South Florida Hospital News
Monday August 19, 2019

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March 2007 - Volume 3 - Issue 9




CAEAR Coalition and South Florida AIDS Service Organizations Honors Community Leaders

CAEAR Coalition, a national non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of HIV/AIDS Service Programs that receive funding through the Ryan White CARE Act, held its 6th Annual Partnership Awards Dinner on Monday, December 4, at The Palms South Beach Hotel in Miami Beach.

With local partners Miami Beach Community Health Center and Care Resource, the event honored committed individuals and organizations who are leaders in the fight against AIDS, including U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Marvin O’Quinn, President of the Public Health Trust and CEO of Jackson Health System; WSVN news anchor Craig Stevens; and the law firm Akerman Senterfitt..

"We are delighted to host this national event in South Florida," said CAEAR Coalition board member and Miami Beach Community Health Center executive member Orlando Taquechel. "Our 2006 honorees are a tribute to the ongoing fight against AIDS and the need to seek continued funding for vital service programs."

(l-r) Orlando Taquechel, CAEAR Coalition Board Member and Miami Beach Community Health Center Executive; Kathryn Abatte, President & CEO of Miami Beach Community Health Center; Harriet Carter, Staff for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; and Steve Marcus, President of Health Foundation of South Florida.

One award recipient, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen has been a strong advocate for individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. She has worked to increase funding for the Ryan White CARE Act and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program; partnered with gay health organizations in pressuring the Bush administration to keep GLBT health issues in the Healthy People 2010 initiative; and has been a strong supporter of the Ethical Treatment of HIV Act, which is currently pending in Congress. She is the lead co-sponsor of the Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005, which was signed into law in November 2005. This legislation seeks to help children orphaned by AIDS. Ros-Lehtinen was also outspoken in her support for Miami-Dade's gay rights ordinance when right-wing groups sought to repeal it in 2002. She also supports repealing the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy which prevents homosexuals from openly serving in the military. She has been honored by the National Coalition for LGBT Health and by numerous other AIDS and gay advocacy organizations.

"Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been a tireless supporter of increasing federal funds for the fight against AIDS and she has been vocal in her support for the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS," said CAEAR Coalition board member and Care Resource executive director Rick Siclari.

Another award recipient, Marvin O’Quinn, as President of the Public Health Trust and CEO of Jackson Health System, is responsible for a countywide network of healthcare services that consists of neighborhood primary care centers, hospitals, mobile units, school-based health clinics and more. Since July 2003, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that Miami-Dade residents, including those living with HIV/AIDS, have access to quality healthcare. Under his leadership, he has supported AIDS prevention education and other initiatives that assist the population affected by HIV/AIDS.

Award recipient WSVN news anchor Craig Stevens has been an avid supporter of AIDS Walk Miami for the past four years. His participation has been a part of the successful walk, which draws more than 15,000 participants and raises a significant amount of funds for local AIDS care programs. Following his lead, WSVN became the official media sponsor of AIDS Walk Miami in 2005. Stevens will also be recognized for his commitment to reporting on HIV/AIDS issues and for his support of the Stonewall Street Festival and Parade in Wilton Manors.

Award recipient Akerman Senterfitt and attorney Richard Milstein have been the top corporate and individual fundraisers for AIDS Walk Miami. Milstein has served as event chair for the AIDS Walk and he founded a volunteer lawyer program for individuals with HIV/AIDS, as part of a joint pro bono project of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit and the Dade County Bar Association. In addition, Akerman Senterfitt has done pro bono work for Shelbourne House, a non-profit agency that provides housing and social services to HIV positive individuals, and for the AIDS Ministry.

The awards dinner was held in conjunction with the CAEAR Coalition Business Meeting, and drew health planners, people living with HIV/AIDS, non-profit staffers, city and county officials, medical professionals, and other advocates from around the country to discuss the coming year’s advocacy plan in support of the Ryan White CARE Act.

"We were very honored and pleased to partner with this incredible organization and help host this event here in Miami Beach," stated Kathryn Abbate, CEO of Miami Beach Community Health Center, which operates several health centers in Miami Beach and the area and provides services to all in the community regardless of their ability to pay, including those with HIV/AIDS. "We commend these award recipients for their efforts, as well as the members of the CAEAR Coalition and others who continue to give of their time and efforts in this cause," stated Ms. Abbate.

CAEAR Coalition is a national grassroots organization advocating on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS who rely on Title I, Title III and the Title II AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) of the Ryan White CARE Act for primary health care and support services. The CARE Act is the nation’s largest discretionary program for people living with HIV/AIDS and supports direct service programs in medically underserved communities in urban and rural communities across the U.S. For more information, visit
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