Coordination/Community Planning

Office of Planning and Community Affairs

The Office of Planning and Community Affairs is the organizational unit responsible for ongoing, cross-programmatic policy development, strategic planning, budgetary and legislative analyses.  Duties include:

  • Policy development and analysis; development of policy options; provision of policy guidance and interpretation to AIDS Institute management and staff.
  • Development and analysis of legislation and regulations; overseeing implementation of legislation and regulations; convening stakeholders to gather input on the implementation of policy and regulations.
  • AIDS Institute-wide strategic planning and guidance for program-specific strategic planning, ensuring coordination and consistency with Office of Public Health, Department of Health (DOH), and national strategic plans.
  • Management of confidentiality policy and implementation in accordance with confidentiality legislation, including management of the AIDS Institute Special Investigation Unit, which provides policy interpretation and investigates complaints related to confidentiality.
  • Management, oversight, support and directing the deliberations of all planning and advisory bodies, including the New York State AIDS Advisory Council (AAC), the Interagency Task Force (IATF) on HIV/AIDS, and the New York State HIV Advisory Body (HAB).
  • Management of all special events, such as annual World AIDS Day events, including the Commissioner’s event in Albany and events in other regions.
  • Development and oversight of all forums, such as annual forums on disparities related to specific populations, including overseeing community and population-specific planning.
  • Facilitation of in-person and/or virtual community listening sessions.
  • Management of AIDS Institute work groups and committees, forum planning work groups, etc., including developing agenda, establishing priorities, and directing deliberations.
  • Representing the AIDS Institute in Office of Public Health and DOH work groups, including developing AIDS Institute input related to the work of such groups.
  • Development of AIDS Institute-wide publications, including gathering the input of all program areas and developing comprehensive documents.
  • Speech writing and development of presentations for the Director and executive staff of the AIDS Institute. 
  • Responding to requests from the Commissioner’s office and Department executive staff.

In addition, the Office of Planning and Community Affairs plays a central role in AIDS Institute activities related to Ending the Epidemic in New York State.  This effort involves ensuring that all persons living with HIV/AIDS are linked to and retained in care and treatment and are virally suppressed to improve their health and prevent transmission, that prevention activities are targeted to persons at risk, and that testing is expanded to identify persons who are unaware of their status and link them to care and treatment.  The goal of these initiatives is to reduce the number of annual new infections to the extent that we reach sub-epidemic levels.  This has involved and will continue to involve convening a wide variety of stakeholders to gather input, directing deliberations to achieve consensus, and developing statewide plans.  It also involves ensuring rapid responses to issues raised by the Governor’s office, DOH executive staff, and community representatives.  Ending the Epidemic in New York State involves all program areas of the AIDS Institute.  The Office of Planning and Community Affairs directs the efforts of all program areas in this regard and ensures the coordination of activities in all divisions, offices, and bureaus.

The Office of Planning and Community Affairs is physically and organizationally located within the AIDS Institute Executive Office.


Karen Hagos, MPH
Director, Office of Planning and Community Affairs
(518) 473-2903

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New York State AIDS Advisory Council

The New York State AIDS Advisory Council (AAC) was created in 1983 by Public Health Law, Article 27-E.  The AAC is responsible for advising the Commissioner of Health and the AIDS Institute and for making recommendations regarding the State’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

There are seventeen appointed Council members whose affiliations include educational and medical institutions; nonprofit organizations, including advocacy and service communities; legislators; and persons living with HIV/AIDS.  The Governor designates the Chairperson of the AAC.  No terms of office are specified in the authorizing legislation. AAC members receive no compensation for their services.

Council meetings are mandated to be held at least quarterly. Additional meetings may be called by the Chairperson. All meetings of the Council are open to the public.


Stephanie McHugh
Initiatives Manager
Office of Planning and Community Affairs
(518) 473-7542

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AIDS Advisory Council Ending the Epidemic (AAC ETE) Subcommittee

In June 2014, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a three-point plan to end AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by the end of 2020, the first pledge of its kind in the country. To do this, Governor Cuomo explained that “The end of the AIDS epidemic in New York State will occur when the total number of new HIV infections has fallen below the number of HIV-related deaths.”

The Governor appointed the Ending the Epidemic Task Force, made up of key stakeholders representing public and private industry and community leaders who are experts in the field of HIV/AIDS, publicly released the Ending the Epidemic Blueprint on April 29, 2015. Once the Blueprint was publicly released the Task Force disbanded and the NYS AIDS Advisory Council established the Ending the Epidemic Subcommittee. This Subcommittee meets every other month to assist with ongoing implementation of the Blueprint. The Subcommittee maintains ongoing communication with the full membership of the AAC and the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.


Leah Ariel Richberg
Program Coordinator I
Office of Planning and Community Affairs
(212) 417-4757

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New York State Interagency Task Force on HIV/AIDS

The Interagency Task Force on HIV/AIDS (IATF) is a multi-state agency task force dedicated to the prevention of HIV and to the care of persons living with HIV/AIDS in New York State. The Task Force provides an effective platform for networking and for sharing information to ensure that necessary services for persons affected by and living with HIV/AIDS are available within state agencies’ service areas and regulatory jurisdictions.

