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Specifically, the Advisory Council:

  • Offers advice on research priorities and opportunities for partnerships
  • Assists in identifying unmet HIV research needs in the State of California and beyond
  • Share expertise and experience on broad scientific, policy, and funding matters that may help to maximize the impact of CHRP’s resources
  • Evaluates the progress of CHRP’s HIV/AIDS grantmaking portfolio in order to address the dynamic, interconnected relationships between comorbidities and social determinants that threaten the health and well-being of persons at risk or living with HIV infection

Advisory Council recommendations have significant impact on scientists and community members in California. Council members are intended to be a mix of experts and critical perspectives representing scientific areas and communities concerned with HIV/AIDS research. This collective perspective is essential for the development of a well-balanced program and initiatives that will best serve serve to develop, evaluate, and disseminate innovative research for eliminating new HIV infections.


Advisory Council

CHRP's Advisory Council is comprised of program stakeholders who work in California representing academic researchers, clinicians, research advocates, Departments of Public Health, community-based or non-governmental organizations, and/or foundations. Members are invited to serve for two years on a voluntary basis without remuneration, and agree in writing to adhere to Program policies governing conflict of interest and confidentiality.


Jacek Skarbinski, MD (Chair; he/him)
Program Director, HIV Fellowship and Adjunct Investigator,
Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Dr. Skarbinski is an infectious disease physician and HIV specialist. His career has been focused both on providing excellent, up-to-date clinical care in a variety of settings and improving community health more broadly through work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During his primary care residency at UCSF, he fell in love with providing longitudinal care for patients, especially persons living with HIV, and subsequently completed an infectious diseases fellowship at Emory University to deepen his knowledge of HIV and infectious diseases. As a clinician, he has worked in a number of clinical settings, including practicing general internal medicine as a hospitalist, working as an HIV specialist and primary care provider at the Ponce de Leon Center in Atlanta (the largest free-standing HIV clinic in the US), and as an infectious disease consultant with a large private practice group in the Atlanta area.

At the CDC, he focused on the prevention and control of various infectious diseases including HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, and Ebola. As a public health researcher he studied ways to improve diagnosis, treatment, prevention and care delivery in novel ways, including evaluating new diagnostic tests for malaria in Kenya, conducting clinical trials of new antimalarial drugs in Malawi, monitoring the quality of HIV care in the United States, and developing new strategies for tuberculosis control in India. Over ten years with the CDC, he was fortunate enough to have worked in Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ghana, and lived in New Delhi, India; all of which have given him a broad appreciation for the complexity and diversity of this world.


Malcolm John, MD, MPH (Vice Chair; he/him)
School of Medicine; Director, HIV/AIDS Program, and Medical Director for Health Equity, UCSF Health, University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Malcolm John, an expert in infectious diseases, is director of the UCSF HIV/AIDS Program, one of the most comprehensive HIV and AIDS treatment programs in the country. In addition to his work at UCSF, John is an HIV consultant for Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco.

Dr. John's research addresses molecular and immunologic components of diseases associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) in HIV-infected patients, particularly among African Americans. He also studies differences in HIV care and outcomes among African Americans.

Dr. John earned his medical degree at Harvard University and a master's degree in public health at the University of California, Berkeley. He completed a residency and fellowship in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. He completed a fellowship in infectious diseases with the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.

Dr. John has received numerous honors, including an award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program.


Annick Bórquez, MSc, PhD (she/her)
HIV and Drug Use Epidemiologist and Assistant Adjunct Professor, Medicine, University of California, San Diego

Dr. Bórquez's research seeks to improve the health of marginalized populations through developing, applying and integrating mathematical modeling, cost effectiveness and qualitative methods to better understand, predict and respond to intersecting epidemics of drug use disorders, overdose, HIV, HCV and other associated health harms; with a focus on social and structural determinants of health. She has led multiple studies to inform intervention and policy planning in HIV and substance use among people who inject drugs, justice involved populations, female sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgender women in a range of settings, including Mexico, Peru, West and Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Russia and the United States.

