Community Advisory Board
The Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) / UCSF Prevention Research Center (PRC) Community Advisory Board (CAB) comprises stakeholders from Bay Area agencies and communities. Its mission is to channel community input into the CAPS/PRC research agenda and initiate special projects aimed to help HIV prevention science reach stakeholders. Recommendations and concerns raised by the CAB are also channeled to the external Scientific Advisory Board convened by the Administration Core. The CAB is charged with the following:
- Provide leadership and scientists with feedback on projects, as requested
- Alert scientists to community issues and hot topics in HIV prevention
- Review grant proposals and journal articles, when feasible
- Assist to develop community dissemination and outreach strategies
The CAB meets 4 times a year for a 3-hour, early evening session. The agenda is developed by the CAB co-chairs and include presentations by our researchers or leadership as well as CAB-initiated projects and issues. In addition, members participate in conference calls, participate in peer review, attend or make presentations at CAPS Town Halls, and participate in scientific retreats and related functions.
Community Advisory Board News
- 11/4/21 - Vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 and HIV featuring Rachel Rutishauser, M.D., Ph.D.
- 11/18/20 - Anal HPV, Healthy Aging. A CAPS/PRC Community Advisory Board presentation feat. Alexandra Hernandez, Ph.D., MPH.
- Recommendations for Research Dissemination, developed by the CAB (revised 2018)
- CAPS Dissemination Award, given by the CAPS CAB
- Read the CAB article Making Sure Research Is Used: Community-Generated Recommendations for Disseminating Research in the journal Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action.
The CAB accepts new member applications once a year. New members are accepted based on the number of funded vacancies and areas of expertise sought after surveying CAPS/PRC researchers, CAB members, and the Community Engagement (CE) Core staff. We encourage applications from those living with HIV.
CAPS articles on community advisory boards:
- Building community partnerships: Case studies of community advisory boards at research sites in Peru, Zimbabwe, and Thailand
- Community consultation in HIV prevention research: A study of community advisory boards at 6 research sites
Michael Benjamin is a native of the Oakland Bay Area and has worked in HIV prevention and community engagement services for over 25 years. He served in various capacities at the CBO level that has included program management, community and research projects, coordinating and delivering outreach and navigation supportive services to those populations that have a higher vulnerability to harmful and life-threating viruses, diseases, and other health disparities that disproportionately impact communities of color, African Americans specifically.
Michael currently serves as the Director of Programs at CAL-PEP, a community-based organization in West Oakland, California. CAL-PEP is dedicated to taking action and advocating for health equity for poor communities that lack access to the resources to address their human service and wellness needs.
His community engagement experience includes working for marginalized communities at risk for or living with HIV, ethnic minorities, sexually diverse individuals, LGBTQIA communities, people with co-occurring mental health/substance use disorders, formerly incarcerated men and women, homeless individuals, and HIV positive persons disconnected form medical care.
Associate of Arts degree candidate; with an anticipated completion date in 2023; Merritt College, Community Social Services.
Jesse Brooks is a longtime activist in the Oakland area and currently writes a weekly column in the Post News Group, the largest African American paper in the Bay Area. Since 2009 he has written about HIV/AIDS, reaching over 40,000 readers each week. Jesse was diagnosed in 1993 and has seen both sides of HIV, as a client and as a care provider, starting his roots at New Village, which later became part of the Black Coalition on AIDS. He facilitates social and substance-abuse groups and has worked on multiple research study teams including UCSF’s Urban Health Study and Explore an SFDPH/UCSF project.
His movie, “The Ceremony,” about Jesse's personal internal battles with addiction, stigma, and self-identity, showed at the 5th annual Black LGBT film festival in Oakland, is featured on the Oakland’s Office of AIDS poster campaigns, “HIV Stops with Us” and “I Choose to Disclose.” Jesse speaks at churches, campuses, and conferences. His goal is to reach youth by demonstrating that “you can free yourself, no matter what challenges you face.”
