A New Year’s Message from the Executive Director

Happy New Year to the MOCHA Center Family & Friends —

As we say goodbye to 2012, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and thank several staff and board members for their service to the MOCHA Center. This year, three of my managers: S. Alex Williams (Director, Capacity and Community Engagement); Thaddeus Price (Director, Programs & Services Rochester); and Stephaun Wallace (Interim Deputy Director) moved to new opportunities. Their wealth of knowledge, community engagement, and commitment to the MOCHA Center will be missed. I wish each of them the very best in their new endeavors. I also would like to thank staff members that moved on in 2012 — Coralyn Hunter (Health Access Specialist); Mariah Harvey (Health Educator); and Adalik Rivera (Program Coordinator) — for their service and commitment to the MOCHA Center.

The Board of Directors also saw changes in 2012. Many thanks to Patricia Coury-Dongiger, Charlie Lytle, Martin Jones, Chris Gengo, Denyse Lewis, Lillian Medina-Zelazny, and Rev. Alicia Heath-Toby for their service to the MOCHA Center and the Board of Directors.

Since March 2011, Dr. Ed Brockenbrough served as the President of the Board of Directors at the MOCHA Center. I appreciate Dr. Brockenbrough’s leadership and willingness to bring change to the MOCHA Center. On January 1, 2013, the Board will be under the leadership of Dr. Stanley Byrd. Dr. Byrd previously served as Vice President and will serve as the Interim President (January – March 2013) to complete Dr. Brockenbrough’s term while he is on a research sabbatical for his faculty position at the University of Rochester.

The new Board Officers as of January 1, 2013 are: Dr. Stanley Byrd (Interim President), Mitchell Wharton (Vice-President), Dinash Lal (Treasurer), and Sasha Eloi (Secretary). Beverly Jackson, LeShea Agnew, Kamila Barnes, Demetrius Jones, and Beverly David-Lewis are also members of the Board of Directors.

Beginning on January 1, 2013, the Leadership Team will consist of the Executive Director (Bruce E. Smail), Director of Finance (Marti Blazick), Director of Human Resources, Administration & Quality Assurance (Julie Rosado), and Senior Director of Programs & Services (to be hired). We also created a new tier of management for Programs & Services. The Managers Team includes Manager of Health Access & AFS Programs (Renee Law), Manager of Capacity Building (Jasan Ward), Manager of Prevention Programs & Services – Buffalo (DeMarkis Bonner) and Manager of Prevention Programs & Services – Rochester (Barbara Turner). Until the Senior Director of Programs & Services is hired, the Executive Director will fulfill the position responsibilities with the Leadership Team and Managers Team reporting directly to him.

We are excited about 2013. We are looking forward to additional fundraising activities. Very shortly we will have an online donation option on our website for easier support of the MOCHA Center. Very shortly, we will launch the MOCHA Weekend 2013 Planning Committee and will be looking for community participation. If you are interested in serving on the committee, please email me at bsmail@mochacenter.org.

Thank you for your support during my tenure and I look forward to working with the MOCHA Center family — Board of Directors, staff, clients, community, donors, and funders as we continue to grow and make an impact in Rochester, Buffalo and New York City.

Happy New Year —- Bruce E. Smail, Executive Director

Today is World AIDS Day

The world stops on December 1st to honor and remember the many lives lost to AIDS and re-energize HIV prevention efforts. The MOCHA Center joins this international day of remembrance and action and encourages you to remember and take action in your sphere of influence. Here are a few things you can do today:

  • Encourage someone to get tested for HIV.
  • Do you know your status? Take a HIV test today and know your status.
  • Reach out to People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) with a smile, a hug, or comforting words.
  • Stand up with others today and attend a World AIDS Day event.
  • Volunteer your time with a HIV/AIDS organization.
  • Donate to organizations advocating for PLWHA and educating communities on HIV prevention.
  • If you are a PLWHA — seek medical care and develop strong support systems.
  • Familiarize yourself with the latest safer sex practices.
  • Identify places to obtain clean needles or bleach kits.
  • Participate in a biomedical HIV prevention research education (microbicides, pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), and treatment as preventions).

HIV impacts the following groups at disproportionate rates: Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos, Transwomen of all races and ethnicities, Gay and Bisexual men of all races and ethnicities, and Youth in all of these categories. HIV/AIDS is a community issue and we all have a responsibility to end this pandemic. Let us join forces, increase the dialogue, and actively address the critical nature of HIV/AIDS in our communities.

—– Bruce E. Smail, Executive Director

Executive Director is Inteviewed by The Empty Closet

Bruce E. Smail, Executive Director of The MOCHA Center, was interviewed by Susan Jordan of The Empty Closet. Please take a moment to read the article. We appreciate the work of Susan and The Empty Closet in its efforts to keep the LGBTQ community informed about the latest news.

The Empty Closet Interview with the Executive Director