February 2017


Rocky Mountain CARES and AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin Merge

Building upon Denver’s strong response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Rocky Mountain CARES (RMC) and the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) merged February 1, following the unanimous votes of both organizations’ respective boards of directors. People living with HIV, leaders of both organizations, and public officials are hailing the merger as beneficial to HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts in Colorado and Wisconsin.

“The Denver Department of Environmental Health applauds the merger of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) with Rocky Mountain CARES, “ said Ann Cecchine-Williams, Deputy Director, Denver Department of Environmental Health. “The merger will allow Rocky Mountain CARES to continue to fulfill their critical mission of providing centralized and comprehensive medical care management, pharmacy, support services, rich education and research resources to those affected by and infected with HIV/AIDS.”

The organization will continue to operate in Denver under the name Rocky Mountain CARES and in Wisconsin as the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. Progress is underway in the opening of an HIV Medical Home in Denver, marking an evolution in the role of RMC in fight against AIDS that includes the organization’s move into offering direct clinical care for HIV patients. ARCW currently operates the only HIV Medial Home approved by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The HIV Medical Home is an innovative model of care that integrates medical, dental and mental health care; pharmacy; social services and care management into one seamless organization in one location.

“When we started speaking with ARCW about increasing the services we offer at RMC more than 18 months ago, I knew we had made the right decision,” said Shannon Southhall who has served as Executive Director of RMC for the past eight years. “This merger will mean more people living with and at-risk for HIV in Denver will receive the health care they need to keep, protect or regain their health. On behalf of everyone at RMC, I am excited about what our organizations will accomplish moving forward together.”

“Denver and RMC are tremendous leaders in the fight against AIDS,” said ARCW President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Gifford. “Our merger will help build upon the incredible work already well underway by bringing the successful HIV Medical Home model of care to Denver, helping to enhance and increase access to care, attract and retain more patients who are not currently in care or have fallen out of care, and ultimately and most importantly, help people with HIV live long, healthy lives.”

RMC will begin to offer specialty and primary medical care, mental and behavioral health care, legal services and open a food pantry to HIV patients in the coming months, in addition to the successful case management, testing, social services and pharmacy programs already offered. Drs. Ken Greenberg and John Hammer, two leading physicians currently treating HIV patients in Denver, will serve as the two medical providers in the new clinic.

“As a physician, I know that often times some of the biggest barriers HIV patients face to achieving health are related to not having enough nutritious food, not having a safe place to live or that they are not able to get help addressing mental and behavioral health concerns,” said Dr. Ken Greenberg. Greenberg, RMC Medical Director.  “The HIV Medical Home is critical to making sure patients have all of their needs met so that they can focus on successfully managing their health.”

The new HIV Medical Home is also offering pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to HIV-negative individuals who are at high risk for contracting the virus. PrEP is the newest and most effective bio-medical HIV prevention intervention available, with studies indicating it is more than 90% effective at preventing HIV transmission when used as directed. When PrEP is combined with condom use and other safer sex practices, the risk for HIV transmission is even lower.

Current RMC staff continue to be employed by the organization.  Additionally, new staff including medical professionals, clinical pharmacists, mental health therapists, case managers, attorneys, and food pantry positions will be hired in the future.

RMC and ARCW will operate as one organization serving people in both Colorado and Wisconsin. Leadership of the merged organization will retain Denver representation, with four members of the RMC Board of Directors joining the ARCW Board of Directors.

Support for due diligence and merger evaluation was supported by a grant from the AIDS United Sector Transformation Initiative, made possible by generous cross-industry support from Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb. 
 


AIDS Ride Wisconsin Reaches For Milwaukee with New Routes

For the first time in its history Wisconsin’s two largest communities will be connected when the 15th annual AIDS Ride Wisconsin sets out for Milwaukee from Madison on July 29.

Riders of every skill level and availability have multiple options for this year’s AIDS Ride Wisconsin including routes in and out of the Milwaukee area from 25 and 50 mile routes to the full 250 mile ride with options to ride all three days, the weekend, or shorter rides on just Saturday or Sunday. Saturday’s routes begin and end in Waukesha.

