November 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm EDT | by Phil Reese
National AIDS Policy Director steps down

Jeff Crowley, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy at the White House, announced today that he will leave his position at the end of the year.

“After developing and releasing the ‘National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States’ and spending a year and a half on implementation, now is an appropriate time for me to move on to the next phase of my life,” Crowley wrote in an open letter to colleagues on Thursday.

“I cannot fully express how honored I feel to have been given the task of leading the process to develop our country’s first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” Crowley’s letter continued. “I am grateful to the HIV community and our many, many partners inside and outside of government that helped us develop a roadmap for moving forward at this critical juncture in our Nation’s response to the domestic HIV epidemic.”

Crowley — who played double duty in the administration as the Senior Advisor on Disability — also discussed his work in that arena in his announcement.

“I am also grateful to the many members of the disability community with whom I have worked on issues related to health and long-term services and supports, civil rights, housing, and other issues.”

Crowley’s departure comes just weeks after his boss, the top domestic policy advisor in the White House, Melody Barnes, announced her own resignation. Both separation will leave the administration with two major leadership openings on the domestic policy front next year.

“Jeff has been integral to establishing the country’s first comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy,” said Brian Hudjich Executive Director of Washington D.C. based AIDS services research organization, HealthHIV. “He was accessible, approachable and clearly committed to receiving input from the community in helping address the needs of everyone impacted by HIV.”

The White House praised Crowley’s achievements in the administration in shaping national AIDS policy.

“Jeffery Crowley led the White House’s Office of National AIDS Policy at a critical time in the fight against the pandemic,” said Melody Barnes, outgoing director of domestic policy. “Working with stakeholders and communities across the country, he and his team developed our country’s first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy to stop the spread of HIV and get those infected the care they need. His dedication and expertise has left a roadmap that will help our nation combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic and will make a difference in the lives of millions of people.”

Crowley once served as Deputy Executive Director for Programs at the National Association of People with AIDS, and may now follow several other prominent HIV/AIDS officials who have gone back into the world of think tanks and not-for-profit organizations. In June of 2010, Shannon Hader, a former official with President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief resigned her position as top HIV/AIDS official for the District of Columbia to take a position with health care think tank The Futures Group. Crowley could also pursue work in policy for people with disabilities after he leaves his position at the end of the year.

Crowley’s letter states the White House has already begun the process of finding his replacement, and will keep the implementation of the national strategy a priority in the coming months.

Crowley’s resignation will leave room for new health care experts to take a role in influencing domestic policy on AIDS/HIV. AmfAR Vice President and Director of Public Policy Chris Collins could be one candidate. Many consider Collins’ 2007 paper ‘Improving Outcomes: Blueprint for a National AIDS Plan for the United States,’ the foundation on which the National HIV/AIDS Strategy was built.

Also likely to be considered would be Crowley’s deputy director, Greg Millet, who has worked closely with the roll out of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy since its earliest days.


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