Dr. Bórquez has a background in medical microbiology from the University of Edinburgh and holds an MSc. and a PhD. in epidemiology from the department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London. She has long standing collaborations with the HIV Modelling Consortium at Imperial College London, UNAIDS, the Universidad Cayetano Heredia in Peru and is currently a visiting fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

She is the principal investigator of a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Avenir 5 year grant to adapt emerging infectious diseases methods including internet/big data analysis and mathematical modeling, to the field of drug use to better understand, predict and respond to emerging drug use epidemics and associated harms in the United States. 


Alison Cerezo, PhD (she/her)
Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Prior to joining the faculty at UCSB, Dr. Cerezo was an Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and Affiliate Faculty with the Health Equity Institute, College of Health and Social Sciences, San Francisco State University (2013-2018). Dr. Cerezo is a behavioral health researcher and licensed psychologist in the state of California. She carries out community-centered research for diverse sexual and gender minority communities with a specific focus on mental health and substance use with Latina and Black/African American women.

Dr. Cerezo has been honored for her service and research with sexual and gender minority people of color from the National Latinx Psychological Association (2018), Division 44: Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (2019), and Division 45: Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race (2019) of the American Psychological Association. She serves on the Los Angeles County Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Health Collaborative where she helps disseminate training to health providers across Southern California to promote sexual minority women’s health. She also holds a 3-year term as Member-at-Large, LGBT Slate, for Division 45 of the American Psychological Association to ensure attention to the mental health needs of sexual and gender minority people of color in the discipline of psychology. 


Adam R. Chang, JD (he/him)
Executive Director, Adolescent Health Working Group

Adam is a dedicated youth advocate with a broad background that includes 16 years of nonprofit experience. His role at the Adolescent Health Working Group is to increase the linkages between the for-profit, nonprofit, and public agency sectors to support positive health outcomes for youth in detention, foster care, and experiencing homelessness. He is an experienced educator and has created youth curriculum on topics of LGBT history, gender diversity, HIV prevention and treatment, HIV stigma, civil rights, and leadership development. Adam has also taught as an adjunct professor at the City College of Alameda on courses of law and democracy.

Adam served on the board of ACLU Hawai`i and its Youth Affairs Committee in 2012. He also worked as a legal advocate for the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (MLPC) in Hawai`i. He is a licensed foster parent with an adopted daughter from foster care and facilitates the foster parent licensing training for San Mateo County.

Adam graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor's in African Studies and International Relations, examining gender and HIV on the African continent, modern war and conflict, and studying strategies for peace and resolution. Adam has worked directly with refugee and asylee populations in resettlement and employment support. Adam obtained his law degree from the University of Hawai`i and joined the Hawai`i State Bar in 2014.

Adam is a second generation American of immigrant parents from Asia. He contracted HIV at the age of 22 and openly engages in community dialogue around sexual health, mental health, intergenerational HIV activism, stigma, ethnicity and race, poverty, and HIV policy.


Cecilia Chung (she/her)
Director of Evaluation and Strategic Initiatives,
Transgender Law Center

Cecilia Chung migrated from Hong Kong to San Francisco in December 1984. She has worked locally and internationally to advance equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Cecilia is the first transgender woman and first person living openly with HIV to Chair the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and is also the architect of the nation’s most ambitious publicly funded program addressing economic justice within the transgender community. Her community service spans nearly two decades.

Cecilia currently serves on the Health Commission where she made San Francisco the first city in the U.S. to cover gender affirming surgery for the city’s uninsured transgender patients. In 2015, Cecilia launched Positively Trans, a national network of transgender people living with HIV that is led by an advisory board of transgender people of color living with HIV that focus on storytelling, policy advocacy and leadership development.


