By: Dr. James (Jim) Kublin, HVTN Core, Seattle, WA, USA
On behalf of the HVTN Executive Management Team, we are pleased to announce the additional leadership responsibilities accepted by Dr. Michele Andrasik, as HVTN Director of Social-Behavioral Sciences and Community Engagement. Michele is a clinical health psychologist, Senior Staff Scientist in the Fred Hutch Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, and an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. Her research interests include resilience, social and structural drivers of disease, identifying and reducing barriers to HIV prevention, and qualitative research methods.
Michele received her PhD in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of Miami in 2006, where her work focused on assessing and addressing barriers to accessing care and treatment among low income African American HIV seropositive and HPV seropositive women. She also has Masters Degrees in Health Education and Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. She is highly committed to developing collaborative relationships between researchers and community members and brings extensive expertise utilizing Community-Based Participatory Research approaches, Qualitative Research methods and working with communities and community organizations, both as a researcher and as a service provider. Prior to her doctoral training, Michele was the Director of AIDS Services for a community-based HIV/AIDS service organization with offices in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan. She has also served on several community boards and committees in New York, Miami, and Seattle.
With Michele’s background and passion for HIV prevention, we are thrilled about the possibilities to continue to foster and support the general community, community educators, and our critical Community Advisory Boards and their respective members.
Another addition to the HVTN management team is Aziel Gangerdine in the position of Director of Communications. Aziel joins the HVTN after working with the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) as the Head of Corporate & Marketing Communications under the leadership of Dr. Glenda Gray. Aziel’s career spans more than a decade in health research communications. He also gained strategic experience in political communication between February 2009 – December 2013 when he served in the dual role of departmental spokesperson and political communication strategist for the portfolio of environmental affairs and development planning in the Western Cape state government in South Africa.
Some of Aziel’s career highlights include: appointed as the youngest head of communication to a state government department in South Africa (2009); served on the FIFA World Cup crisis communications team (2010); strategically relaunched the brand of the SAMRC to reposition them as a national asset in research and development (2015 – 2017); documented the highest ever recorded media coverage in the history of the SAMRC following the implementation of a communication strategy over three years (2016); and strategically designed a five year integrated communication and marketing plan and brand strategy for the BioEconomy South Africa (2017 – 2018). Aziel holds double Bachelor’s degrees with majors in public relations and media studies. Other South African qualifications include a post-graduate qualification in labor law and a diploma in human resources management and training.
Aziel’s expertise in the development of strategic communication plans and rebranding will serve the Network well as we anticipate results from our efficacy studies and prepare for our application to DAIDS for the next funding cycle in the coming year.
Please join us in welcoming Michele and Aziel into their new positions.
* Dr. James Kublin is the Executive Director of the HVTN.