The Task Force was originally created by an Executive Order in 1983 to coordinate AIDS-related policies and activities among New York State agencies and to establish a working relationship with the New York State AIDS Advisory Council. Later, the Task Force was charged with several responsibilities, including identifying areas of service duplication, fragmentation, shortages and disparities, and with identifying and addressing emerging problem areas and for promoting efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Today, the Task Force has several goals, including promoting efficiency and cost-effectiveness through cross-agency collaboration projects by sharing resources to enhance and create new HIV-related services. In addition, the Task Force keeps members updated on HIV/AIDS-related issues and new state and national policies related to HIV and aging, disability, education, housing, health, mental health, developmental disabilities, employment, substance use, corrections and human rights.

The Task Force meets biannually and is chaired by the Director of the AIDS Institute. Membership includes the commissioners and directors, or their designees, of all state agencies that serve individuals or groups at risk for HIV/AIDS:

  • NYS Office for the Aging (NYSOFA)
  • NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS)
  • NYS Division of the Budget (DOB)
  • NYS Council on Children and Families (CCF)
  • NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)
  • NYS Commission of Correction (SCOC)
  • NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS)
  • NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS)
  • NYS Education Department (SED)
  • NYS Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER)
  • NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR)
  • NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH)
  • NYS Division of Human Rights (DHR)
  • NYS Department of Financial Services (DFS)
  • NYS Department of Labor (DOL)
  • NYS Department of Law (OAG)
  • NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH)
  • NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
  • NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV)
  • NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs (The Justice Center)
  • NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)
  • NYS Division of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
  • NYS Office of Victims Services (OVS)

In support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement of a three-point plan to end the epidemic and significantly decrease new HIV infections the NYS Department of Health AIDS Institute sought the input of IATF member agencies to gain knowledge of how state agencies support people living with HIV/AIDS.  Examples of planning efforts and collaborations to bring HIV to sub-epidemic levels using best practices of current or potential involvement include:

  • A continued partnership between DOCCS and the AIDS Institute to identify, test and treat inmates. 
  • The Justice Center’s Surrogate Decision-Making Committee program assisting those who lack the ability to make medical decisions including HIV testing.
  • DCJS promotion of NYS syringe program training for New York State law enforcement.
  • A continued partnership between NYSOFA and the AIDS Institute in developing best practices to working with older adults.
  • OPDV training on domestic violence and HIV/AIDS. 
  • OCFS provision of HIV prevention education and HIV testing access to youth entering care. 
  • SEDs ongoing development of evidence-based and medically accurate resources for schools to utilize in further assessing and identifying their local level needs related to bringing HIV/AIDS to sub-epidemic levels.
  • Partnerships to increase vocational and employment access for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Continued partnership with OASAS and SCOC on educational training and materials related to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
  • Development of the New York State Youth Sexual Health Plan, a guide to ensure that accurate sexual health information and quality health services are made available to all NYS youth, consistent with the NYSDOH Prevention Agenda.  The following agencies contributed to the development of the Plan:  
    • NYS Council on Children and Families
    • NYS Office of Children and Family Services
    • NYS Division of Criminal Justice
    • NYS Education Department
    • NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
    • NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
    • NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

In addition, several IATF member agencies served as ex-officio members of the Governor’s Ending the Epidemic Task Force (2014).  Ex-officio members shared pertinent information that assisted in the development and prioritization of recommendations for potential inclusion in the final Blueprint document.


Leah Ariel Richberg
Program Coordinator I
Office of Planning and Community Affairs
(212) 417-4757

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Community Mobilization Programs

The Community Mobilization Program (CMP) seeks to change the attitudes and behaviors of communities as they relate to HIV/STI/HCV prevention through the implementation of community mobilization, health education, policy awareness, and information sharing/dissemination.  The primary goal of the initiative is to build community wide knowledge and support to reduce HIV transmission, increase the percentage of people living with HIV who know their status, and link HIV-positive persons to care.   

Activities supported may include: increasing awareness; building community support for safer behaviors by influencing norms, attitudes and practices; providing priority communities with information about HIV/STI/HCV policy changes and local issues;  identifying gaps and community needs and collaborating with direct service providers to implement a strategic response; and establishing and/or working with local leadership networks and statewide planning bodies to mobilize the community around HIV/STI/HCV issues.  CMP-funded organizations engage in strategic communication and use the most appropriate messaging and communication channels (forums, social media, etc.) to achieve initiative objectives. 

Organizations focus on creating and sustaining a positive, supportive environment for individuals most impacted by the epidemic (e.g., HIV-positive, gay men and MSM, transgender individuals, persons who use drugs, heterosexual men and women who engage in high-risk behaviors, etc.).  CMP-funded organizations work closely with direct service providers and key stakeholders to ensure “local context” is incorporated into activities.  Activities are also aligned with key priority areas of the Division of HIV/STI/HCV Prevention as well as AIDS Institute priorities and are designed to promote Ending the Epidemic goals.

