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Emily Bass, Program Director
Jacqueline Borodan, Program Assistant
Wanda Buckner, Senior Finance Manager
Manju Chatani, Senior Program Manager
Emily de Lacy Donaldson, Program Manager
Cindra Feuer, Senior Communications and Policy Advisor
Kevin Fisher, Policy Director
Elizabeth Gardiner, Director of Product Introduction and Access
Deirdre Grant, Senior Program Manager
Stacey Hannah, Senior Program Manager
Polly Harrison, Senior Advisor
Micky Hingorani, Program Manager
Micheal Osabohien Ighodaro, Program and Policy Assistant
Angelo Kaggwa-Katumba, Program Manager
Laura Lazar, Research Assistant/Data Analyst
Kay Marshall, Senior Communications Advisor
Jessica Salzwedel, Program Coordinator
Sean Sappleton, Accounting Assistant
Marie Semmelbeck, Director of Finance and Administration
Heeyoung Sohn, Communications Program Assistant
Mitchell Warren, Executive Director
Alysha White, Finance Coordinator

Emily Bass

Program Director

Emily joined AVAC in 2005 and has been Program Director since 2008. She coordinates all publications and oversees overall program design and implementation. Emily's experience includes more than a decade of work as an HIV/AIDS science writer and advocate with a focus on issues related to women, HIV and sexual and reproductive health. Her writing has appeared in Ms., Out, Salon, POZ, the amfAR Treatment Insider, HIV Plus and the Lancet magazines. From 2001 to 2004, she was senior writer at the IAVI Report, the newsletter of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). She has spent nearly a decade following the response to HIV/AIDS in Uganda; from October 2004 through November 2005, Emily was a Fulbright Scholar there and is currently working on a book about AIDS, Africa and American money.

Jacqueline Borodan

Program Assistant

Jacqueline joined AVAC in the fall of 2012 as the Office Assistant. She provides administrative support to AVAC staff. Prior to AVAC, Jacqueline was the Annual Giving Administrator for a blindness organization in New York City. Jacqueline received an Associates Degree in Business Administration from Berkeley College.

Wanda Buckner

Senior Finance Manager

Wanda is responsible for managing AVAC’s day-to-day accounting. In addition, she manages the administration of Human Resources and handles subrecipient Grants Management. She works with the Director of Finance and Administration to implement internal controls and to ensure organizational compliance with AVAC’s policies and procedures and donor requirements. She has over 25 years of accounting experience working with organizations in the non-for-profit and for-profits sectors. Prior to joining AVAC she worked for several years at the International Aids Vaccine Initiative within the Grants & Contract Unit of the Department of Finance and Administration, first as Grants and Contract Manager then as Grants and Contract Liaison. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the City University of New York Hunter College where she majored in Economics with a minor in Political Science.

Manju Chatani

Senior Program Manager

Manju joined AVAC in 2009 as Senior Program Manager focusing on partnership management and capacity strengthening. Currently, she oversees AVAC’s Advocacy Fellows Program, coordinates activities in building civil society capacity and preparedness for microbicides introduction and other interventions that could be important to women’s HIV prevention, and is also AVAC's liaison to several partner groups and collaborative projects. She was on the AVAC Board prior to joining the staff. Manju co-founded the African Microbicides Advocacy Group in 2003 which she coordinated till 2008. Prior to that, she worked with Health & Development Networks, an organization she co-founded, facilitating information-sharing amongst the international civil society involved in AIDS work. She has worked as community mobilizer in Ghana, programme manager in South Africa and Thailand, networking manager in Switzerland and a HIV case-manager in Hawaii. Her work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals and she has a Master's degree in Public Health.

