Clinical Ambassadors are internal medicine and infectious diseases physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who are nationally recognized as experts in their field. Clinical Ambassadors play a vital role in promoting the Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign and encouraging clinicians to access CDC’s HIV Nexus resources.
Dr. Oni Blackstock (she/her/hers) is a thought leader and influencer in health equity and HIV. She is a primary care and HIV physician and the founder and executive director of Health Justice, a health equity consulting firm that helps health care and public health organizations center anti-racism and equity in the workplace and reduce health inequities in the communities they serve. Before launching Health Justice, Dr. Blackstock served as an assistant commissioner at the New York City Health Department where she oversaw the city’s Ending the HIV Epidemic plan. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she conducted HIV clinical research focused on developing and testing interventions to promote engagement in HIV prevention and treatment for disproportionately impacted communities. Dr. Blackstock holds degrees from Harvard College, Harvard Medical School, and Yale School of Medicine. She is passionate about ensuring that all individuals and communities have the resources and support they need to thrive and achieve optimal health and wellbeing.
Diane Bruessow (she/her/hers) divides her time between academia, clinical practice, health policy, and service. Bruessow joined the Yale School of Medicine Physician Assistant (PA) Online Program faculty in 2018. She is the director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council on LGBTQI+ Affairs. She has 30 years of clinical practice experience, with over 20 years in transgender medicine—currently with Healthy Transitions and Transhealth. Bruessow has received honors, awards, and legislative proclamations for academic, clinical, humanitarian, and leadership excellence, including New York State Society of PAs PA of the Year (2019), New Jersey State Society of PAs Outstanding Humanitarian of the Year (2017), and the designation of Distinguished Fellow from the American Academy of Physician Associates. Bruessow has authored numerous articles and medical textbook chapters and has been an invited speaker on health topics including disparities, workforce, policy, and leadership. She has held elected and appointed positions on national boards, councils, and commissions. Bruessow is on the editorial advisory board of the Transgender Health journal.
Dr. Joseph Cherabie (he/they) is an assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Washington University in St. Louis. He also serves as the medical director of the Washington University St. Louis CDC Midwest Track 2B Capacity Building Assistance Program, medical director of the Washington University St. Louis PrEP Clinic, associate medical director of the St. Louis County Sexual Health Clinic, and the associate medical director of the St. Louis STI/HIV Prevention Training Center. Dr. Cherabie specializes in sexual health care focusing on LGBTQ health, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and HIV, all within the lens of medical education. They are the co-author of the Washington Manual on Medical Therapeutics chapter on STIs and HIV and have contributed to the National STD Curriculum. He mentors medical students, residents, and fellows through his work with OUTmed at Washington University and gives lectures on LGBTQIA+ access to health care, LGBTQIA+ research methods, and STIs.
Dr. Jason Farley (he/him/his) is an infectious disease-trained nurse epidemiologist and a nurse practitioner in the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHUSOM). His research develops strategies to optimize diagnoses, navigation, linkage, engagement, and retention in care for people with infectious diseases. Dr. Farley is the HIV Prevention Trials Network site leader for JHUSOM and the lead investigator for several COVID-19 studies. He is also the lead investigator on a cluster randomized trial designed to tailor nurse case management for people with drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV co-infection in South Africa. He is a co-investigator on a SMART trial, which involves an adaptive randomized evaluation of nurse-led HIV treatment retention interventions for female sex workers in South Africa with HIV. He leads The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Center for Infectious Disease and Nursing Innovation, whose mission is to design care processes that improve outcomes for people with infectious diseases. The Center works closely with the Baltimore City Health Department to improve HIV prevention, treatment, and care services.
Dr. Aniruddha (Anu) Hazra (he/him/his) is an assistant professor in the Section of Infectious Diseases and Global Health at the University of Chicago, and director of STI Services at the Chicago Center of HIV Elimination. In addition to his work at UChicago, he is co-medical director of Howard Brown Health’s 55th Street Clinic—a prominent, federally qualified health center specializing in the needs of LGBTQ people living in the Midwest. Dr. Hazra’s research focuses on sexually transmitted infections and their effect on sexual and gender minorities and other vulnerable populations living on the South Side of Chicago. These interests are complemented by his clinical work in complex HIV management, PrEP care, hepatitis C management, gender affirming hormone therapy, high-resolution anoscopy, treatment of opioid use disorder, and medical education. Above all, he is passionate about equitable health care delivery to LGBTQ people of color.