The expected community level outcomes are to reduce disease incidence, decrease the rate of HIV/STI/HCV transmission, increase the proportion of individuals who are aware of their status, facilitate access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV-negative individuals who engage in high-risk behaviors, and facilitate linkage of persons who are HIV-positive into HIV medical care, partner services, and behavioral interventions.


Nkechi Oguagha
Director, Office of Population Health and Prevention Programs
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention

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New York State HIV Advisory Body (HAB)

The New York State HIV Advisory Body (HAB) is an advisory body to the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.  It is constituted to provide recommendations and advise on service needs, affected populations and emerging issues related to HIV prevention, health care and supportive services throughout New York State. 

The HAB serves as a planning body to identify and address prevention and health care needs and gaps of HIV-positive/affected populations with an emphasis on linkage, retention, and viral suppression. 

The HAB Committees aim to put forth recommendations that: (1) advocate for equitable funding across populations ensuring the benefit from new programs and strategies is obtained by all; (2) provide the foundation that guides the development of future prevention and primary care program services and delivery targets that are responsive to population needs identified by the committee; (3) ensure that no group remains or becomes invisible; and (4) offers recommendations on local and state policies related to Ending the Epidemic-Blueprint, New York State Integrated Plan and other HIV related policy issues.    

The HAB maintains the following Committees:

Best Engagement Practices Committee

Identifies cutting edge health care issues and prevention/intervention strategies and recommendations related to needs and gaps to maximize effective HIV prevention, supportive services and services coordination of programs across all of New York State sectors and populations with an emphasis on identification of new cases, rapid linkage to care, retention and viral suppression.

Emerging Issues Committee

Identifies, examines, and provides information and recommendations related to developing trends about HIV prevention, health care and supportive services throughout New York State, and monitor national trends and changes that impact NYS.

Social Determinants of Key Populations Committee

Identifies key populations and communities (statewide and regionally) disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS and makes recommendations to address health disparities and social determinants of health that impact their overall health and well-being.

The HAB provides recommendations and advice on service needs, affected populations and emerging issues related to HIV prevention, health care and supportive services throughout New York State.  It identifies and addresses prevention and health care needs and gaps of HIV-positive/affected populations with an emphasis on linkage, retention, and viral suppression. 


Karen Bovell
Office of Planning and Community Affairs
(518) 473-2903

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Ending the Epidemic Regional Steering Committees

Thirteen (13) Ending the Epidemic (ETE) Regional Steering Committees have been created across New York State as part of the ETE efforts in New York State. The committees provide a forum to discuss and develop on-going ETE related efforts in the respective regions, eliminate duplication and enhance coordination among regional service providers and networks that includes New York Knows, NYLinks, faith-based initiatives, and other local initiatives, while inviting additional non-traditional partners to the process to address new and emerging regional issues. The functions of the committees include the following:

  • Conduct region-specific steering committee meetings that are open to the public.
  • Develop and implement action plans based on regional priority items.
  • Work collaboratively with regional networks and other organizations.
  • Share workplans, action plans or other organizational tools, and provide routine updates on progress to the AIDS Institute.
  • Participate in annual Regional ETE Chair and Co-Chair meetings to share information, best practices and review regional progress to date.

The ETE Regional Steering Committees are playing a crucial role in our efforts to meet 2020 goals and ensure ETE efforts remain a future priority.
For more information on ETE Regional Steering Committee meetings, please contact AIDS Institute liaisons below.


Upstate ETE Regional Steering Committees    
Karen Bovell, Regional Coordinator
Office of Planning and Community Affairs
(518) 473-2903

Downstate ETE Regional Steering Committees
Joan Edwards, Regional Coordinator
Executive Office
(212) 417-5500

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Faith Communities Project

Since early in the HIV epidemic, the AIDS Institute (AI) recognized the importance of involving diverse sectors of communities in HIV/AIDS prevention and care efforts. Because prevention programs must be broad-based, faith settings are ideal for the implementation of HIV programs serving hard-to-reach populations.

The Faith Communities Project (FCP) was developed in recognition of the significant role faith communities play in HIV/AIDS prevention and support/care efforts. The goal of the Faith Communities Project is to advance HIV prevention efforts in communities that are hardest-hit by the HIV epidemic through information sharing, collaboration and partnerships between communities of faith, and community-based organizations. This goal has been expanded to include Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs) hepatitis C (HCV) prevention efforts as well as referrals to screening, care, and treatment.

Regional committees design and implement activities for faith communities which are incorporated into regional action plans. All activities are aligned with AIDS Institute’s priorities as well as Ending the Epidemic Initiative goals and include: capacity-building workshops for faith and community based organizations (in collaboration with federal, state and local governmental agencies); HIV/STI/HCV informational events, community dialogues; clergy roundtable discussions; topic specific forums (e.g. intersection of faith and health) and meetings to network and to foster on-going and sustainable partnerships.

With the guidance from community and faith representatives, the FCP continues to foster regional partnerships, support information sharing, and identify and develop resources to further HIV/STI/HCV prevention and health care efforts in New York State.


Carol Tyrell
Faith Communities Project Coordinator
Division of HIV/STD/HCV Prevention
(518) 473-2300

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