mecklenburg County, Dr. Marcus Plescia, during a very engaging community conversation with Charlotte leaders in HIV. “There is some real opportunity to support and where those opportunities are, I want to support,” he says of BTAN Charlotte.
The Black AIDS Institute understands the necessity of collaboration for a successful BTAN, and the City of Charlotte does as well! With strong advocates, BTAN Charlotte is uniquely positioned to influence and change the impact of HIV by developing a strategic action plan that responds to the HIV/AIDS science, treatment, policy and advocacy needs of the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
For more information about BTAN Charlotte or how to get involved with your local BTAN, visit www.blackaids.org.