Ramirez Brown is a 24-year-old black gay college student attending the Academy of Art University in San San Francisco. He is obtaining his BFA in Fashion Merchandising and graduating in Fall 2024. He’s originally from Los Angeles but now living in the Bay Area (Oakland, CA) since 2017. He works with East Bay Getting To Zero as their Youth Engagement Specialist since January 2023 but as a volunteer/intern starting in 2020. He was introduced to them after being diagnosed with HIV and now his long-term mission/goal in life is to advocate, fight and eventually end this epidemic. He also participates in other federal and local organizations such as NMAC and CHIL. He likes to think of this as his “worst blessing”; He always wanted to change the world just didn’t know how. Now he knows his purpose is to make sure black LGBQT+ folk feel loved, welcomed, appreciated and no one else is diagnosed.
Nasheedah Bynes-Muhammad is the Chief Operations Officer at Lost-N-Found Youth (LNFY.org) in Atlanta, Georgia. Nasheedah has worked in non-profit Management and Public Health since 1996 when she served as the Young Men’s Health Program Manager at Youth Pride (Atlanta GA). Previous roles include HIV Program Supervisor at Tri-City Health Center (Fremont, CA) and Health Promotions Director at AIDS Project of the East Bay (Oakland, CA).
As an active member of the House of Mizrahi and the West Coast Ballroom Scene Nasheedah is proud to have been Femqueen Realness Of The Year for three consecutive years. She is a student of the Black Queer and Feminists literary traditions and is herself a writer, most recently published in the anthology Black Gay Genius. Nasheedah is inspired by the works of James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Joseph Beam, Audre Lorde, Essex Hemphill, Arbert Latex, and Pepper Labeisha and is determined that the struggle to control HIV/AIDS in our communities will succeed by drawing on Black Queer and Feminists; artistic, literary, spiritual and activist traditions.
Carmen Foster is the Clinic Manager of TRUCHA - the HIV services department at La Clinica de la Raza. Carmen is a Latina woman, she was born in Guatemala and migrated to the U.S. when she was 14 years old.
Carmen has dedicated most of her adult life to most aspects of HIV-related work. Carmen started her HIV career in Southern California at the AIDS Services Foundation (now Radiant Health Center). Some of Carmen’s work and experiences include volunteering, case management, housing case management, research tech, clinical health educator, outreach worker, HIV/HCV tester, supervisor, and more recently manager of the HIV department.
As a Latinx female leader, Carmen has been able to transform a dream into a reality at La Clinica which has benefited many Latinx people. When Carmen became the head of TRUCHA (La Clinica), she was key to adding many additional services, programs, and activities to the department.
Some of the services that were added since Carmen became head of the HIV services department at La Clinica include: EIS/Linkage to HIV care, Naloxone, PrEP/PEP navigation, PrEP-AP, HCV testing, HIV prevention/education services for youth, expansion of trans medical health services, food distribution program and mobile health services. These services are conducted in Spanish and English.
Isaac Jackson is a community organizer who the last decade experience working with drug users A founding figure in two drug user organizations (San Francisco Drug Users Union in 2010 and the San Francisco branch of the Urban Survivors Union 2013) he has helped drug users to come together around critical issues in their lives. Working side by side with fellow drug-users over the years on various campaigns, a common thread has been the demand to be treated with dignity and to be recognized as critical consumers of the products of the non-profit industrial complex. The demand that drug users not only heard but can be constructive partners in creating 'user-friendly' consumer products and processes.
Isaac Jackson graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a doctorate in media arts and sciences in 1992.
Isaac Jackson has volunteered, interned, and/or been employed with local organizations that work directly with drug users. These include the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Tenderloin Health, Hospitality House, the Dope Project, and the Speed Project.
Alainia Kollasch has been a youth rights activist in the HIV, STD, and STI treatment community. She is better known for her speeches at local high schools within Alameda County and her natural ability to get youth tested without argument.
She has also dedicated her life to HIV/AIDS research and how the overall quality of life is affected. She has worked with CAL PEPand EBAC in the research aspect as well as given local life-story speeches to facilitate a testing drive at local schools.
In her downtime, she is a mother of three, one boy and two girls, who argue every day on what to wear. She is now hoping to break into women’s research and become an activist for women’s health since not a lot of women speak up and speak out about their health, which is greatly impacted by the decision to remain quiet.