Emily de Lacy Donaldson

Program Manager

Emily joined AVAC in 2011 as a Project Coordinator. She supports the annual resource tracking report of the HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Resource Tracking Working Group, biomedical HIV prevention clinical trials database management and AVAC's policy-related advocacy. Prior to joining AVAC, Emily worked as an Associate with Rabin Martin, a management consulting firm, on global HIV treatment access and maternal and child health initiatives. Emily also spent time in Chennai, India with the Positive Women Network (PWN+) as a Public Health Fellow of the American Jewish World Service and previously worked as a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow with NARAL Pro-Choice New York to successfully lobby for over-the-counter access to emergency contraception. She has an MPH in health policy and management from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and a BA in women's studies from Barnard College. She is an avid runner, who just finished her third marathon in 7th place.

Cindra Feuer

Senior Communications and Policy Advisor

Cindra is the Senior Communications and Policy Advisor at AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention. She co-manages its various advocacy programs in the US, Europe and Africa. She sits on the steering committee of IRMA (International Rectal Microbicide Advocates). Cindra has been reporting and writing on HIV/AIDS and its attendant issues for almost two decades. She held staff positions at both POZ and HIV Plus magazines, covering the pandemic both domestically and internationally. Cindra also worked with various groups including the Lesbian Avengers and Sex Panic!, a sexual activism group dedicated to pro-queer, pro-sex worker and anti-racist campaigns for sexual freedom in the age of AIDS.

Kevin Fisher

Policy Director

Kevin is the Policy Director of AVAC and focuses on new regulatory, legislative, financial and scientific approaches to accelerating the development of new HIV prevention options. He oversees the annual resource tracking reports from the HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Resource Tracking Working Group. He is co-chair of the Global AIDS Policy Partnership and the Research Working Group of the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the AIDS Treatment Activist Coalition and on the steering committee of the Global Health Technologies Coalition. Prior to joining AVAC, Kevin worked for over 20 years as a regulatory and transactional counsel, most recently as Senior Counsel with Covington & Burling. Previously he worked in a pro-bono capacity on drug and vaccine development and delivery issues for groups such as the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Global Development and the World Parkinson Congress. Kevin has a BA from Brown University in Urban Studies, a JD from New York University School of Law and a MSc in Epidemiology from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Elizabeth Gardiner

Director of Product Introduction and Access

Elizabeth Gardiner is a market expert and a 20+ year veteran of access to medicines and social marketing. Previously, Elizabeth was Vice President of Market Access for the TB Alliance where she led the department and developed market strategies for the regimens in the pipeline, working closely with pharmaceutical partners and donors. She led a successful effort to secure a UNTAID grant to address market inefficiencies in pediatric TB. Prior to that she registered and introduced five health product brands while working for PSI as Director of PSI/Uganda and the founding director of PSI’s Russia program. She also served as a Market Dynamics Expert on UNITAID’s Proposal Review Committee, and has worked in over 50 countries. Elizabeth has a BA from Harvard University and an MSc in Management from London Business School.

Deirdre Grant

Senior Program Manager

Deirdre joined AVAC in 2005 and has been a Senior Program Manager since 2011. She co-manages the US domestic advocacy leadership program (PxROAR), conducts trainings and capacity building activities and is part of the writing and editing team that produces AVAC materials. Her writing on HIV prevention research and implementation has appeared in publications such as GMHC and ACRIA’s Achieve newsletter and GMHC’s Treatment Issues. She is also a member of the US Women and PrEP Working Group and New York City PrEP Taskforce. Prior to joining AVAC Deirdre worked as an independent consultant in New York. She received a BA in Political Science from Bates College.

Stacey Hannah

Senior Program Manager

Stacey joined AVAC in 2011 as a Senior Program Manager with a focus on research literacy and capacity building. She manages AVAC's Good Participatory Practices program, and oversees training related activities of AVAC and its partners. Stacey has over twelve years of experience in HIV prevention research, which began in South Africa helping prepare the first HIV vaccine trial site in the country. Her experience has focused on country programming, preparedness, and advocacy for HIV prevention research and introduction of new interventions. She has served long-term posts in Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda. Before joining AVAC, she took a short break from the HIV world to develop and implement a research literacy program for the TB Alliance, a product-development-partnership for new TB drug regimens. Stacey has degrees in microbiology, nutrition, and chemistry from the University of Florida and an MHS in international health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. Stacey has completed two full marathons, and does not have plans for a third. Her home is in Brooklyn, New York.

