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June 25, 2002

AVAC Announces Appointment of New Director of Education and Outreach

NEW YORK - The Ford Foundation today announced a $250,000 grant over two years to the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC). Founded in 1995, AVAC is a community and consumer-based advocacy organization working to accelerate ethical development and delivery of AIDS vaccines to populations throughout the world.

AVAC also announced the appointment of Edd Lee as the new Director of Education and Outreach. Mr. Lee is currently the Associate Director of Prevention Services at Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center in San Francisco. He will start in his new role with AVAC in July.

"Community engagement is essential to moving AIDS vaccine research forward," said Chris Collins, Executive Director at AVAC. "From pushing governments and industry to accelerate research, to monitoring the ethics of clinical trials, to insisting on rapid global access to vaccines, members of AIDS-affected communities have an important role to play. We thank the Ford Foundation for their support of this important work." Resources provided by the Ford Foundation will help fund a variety of community outreach and mobilization activities designed to inform and engage communities on AIDS vaccine research.

"Community participation and trust is crucial to the development of AIDS vaccines," said Edd Lee, AVAC's new Director of Education and Outreach. "I am thrilled AVAC and the Ford Foundation are committed to community inclusion in AIDS vaccine development and I am proud to become a part of this effort. Many communities in the United States and around the world are concerned about past abuses in medical research and limited access to the benefits of health research. Community members need to be involved to assure ethical conduct of studies, protection of clinical trial participants, and equitable access to AIDS vaccines when they become available."

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant making organization. For more than half a century it has been a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide, guided by its goals to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia.

AVAC is a watchdog, education and advocacy organization that has become a leading national voice on AIDS vaccines. The organization is coordinating a Vaccine Community Session on July 11, 2002 as part of the upcoming International AIDS Conference in Barcelona. AVAC is supported by grants from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Until There's a Cure Foundation, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Gill Foundation, and contributions from many individuals.