San Francisco AIDS Foundation has appointed Dr. Robert Grant as its first-ever chief medical officer, the nonprofit announced Thursday (March 6).
Grant, who in 2012 was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for his HIV prevention work, will be a part-time staffer.
He will initially focus on SFAF’s creation of a health center for gay and bi men in the Castro that will combine testing, counseling, and other services. The nonprofit hopes to open the center, at 474 Castro Street, by the end of the year.
Despite Grant’s leadership position, the AIDS foundation, which is the city’s largest AIDS-related nonprofit and offers six-figure salaries to many staffers, refused to share his salary. He’ll continue his affiliation with Gladstone, which SFAF spokesman Ryan McKeel described as “one of the foremost HIV centers in the world.”
Grant wasn’t immediately available for comment, but in an SFAF news release, he said, “On average, there is more than one person newly diagnosed with HIV every day in San Francisco. Despite our incredible progress against the disease, that statistic has remained steady in recent years. We have many new and attractive ways to prevent HIV infection, and the tech revolutions give us insights into how social and cultural change occurs.”
He said he’s looking forward to working with SFAF’s “community, industry, and university partners to end the transmission of HIV and find a cure.”
Time recognized Grant for his clinical trial “that was the first to demonstrate the efficacy of pre-exposure prophylaxis,” or PrEP, for HIV prevention, according to the AIDS foundation.
Neil Giuliano, the nonprofit’s CEO, said in the news release, “We are pleased to have someone of Bob’s caliber joining our senior staff and helping us realize our vision of making San Francisco the first U.S. city to end the transmission of HIV. … Some of the most significant scientific advances in HIV prevention in recent years can be directly attributed to his work. His new role at the foundation will greatly advance our work in the Castro and mid-Market neighborhoods, and help establish a new model for HIV prevention and care to be studied and applied in similar hard-hit communities.”
Grant is the protocol chair for the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Initiative (iPrEx) clinical trial, a study with 11 research sites in six countries. The trial was critical to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Truvada for PrEP in 2012.
His lab is also leading research in the biological and social implications of PrEP, such as the immune response, according to the AIDS foundation.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) stated, “Dr. Grant will be an exceptional addition to the team at San Francisco AIDS Foundation, where some of our nation’s most effective and impactful initiatives to fight HIV have begun. Now more than ever we must employ the most innovative tools and strategies to reduce new infections and ensure access to high-quality care. I am confident that Dr. Grant’s enormous talent will help the foundation make an even greater impact in communities most impacted by the disease.”
The Bay Area Reporter will have more about SFAF’s health center in the Castro in the Thursday, March 13 edition.