Clinical Ambassadors

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.

2021 Clinical Ambassadors

Oni Blackstock, MD, MHS

Oni Blackstock

Let’s Stop HIV Together Campaign for Health Care Providers

  • Featured clinical expert on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social media
  • CDC Clinicians Chat Video Series Speaker

Affiliations

  • Health Justice

Dr. Oni Blackstock is recognized as a thought leader and influencer in the areas of HIV and health equity. She is a primary care and HIV physician, researcher, and the founder and Executive Director of Health Justice, a consulting practice that provides racial and intersectional equity expertise to health-related organizations. She was previously an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein, College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY where she provided clinical care and conducted HIV research. Dr. Blackstock also served as Assistant Commissioner for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene where she led the city’s response to ending the HIV epidemic. She holds degrees from Harvard College, Harvard Medical School, and Yale School of Medicine and is passionate about ensuring that all individuals and communities have the resources and support they need to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. She has been the recipient of awards and recognition from media outlets such as GO, Out, and Essence magazines and community-based organizations such as Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and Exponents. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Yahoo Finance, and Peacock.


Diane Bruessow, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA

Diane Bruessow

Let’s Stop HIV Together Campaign for Health Care Providers

  • Featured clinical expert on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social media

Affiliations

  • Yale University School of Medicine
  • Healthy Transitions
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants

Diane Bruessow divides her time between scholarly work, clinical practice, health policy and organizational governance. She is nationally certified by the NCCPA with excellence awarded in Primary Care. She has received honors, awards and legislative proclamations for academic, clinical, humanitarian, and leadership excellence – including New York State Society of PAs as the PA of the Year (2019), New Jersey State Society of PAs as the outstanding Humanitarian of the Year (2017), as well as the designation of Distinguished Fellow by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). Less than one percent of PAs earn this designation. Diane Bruessow joined the Yale University PA Online Program in 2018. Her faculty responsibilities include serving as a course director, participating in Admissions and Academic Affairs Committees, and serving as an instructor in patient assessment and during residencies. She also serves as an academic adviser and is the course director for a clinical rotation on Sexual and Gender Minority Health. Diane Bruessow has authored numerous articles and textbook chapters and has been an invited speaker on health topics including workforce, policy, disparities, and leadership. She has held elected and appointed positions on national boards, councils, and commissions. She currently serves on the editorial advisory board of the Transgender Health journal and as the President-elect of AAPA.


Michelle Cespedes, MD, MS

Michelle Cespedes

Let’s Stop HIV Together Campaign for Health Care Providers

  • Featured clinical expert at American College of Physicians | Internal Medicine Meeting 2021

Affiliations

  • HIV Medical Association
  • Infectious Disease Society of America
  • Mount Sinai Hospital

Dr. Michelle Cespedes is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Cespedes received her undergraduate degree in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University. She received her medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Cornell. She completed her Infectious Disease Fellowship and her Masters in Clinical Investigation at New York University. Her research areas of interest are HIV prevention in high-risk populations, complications and comorbidities of HIV, and HIV related women’s health issues. Her basic science interest are genetic factors that predispose HIV patients to HPV disease. She was the protocol vice-chair of two AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) studies designed to evaluate the efficacy and immunogenicity of the preventative HPV vaccine in HIV infected men and women. Her published work includes a genetic study of cervical dysplasia in HIV infected women, HPV vaccine in HIV infected populations, and misconceptions of HIV risk in minority populations. In 2014, she was named the co-Director of the Infectious Disease Division’s Clinical and Translational Research Center at Mount Sinai and is the clinical research site leader of Mount Sinai’s Comprehensive Health Program Downtown. In 2020, Dr. Cespedes became the Director of the HIV service for the Mount Sinai Hospital. Nationally, Dr. Cespedes is an executive board member of the HIV Medical Association, the past chair of the ACTG’s Underrepresented Populations Committee, and an active member of the Infectious Disease Society of America.


Jason E. Farley, PhD, MSN, MPH, RN (FAAN, ANP-BC, AACRN)

Jason E. Farley

Let’s Stop HIV Together Campaign for Health Care Providers

Affiliations

  • Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
  • John Hopkins Center for AIDS Research
  • American Academy of Nursing
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners
  • Association of Nurses in AIDS Care

Dr. Jason Farley is an infectious disease-trained nurse epidemiologist and a nurse practitioner in the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His research develops strategies to optimize diagnoses, navigation, linkage, engagement, and retention in care for persons with infectious diseases.  Dr. Farley is the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) site leader for Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the lead investigator for a number of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 studies. He is the lead investigator on a cluster randomized trial designed to tailor nurse case management for persons with drug-resistant Tuberculosis and HIV co-infection in South Africa and a co-investigator on an adaptive, SMART trial, which involves an adaptive randomized evaluation of nurse-led HIV treatment retention interventions for female sex workers living with HIV, also in South Africa. He leads the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing REACH Initiative, a Nursing Center whose mission is to design and improve care processes that improve outcomes for people with infectious disease.  The Center works closely with the Baltimore City Health Department to improve HIV prevention, treatment, and care services.


James Simmons, DNP, MSN, RN, AG/ACNP-BC

James Simmons

Let’s Stop HIV Together Campaign for Health Care Providers

  • Featured clinical expert on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social media

Affiliations

  • Simmons Medical
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

Dr. James Simmons is a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, frontline healthcare provider during the Covid-19 pandemic, and passionate on-air medical contributor. As a proud member of the most trusted profession in America 19 years running, he is also the brains and heart behind the online community “Ask The NP, everything you’re too scared to ask your MD!” Dr. James continues to emerge as a leading voice at the intersection of the LGBTQ+ and Black communities. As seen and heard on NBC, FOX, CBS, Sirius XM, Radio.com, DASH Radio, PEOPLE magazine and more, his combination of extensive multimedia experience and more than 10 years of hospital-based critical care practice make Dr. James a trusted source for real, relatable, and reliable health information.


Sampath Wijesinghe, DHSc, MS, MPAS, AAHIVS, PA-C

Sampath Wijesinghe

Let’s Stop HIV Together Campaign for Health Care Providers

Affiliations

  • Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Adventist Health Central Valley
  • Madera Community Hospital
  • American Academy of HIV Medicine
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants

Dr. Sampath Wijesinghe is a principal faculty member of the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) program at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Wijesinghe received a master’s degree in PA studies from Union College and a master’s degree in Management Information Systems with a MBA from the University of Nebraska. Dr Wijesinghe completed a Doctor of Health Science degree with an emphasis in global health from A.T. Still University and completed an HIV/AIDS clinical fellowship at University of California San Francisco, Fresno. He has been an HIV/AIDS specialist since 2014 and has worked in primary care as a PA since 2010. He has been involved in medical education since 2013 and is the editor/author of 101 Primary Care Case Studies. His research to investigate if primary care clinicians are prepared to manage HIV patients 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 and Madera Community Hospital in Madera, California. Dr. Wijesinghe is passionate about teaching the next generation of clinicians. He has practiced primary care and HIV medicine in areas of need. 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.