Carolyn Kuali`i is a person of Native Hawaiian and Apache ancestry. She developed and implemented the first Native HIV/AIDS case management programs in Hawai`i, one of twelve Native HIV/AIDS Case Management sites funded by the Ryan White CARE Act. In 2006, Carolyn branched off on her own as an independent consultant providing capacity-building assistance in Health and Human Services and is one of the co-chairs for the National Native HIV/AIDS Coalition and a member of the California Department of Public Health, Infectious Diseases, Office of AIDS, California Planning Group.
Carolyn is also the co-founder and director of Kua`aina Associates, an arts non-profit that produces special projects and works with artists and cultural groups. Carolyn is a mother of six adult children and the proud grandmother of four beautiful grandchildren. She considers the Island of Maui her home but currently resides in Berkeley with her partner.
Ramón Ramirez's first steps were in Mexico City in the '70s. His mama and papa immigrated his family to Los Angeles California during the AIDS pandemic where the work on HIV prevention and education started. Ramon moved to San Francisco, completed his education in Psychology at California State University, and started working as Clinical Health Educator with emphasis on HIV/STI prevention and education and human sexuality with the LGBTQIA+, recent immigrant, Latinx, trans, and other marginalized communities bringing their voices to the table to help reduce health disparities and improve the wellbeing of his/hers/their community. When time permits MamaDora comes out, and his sister ego gets on stage delivering positive messages of love in drag.
Jenna Rapues is the director of Gender Health SF, an innovative program of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) that provides access to transgender surgeries and related education and preparation services to eligible uninsured transgender adult residents. After spending nearly two decades in the field of transgender health and HIV prevention work, Jenna understands the importance of centering community experiences and voices to increase access to comprehensive, effective, and affirming health care services for transgender and gender non-binary communities.
Prior to joining the SFDPH, Jenna was the acting director of UCSF’s Center of Excellence for Transgender Health (CoE) overseeing its national capacity building and technical assistance and project portfolios. Previous to CoE, Jenna managed both provider and community-based transgender HIV and health promotion efforts within SFDPH. In this capacity, Jenna organized and coordinated SFDPH provider and community-led health initiatives, provided programmatic oversight to SFDPH’s HIV prevention contracts with transgender populations, and conducted several research studies on transgender HIV and health. Jenna's work is published in several journal articles highlighting the impact of HIV and health disparities among San Francisco's transgender communities.
Jenna holds an MPH with a focus on Community Health Education from San Francisco State University.
Andrew Reynolds is the Hepatitis C Wellness Manager at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and an independent hepatitis C and harm reduction consultant for Reynolds Health Strategies. Prior to these roles, he was the former Hepatitis C and Harm Reduction Manager for Project Inform. Andrew writes health education materials, fact sheets, toolkits, and articles on all aspects of hepatitis C awareness, prevention, and treatment. He is the author of the Positively Aware “Annual Hepatitis C Drug Guide,” and sits on the AASLD/IDSA HCV Guidance Panel. Andrew has over 20 years of HCV, HIV and STD awareness, prevention, and treatment experience, delivered in a wide variety of settings from street outreach to clinical settings to jails and prisons.
In addition to HCV, Andrew works extensively in drug user health, harm reduction, and safe consumption space education and advocacy. He serves on numerous boards of directors, advisory boards, and committees, including the Organizing Committee of the “End the Epidemics” campaign for California, a community initiative to eliminate HIV, HCV, and STDs in California.
Georgia Schreiber is a Public Health Investigator for the Alameda County Public Health Department, where she has worked over the past 18 years in STD, HIV Surveillance, HIV Linkage to Care and Partner Services, acute communicable disease investigations, and as a contract manager for two HIV service programs.
For 30 years, she centered on gender and health equity through direct service. She started out as a volunteer peer counselor at Planned Parenthood and then was a health educator at the Women’s Health Clinic at The Evergreen State College. Her focus shifted from women’s health advocacy to men’s and LGBTQ health, when she worked as a prisoner rights advocate in California Prison Focus, specializing in advocacy for people living with HIV and Hepatitis C. From 2000-2003, she was a Research Associate in the Explore Study at the San Francisco AIDS Office. She received her MPH in Health Education from San Francisco State University.
She is a former co-facilitator of the Criminal Justice Workgroup of Place Matters at the Alameda County Public Health Department, and a founding member of the Alameda County HIV Linkage and Retention Workgroup.