Dr. Asa Radix (they/he) is an infectious disease and HIV specialist at the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York City and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Radix is a recognized expert in transgender medicine and has contributed to multiple national and international guidelines for the care of transgender and gender diverse people. Dr. Radix serves on several boards, including the New York State AIDS Institute Medical Care Criteria Committee, the Pan American Health Organization HIV/STI Technical Advisory Committee, the American Sexual Health Association (chair), and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents. Dr. Radix is co-chair of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health Standards of Care 8 working group. They are also a Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars fellow at Yale University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. Dr. Radix’s research focuses on STI and HIV risk and HIV prevention and health outcomes in transgender populations, including the first community-based cohort study of transgender people in the United States.
Dr. James Simmons (he/him/his) is a board-certified acute care nurse practitioner, frontline health care provider, and passionate on-air medical contributor. Dr. Simmons is one of the most sought-after voices at the intersection of the LGBTQ+ and Black communities. He is also the motivator behind the vibrant online community “Ask The NP, Here to Help Your Healthy!” as seen and heard on countless television and radio outlets. His extensive multimedia experience combined with nearly 12 years of hospital-based critical care practice makes him a trusted source for relatable and reliable health information. Dr. Simmons has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Drake University, a master’s degree in Nursing from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and a doctorate of Nursing Practice from the University of California Los Angeles, where he is a frequent guest lecturer and research consultant. He serves as advisory board vice chair for the Access to Prevention Advocacy Intervention & Treatment, a nonprofit in Southern California whose mission is to positively impact the quality of life for vulnerable communities with and at-risk for HIV and AIDS, and is on the Advisory Board of Black Queer Town Hall, a nonprofit organization led by Miss Peppermint and Bob the Drag Queen, committed to celebrating Black queer excellence by supporting and cultivating community, sharing knowledge, and uplifting voices.
Dr. Hansel Tookes III (he/him/his) is an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and an attending physician for infectious diseases at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Tookes is also the principal investigator of the University of Miami Harm Reduction Research Group, which houses the Infectious Disease Elimination Act (IDEA) Exchange—Miami’s needle exchange program, the first of its kind in Florida. Dr. Tookes lobbied the Florida legislature for five years, advocating for the creation of the needle exchange program as an evidence-based method to help decrease Miami-Dade’s soaring HIV infection rate. In 2016, the Miami-Dade IDEA was signed into law. Today, Dr. Tookes is the Medical Director of the IDEA Exchange, which helps hundreds each year. At Jackson Memorial, one of the largest public hospitals in the nation, Dr. Tookes works closely with patients with HIV. He advocates for equal access to public health and has extensive experience working with patients with low socioeconomic status and patients who use drugs.
Dr. Sampath Wijesinghe (he/him/his) is a clinical assistant professor and co-director of Clerkship Education of the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Wijesinghe received a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Union College and a master’s degree in Management Information Systems and Business Administration from the University of Nebraska. Dr. Wijesinghe completed a doctorate in Health Science with an emphasis in global health from A.T. Still University, and an HIV and AIDS clinical fellowship at the University of California San Francisco, Fresno. He has been an HIV and AIDS specialist since 2014, and has worked in primary care as a PA since 2010. He has been in medical education since 2013, and is the editor and author of 101 Primary Care Case Studies. His research to investigate whether primary care clinicians are prepared to manage patients with HIV was published in 2020. His clinical interests include primary care, HIV medicine, and global health. Dr. Wijesinghe practices at Adventist Health Medical Center in Fowler, California. He is passionate about teaching the next generation of clinicians. A highly sought-after speaker and lecturer, Dr. Wijesinghe has presented at national conferences and events, and educates the next generation of PAs as a clinical preceptor.