Phill Wilson, the founder and longtime president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, will retire from the organization he launched in 1999, according to a press release. The organization is now embarking on a national search for a new CEO.
Arriving on the eve of National Black HIV Awareness Day, held each February 7, the announcement is part of several changes within the Black AIDS Institute that are part of “a bold vision for the future.”
These include the addition of new staff and board members (David Cook, MD, of Novant Health, and David Munar, CEO, of Howard Brown Health), a recently redesigned website (BlackAIDS.org) and new partnerships and programs, such as the Black Hollywood Task Force on HIV and a Black PrEP clinic in Los Angeles. (The clinic will specialize in the HIV prevention pill Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis and will open on February 7).
Wilson launched the Black AIDS Institute with the goal of ending the epidemic within African-American communities by engaging its members and confronting HIV issues from an unapologetically Black viewpoint. The organization’s mantra was: “Our People, Our Problem, Our Solution.”
“In order for a movement to endure, there must be a plan for the future,” Wilson said in the press release. “Stepping down…is bittersweet for me. I have been involved in this fight for almost my entire adult life.
“We are at a turning point. Are we going to build on the remarkable advances we have made over the last decade and continue to push forward and finally end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, or are we going to go back to the dark days of despair and death?”
Wilson continued: “The Institute is committed to doing everything in its power to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially in Black communities. The time is right. The organization has the infrastructure and capacity to do the changes set forth by the board to prepare for a new generation of capacity building, advocacy, mobilization and service delivery. I am very proud of the work we have done over the last 19 years and of the organization’s commitment to new leadership. That commitment is more important now than ever before.”
“For those of us who have been doing the work and standing with Phill shoulder to shoulder for many years, it will be hard to imagine this work without him,” Munar says. “But this transition is not about Phill Wilson; it’s really about a mission, a vision, a commitment to mobilize a community, to leverage influence wherever we can, to eliminate AIDS and make this world a better place for people who are affected by HIV.”
“It is with great pride and role modeling that the Black AIDS Institute shows that you can have an organization that can grow a budget; have a vibrant and fully engaged board of directors; and be founded by a brilliant, courageous, creative man who knows when it is time to pass the mantle,” Howard says.
“This is an important moment,” Munar says. “Phill is passing the baton on to a newer generation. He’s leaving the organization on a strong footing so that it can continue to march forward.”
For more details about the organization’s history, its viewpoints and future endeavors, read the press statement here.