This year’s theme, Bringing Communities Together, not only honors the historic connection of Madison and Milwaukee in the fight against AIDS, but emphasizes the goal of the Ride to connect riders of all backgrounds and our communities with a more current awareness of HIV and AIDS.

ARCW is pleased to be partnering with Carroll University. Its campus will serve as base camp for the Ride. Carroll University is the first institution of higher learning in Wisconsin. Carroll opened in 1846, two years before Wisconsin became a state. Carroll is a private, independent and non-profit university located in Waukesha.

The Ride is fully supported by dedicated volunteers, a medical team, a massage team and bike technicians.

Interested riders and riding teams can learn more about the ride by visiting our website for more information.

Do you represent a business interested in corporate sponsorship of this event? Please call Mary Hartwig, ARCW Director of Special Events at 414-225-1598.

All pledges and sponsorships raised for this event benefit the prevention, care and treatment programs of ARCW.
 


ARCW & RMC Promote Testing and HIV Awareness



February 7 was National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day which was recognized with several testing and awareness events across Wisconsin.

ARCW conducted free HIV testing in Madison at the East Madison Community Center.

In Milwaukee, ARCW partnered with Diverse & Resilient, the NAACP and other area organizations for a large testing event at the Hillside Terrace Family Resource Center. The event featured free HIV/AIDS and other STI testing, trainings and demonstrations on safer sex practices, provided resources and information, as well as incentives for testing.

There are more awareness days coming up, so mark your calendars and keep an eye on our social media pages for information on testing and awareness events:

  • March 10 - National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • March 20 – National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • April 10 – National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day


Save The Date For Make A Promise 2017

The most fashionable event of the season is just around the corner. Save The Date for Make A Promise on April 22, 2017.

Stay-tuned for the theme announcement, coming soon.

If you would like to purchase tickets, reserve a table, donate an auction item, or volunteer please contact Melanie Stagg at 414.225.1570 or Melanie.stagg@arcw.org.


Spring Calendar Full of Events Supporting ARCW

There’s no shortage of activities as winter wraps up and spring is on the horizon.

On January 29, 452 attendees kicked-off the 2017 Camp Bingo Season with Candyland Bingo. The event gave away $4,136 in cash prizes and $694 in merchandise.

On February 26 Camp Bingo moves to the Sheraton for Lucky Charms Bingo. Keep an eye out for a familiar face, Madison Favorite, Josie Lynn, who will be joining the Camp Bingo family. The event will feature seven games of bingo with $2,500 in cash prizes, fabulous 50-50 Raffle - last month’s winner took home a record $2,568, plus our Trivia Game, Survey Drawing, and Costume Contest, all with great prizes.

On March 26, Camp Bingo returns to the Sheraton in Madison for Witches & Wizards Bingo. Visit madcampbingo.org for more information.


On February 22, La Crosse will be home to the fifth annual Remedy Event, supporting ARCW. The event will include raffle, silent auction, samples from vendors, as well as a live auction with one of the area's best auctioneers.

Enjoy music from up and coming local celebrities, a drag show from some of the area's most handsome and glamorous royalty, and wrap up the night with a local keynote speaker. Click here for more information. 

Madison will host its 25th Annual Red Ribbon Affair dinner and auction on Friday, May 5 at Madison Concourse Hotel. The event will feature a fabulous silent auction and a three-course sit down dinner.

July 28 – 30, dust off your helmets and gear up for AIDS Ride Wisconsin! This year’s event will feature routes to and from Milwaukee. Visit aidsridewis.org for more information.

AIDS Walk Wisconsin celebrates its 28th year on October 7 at the Milwaukee Lakefront. Registration is open, visit aidswalkwis.org for more information.


A Significant Message From Mike Gifford


 

RMC and ARCW Announce Merger

 

For information on any of these activities, please call Nick Giebel in Milwaukee at 414-225-1615, or Dan Curd in Madison at 608-316-8601.