Michael R. O. Martinez (he/him)
Senior Deputy Insurance Commissioner and Legislative Director at the California Department of Insurance for Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara

Michael Martinez is Senior Deputy Insurance Commissioner and Legislative Director at the California Department of Insurance for Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. He previously served California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. as Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary and Deputy Appointments Secretary. Michael is a past Deputy Insurance Commissioner and Legislative Director at the California Department of Insurance for then-Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. He previously worked as Director of State Government Affairs of the Western Region for Gilead Sciences, Inc. and as Manager of Public Affairs and Legislative Advocate at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, in Sacramento, representing non-profit, public sector, biotechnology, high technology, and health care clients for more than a decade, including AltaMed Health Services, the Legal Aid Association of California, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the Center for AIDS Research, Education, and Services, The Philanthropy Roundtable, the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, adidas America, ACS/Xerox, EMD Serono, Roche, and BHP Billiton. Michael formerly worked at Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations company.

He is Board Chair of Sacramento’s One Community Health (a federally qualified health clinic and HIV/AIDS specialty clinic), past Board President of the CARES Foundation of Sacramento, past Board Vice President of the Equality California Institute, and past member of the Stanford Alumni Association National Board of Directors. He is the recipient of the Legal Aid Association of California’s Award of Merit, the Cares Community Health Leadership in Advocacy Award, and the Stanford University J.E. Wallace Sterling Award. He graduated from Stanford University with two Bachelors of Arts degrees in political science and urban studies. He was raised in Orange County, CA and Honolulu, Hawaii and now resides in Sacramento, CA with his husband.


Dawn P. McClendon (she/her)
Assistant Director, Los Angeles County Commission on HIV

Dawn P. Mc Clendon is the Assistant Director for the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV. The Los Angeles County Commission on HIV (COH) serves as the integrated prevention and care local planning council for planning, allocating, coordinating, and delivering HIV/AIDS and STD services. The COH comprises 51 members and represents a broad and diverse group of providers, consumers, and stakeholders. 33% of the members are individuals living with HIV who are federally funded Ryan White Program consumers.

Dawn began with the Commission in 2008 as an administrative assistant to the Executive Director. Through the years, she has nurtured an incredible connection with and passion for people experiencing less-than-ideal health and socioeconomic conditions, especially those living with and impacted by HIV. Dawn leads with a people-first approach by demonstrating empathy, compassion, and gratitude, which has allowed her to be instrumental in leading the efforts of the Commission’s consumer-centered caucuses – Consumer Caucus, Black/African American Caucus, and the Women’s Caucus – in addressing the needs and barriers to care and services and identifying opportunities to improve their health and wellness holistically. Dawn leads numerous community engagement efforts and initiatives on behalf of the Commission, and has become more emboldened in amplifying and championing the Black/African American community voice in addressing the historical disproportionate and devasting impact that HIV and STDs has had and continues to have on the community. 


Craig Pulsipher, MPP, MSW (he/him)
Legislative Director, Equality California

Craig Pulsipher is the Legislative Director for Equality California responsible for leading the organization’s state policy, budget, and administrative advocacy work. Prior to joining Equality California, Craig served as the Associate Director of Government Affairs at APLA Health in Los Angeles where he oversaw statewide HIV and health care policy, legislation, budget, and political strategy. During his time at APLA Health, Craig led a multi-year campaign to reform California’s outdated HIV criminal laws, helped pass groundbreaking legislation to expand access to HIV treatment and PrEP, and spearheaded the formation of a new statewide coalition to end the HIV, STD, viral hepatitis, and overdose epidemics. Craig received graduate degrees in Public Policy and Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Marisa Ramos*, PhD (*Ex officio member) (she/her)
Office of AIDS Chief, California Department of Public Health

Dr. Marisa Ramos has been with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for 16 years. Currently, she is the Office of AIDS Chief. Previously she served as the Office of Refugee Health Chief for 11 years. She has 27 years of experience managing research projects, data systems, and surveillance efforts, and has authored publications and presented at local, state, national and international conferences on refugee and Latinx health issues.