Polly Harrison

Senior Advisor

Polly joined AVAC in January 2010 as a Senior Advisor and supports AVAC's work to monitor the prevention research field and mobilize political, financial and community support for prevention research. Polly founded and served as director of the Alliance for Microbicide Development from 1998 to 2010. She was Senior Program Officer and Director of International Health at the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, where she founded the Forum on HIV/AIDS Research and Forum on Emerging Infections. Prior to that, Polly spent two decades living and working in the developing world as a medical anthropologist, policy analyst, faculty member of the Development Studies Program, and Regional Social Science Advisor for USAID. She has sustained those commitments as a Governing Councilor of the American Public Health Association, Fellow of the American Anthropological Association, Adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies, member of the Board of the BioDesign Institute and the Scientific Advisory Group of CONRAD, and ad hoc membership on numerous advisory panels for the National Institutes of Health. Her undergraduate and graduate degrees are from Mount Holyoke College and the Catholic University of America, respectively.

Micky Hingorani

Program Manager

Micky joined AVAC in 2010 and serves as Project Manager. Among other tasks, he works on the organization's web presence (, and other specific campaign sites) and on Px Wire, our quarterly newsletter. Prior to this Micky was Web Strategist at The Opportunity Agenda, an organization working with social justice organizations and leaders to build the national will to expand opportunity in the United States. He also worked in print and digital communications at Doctors Without Borders. Micky received his bachelors degree from New York University and has a masters from Rutgers University.

Micheal Osabohien Ighodaro

Program and Policy Assistant

Micheal Ighodaro joined AVAC in the fall of 2014 as a Program and Policy Assistant. He supports AVAC’s program activities including maintaining contact with grantees and providing technical and administrative support for special projects and strategic initiatives. Micheal Ighodaro is a passionate advocate for LGBTI rights and HIV prevention. Originally from Nigeria, Micheal had to flee his country after he was attacked due to his sexual orientation and work. Prior to joining AVAC, Micheal worked in HIV prevention and care for the LGBTI community around Africa for many years. He has also worked with Housing Works and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in New York. Micheal is a member of several HIV/LGBT advocacy groups around Africa. He has spoken before the United Nations, the US Congress and State Department. His work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, New York Times and several UN news outlets. Micheal is currently a student of The City University of New York.

Angelo Kaggwa-Katumba

Program Manager

As Program Manager at AVAC, Angelo is responsible for providing technical and communications support to the AVAC team with a specific focus on expansion of activities and materials focused on building research literacy in communities affected by and involved with research. Angelo previously worked as the Communications Officer with the UVRI-IAVI HIV Vaccine Program in Uganda. The program is sponsored by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and has the Government of the Republic of Uganda as partner. In this role, he was responsible for communications, documentation, media relations, public relations, and development of education and communication materials. He was also the editor of the program's quarterly newsletter, The Uganda AIDS Vaccine Update. Angelo sits on the Governing Council for the Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU), and formerly worked as Assistant Public Relations Officer for The Mildmay Centre, a specialist HIV/AIDS treatment, care and training centre. Angelo holds a BA in Mass Communications from Makerere University (Uganda) and received his Masters in Public Health from New York University.

Laura Lazar

Research Assistant/Data Analyst

Laura joined AVAC in 2016. She supports the annual resource tracking report of the HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group and management of the biomedical HIV prevention clinical trials database. Prior to joining AVAC, Laura was an Allan Rosenfield Public Policy Fellow at amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. She has also worked as Program Associate at the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation and as National Program Coordinator at Music for Autism. She graduated from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health with her MPH in 2015 and also has a BA in Psychology and Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

Kay Marshall

Senior Communications Advisor

Kay is a senior advisor focusing on communications and media relations. She coordinates AVAC’s four international Communications Working Groups composed of staff from major HIV prevention research and advocacy organizations and funders focusing on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), microbicides, vaccines and volunatry medical male circumcision (VMMC). Kay also leads AVAC’s media relations in the US and globally, including media training and engagement with key African journalists. Kay has worked with a number of organizations on HIV and global health communications issues for more than two decades. She has degrees in English and Philosophy from Loyola University in New Orleans.

Jessica Salzwedel

Program Coordinator

Jessica joined AVAC in 2013 as Program Coordinator. She focuses on developing innovative tools for the AVAC/UNAIDS Good Participatory Practice Guidelines and supporting their implementation. Jessica also works closely with the research literacy database, both in its management and content development. Prior to joining the team Jessica worked at the NIH in the Division of AIDS as a bioethicist. At DAIDS she worked on community engagement ethics and became familiar with GPP. She holds degrees in Biology, Philosophy and Bioethics and like her coworkers enjoys distance running, completing several marathons.

Sean Sappleton

Accounting Assistant

Sean joined AVAC in the summer of 2014 as the Accounting Assistant. He assists with the day-to-day accounts payable function. Sean received a BS in 2009 from the University at Albany in Accounting. Sean has experience working in both the non-profit and for profit fields, where he previously was an Accounting Associate at a property management company.

Marie Semmelbeck

Director of Finance and Administration

Marie is AVAC's Director of Finance and Administration. She leads the finance and administration team, her responsibilities include AVAC's financial management and planning as well as the management of human resources and administration. She works closely with the Executive Director and the Board to implement AVAC's strategic plan and policies. Marie has over 20 years of experience in not-for-profit management. Prior to joining AVAC, she was the Director of Finance and Administration at International Trachoma Initiative in New York, leading the finance and administration department of an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of blinding trachoma in Africa and Asia. For five years, she was the Senior Advisor for Sustainability at the Catalyst Consortium, a USAID-funded consortium based in Washington, DC dedicated to the expansion of reproductive health services in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. In 1988, she started her career with IPPF/WHR where she held different positions including Senior Financial Advisor and provided technical assistance in finance, accounting and management to IPPF affiliates in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. She holds an MBA from Baruch College and speaks fluent French and Spanish.

Heeyoung Sohn

Communications Program Assistant

Heeyoung joined AVAC in the fall of 2014 as a communications program assistant. She works on AVAC’s web-based/social media presence and supports the communications working groups. Heeyoung has experience in vaccines, malaria and maternal and child health. She has worked in Indonesia and Nigeria. She holds a BA in international studies from Johns Hopkins University and a MPP from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Mitchell Warren

Executive Director

Mitchell has been the Executive Director of AVAC since 2004. He was previously the Senior Director for Vaccine Preparedness at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and also spent four years as Vice President and Director of International Affairs for The Female Health Company (FHC), the manufacturer of the female condom, where he directed efforts to design and implement reproductive health programs that integrate the female condom, and he led global advocacy efforts for expanded commitment to female-initiated prevention methods. Mitchell also spent six years at Population Services International (PSI) designing and implementing social marketing, communications and health promotion activities in Africa, Asia and Europe, including five years running PSI's project in South Africa. Mitchell is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); the board of directors of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise; the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH); the Scientific Programme Committee for the 2016 International AIDS Conference; and Maloto. Mitchell has degrees in English and History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied health policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Alysha White

Finance Coordinator

Alysha joined AVAC in the spring of 2010 as the Finance Assistant. She assists on a variety of projects and reports, as well as providing administrative and logistical support to AVAC staff. Prior to AVAC, Alysha was an administrative assistant for a art advisory and production firm in New York City. Alysha received a BA from SUNY College at Old Westbury in 2007 in American Studies and served as the president of the American Studies Club from 2006-2007.