Prior to coming to CDPH, Dr. Ramos was an Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of California, Davis, where she currently serves as a volunteer Professor of Public Health. Dr. Ramos completed both Masters and Doctoral programs in Biological Nutrition with an emphasis in Epidemiology from the University of California, Davis.


Sara Gianella Weibel, MD (she/her)
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Diego 

Dr. Gianella is an HIV researcher and an infectious disease physician with a broad background in translational virology, molecular biology, and immunology. Her research ranges from investigating HIV transmission dynamics and interactions with co-infecting viruses, especially cytomegalovirus, to characterizing the establishment of the latent viral reservoir during primary HIV infection as well as sex/gender-differences in HIV persistence. She is currently investigating clinical complications related to persistent immune activation and is leading several clinical trials as part of the AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG). Her work involves bioinformatics to characterize viral evolution during and after HIV transmission and viral dynamics between anatomic compartments.

She is currently the director of the Translational Virology Core at the Center of AIDS Research (CFAR) and the co-director of the NeuroVirology and Biology Core at the HIV Neuobehaviorial Research Center (HNRC), all at UC San Diego. She is the director of the Virology Speciality Laboratory for the ACTG, the co-director of the Last Gift cohort study at UCSD, and the principal investigator of a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Avenir 5 year grant to study the effect of opioids on HIV persistence in tissues (among other grants).


Michael Weiss (he/him)
HHS Program Services Coordinator,
Humboldt County DHHS

Michael Weiss' work with the North Coast AIDS Project for the past 16 years has focused on HIV Prevention and Stigma Discrimination Reduction in vulnerable and underserved populations including case management, mobile outreach, needle exchange, overdose prevention, HIV and hepatitis C testing, and PrEP education. Michael has done policy and advocacy work state-wide and nationally.  Michael participated on the planning committee for the 2007 LGBTI International Health Summit held in Philadelphia, a California state-wide workgroup on Transgender Health Policy in San Francisco and the California LGBTQ Reducing Disparities Project.  

His interests include addressing stigma related to HIV, access to PrEP, and LGBTQ issues through the lens of a rural perspective. He has been working in the HIV prevention field since 2000 as an HIV Nutrition specialist, HIV “buddy”, HIV activist and community coordinator, HIV Case Manager/Outreach Worker, and HIV Program Manager. In Humboldt County Michael implemented the first PrEP Navigation program, launched the Humboldt County Sexual Health Task Force, coordinated the Humboldt County AIDS Food Project, and worked with community partners to establish and support the local LGBTQ Pride Organization, and Transgender medical clinic

“I have been living with HIV for 23 years. I have lived and worked in both the urban and rural environments.  Ever since I relocated from the Los Angeles to rural Humboldt County, I have learned a great deal about the challenges that rural communities face both programmatically and culturally with regards to dealing with HIV.  I think it is very important to have a rural voice at the table.”

Michael currently is in his second term as an At-Large Member of the California Planning Group for the CDPH Office of AIDS and is the Chair of the HIV and Aging subcommittee.


Joel Wertheim, PhD (he/him)
Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Diego

Joel Wertheim is an Associate Professor of Medicine in Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego). He received his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His research program focuses on (i) the use of viral genetic sequences to understand the origin and emergence of human viruses including SARS-CoV-2 and human herpes simplexviruses and (ii) the application of molecular epidemiology to understand HIV transmission dynamics and improve public health practice.

To this end, Dr. Wertheim has been awarded multiple NIH grants to study how HIV molecular analysis can be used to improve public health surveillance and prevention. Dr. Wertheim also serves as a research consultant analyst for the Detection and Response Branch (DRB) within the Division of HIV Prevention (DHP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Wertheim is a co-developer of HIV-TRACE, a web application to permit rapid construction of HIV molecular transmission networks. This tool has since been adopted by the CDC, as Secure HIV-TRACE, to facilitate HIV molecular surveillance by public health departments across the United States.