A statement regarding the Orlando Tragedy from Trillium Health President & CEO Andrea DeMeo

Communities across the nation are hurting. Our Rochester community is hurting. The senseless tragedy in Orlando has caused tremendous grief in all communities especially the LGBTQ community and in communities of color.

I remain committed to ensuring our support  in this time of mourning.

Trillium Health is offering walk-in supportive mental health services from 1-5pm on Thursday June 16th at 259 Monroe Avenue. And The MOCHA Center at 189 N. Water Street, Suite 1 is offering group sessions with Mental Health Counselors that same evening, from 5-7pm.

I want  to assure all of our patients , staff and volunteers that your safety at The MOCHA Center and Trillium Health is of utmost importance.

Together we will heal. You have my commitment that The MOCHA Center and Trillium Health will do everything we can to support our community during this most difficult time.


Andrea DeMeo



The Board of Directors and leadership of Trillium Health are thrilled to announce an exciting addition to the Trillium Health family. The MOCHA Center, an organization deeply rooted in improving the health & wellness of LGBT communities of color, and Trillium Health, a community health center committed to LGBT health with a legacy of caring for those impacted by HIV/AIDS, are becoming one!

With a history of a shared allegiance, The MOCHA Center and Trillium Health have collaborated together for years. We each have similar missions and programs, and importantly share a culture of compassion for the people we serve.

Stanley Byrd, current board president and founding father of The MOCHA Center says “the pooling of resources between The MOCHA Center and Trillium Health will provide a broader reach to underserved communities as well increase the level of services and outreach.  The merger also creates for the community a continuum of services and care that neither organization could accomplish alone.”

This merger comes at a crucial time as HIV infection rates continue to disproportionately affect communities of color, especially young men of color. Leaders of both organizations are committed to preserving the unique and specialized care the community, patients and clients receives from the MOCHA Center. Programs are well- established and respected and will remain intact. Our community will continue to receive the consistent care they have come to expect from the MOCHA Center.

The MOCHA Center ‘brand’ – an established and well-respected identity – will remain intact.

“This merger will harness our individual strengths and combine them to transform and improve healthcare to the communities we serve throughout the greater Rochester region” said Andrea DeMeo, Trillium Health’s President and CEO. “We are excited to join our efforts with The MOCHA Center and expand on our engagement and outreach efforts in communities of color. And by joining forces, we’re able to broaden our current services Trillium Health affords our patients and consumers, as well.”

As one agency, our combined resources and staff talent will allow us to be ever more innovative as we strive to meet the continued needs of the communities we serve. We are excited about all the good that will come from our merger. We are confident that by joining forces we will be able to offer more services to those who need them most.

For more information, please contact:

Julie Ritzler (585) 210-4213, jritzler@trilliumhealth.org

Jason Roberts (585)315-2711, jroberts@trilliumhealth.org

Jasan Ward (585) 420-1400 x 107, jward@mochacenter.org


2015 Survey

The MOCHA Center, Inc. is conducting a survey in Rochester and Buffalo New York. This survey is designed to help The MOCHA Center assess its programs and services for LGBTQ Communities of Color as well as explore new ones. This survey is CONFIDENTIAL and available online from August 3, 2015 to August 31, 2015. While the survey asks personal questions and your opinions, it is an ANONYMOUS survey. Completing the survey serves as your consent and agreement for The MOCHA Center to utilize, analyze, and report aggregate findings. Please help us obtain as much feedback as possible by sharing this link with others who use or might use The MOCHA Center in Rochester and Buffalo New York.

ESTIMATED TIME: 5-10 minutes.

The MOCHA Center 2015 Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JM7DYSS

We thank you for your continued support of The MOCHA Center.

Bruce E. Smail, M.A.
Executive Director

Jasán M. Ward
Senior Director of Programs & Evaluation


Join The MOCHA Center Team

PrideFestivalThe MOCHA Center is still looking for two HIV Prevention Specialists — one in Buffalo and one in Rochester. If you have experience in HIV Prevention, served LGBT, HIV, and/or Communities of Color, and a passion for advocacy — we strongly urge you to apply. Please review the job announcement, be sure you qualify, and follow the application instructions. Applications received by Friday, September 4 at 5pm ET will have priority consideration. We will continue to accept and review applications until the position is filled. Join the excitement of The MOCHA Center in Buffalo and Rochester. Job Announcement: 20150817_HIVPreventionSpecialist_BUF-ROC



Be a part of the HIV STOPS WITH ME campaign launch at the MOCHA SOIREE on Thursday, March 19, 2015 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at Ballroom 384 in Rochester. Tickets are $50 and available at http://www.mochasoiree.eventbrite.com. Meet the spokesmodels, listen to great jazz by Trio More, enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres and champagne, bid on the silent auction, and have a few drinks at the cash bar. It is an opportunity to mix and mingle with the community and find out the latest about The MOCHA Center as well as the New York State’s campaign – HIV STOPS WITH ME. Tickets are on sale until Thursday, March 12 — you don’t want to miss this event.

The MOCHA Center’s Executive Director Speaks at World AIDS Day in Rochester.


Text to the Speech:

12/1/2014 – World AIDS Day Speech – Rochester, NY | Bruce E. Smail, Executive Director | The MOCHA Center, Inc.

Good Evening,

  • 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the USA — I am 1 of the 1.1 million.
  • In 2012, 3,316 new HIV diagnoses in New York — 42.0% Black, 30.7% Hispanic, 20.3%White — 42% look like me
  • In the State of New York, I am the only black man openly living with HIV serving as an Executive Director/CEO of an HIV/AIDS organization.
  • In this country, I am only aware of one other Black man living with HIV/AIDS serving as Executive Director/CEO of an HIV/AIDS organization — I am sure our numbers are less than a dozen.
  • I run one of the two remaining black HIV/AIDS organizations founded by and for Black & Latino gay men in the state of New York.
  • What is wrong with this picture?
  • Are we valuing the voices of Black Men Living with HIV in this epidemic?
  • Who is represented at the Leadership of HIV/AIDS Organizations?
  • Who is included and excluded in the original End of the Epidemic Task Force in the State of New York — While I was asked 2 weeks ago to serve on the Task Force, this was after much advocacy and highlighting the omission.
  • At events like this — World AIDS Day — why is my voice the only voice representing People Living with HIV/AIDS?

Today, World AIDS Day, is a significant moment to pause and reflect on the many lives lost to AIDS, the many men and women living with HIV and AIDS, and our collective struggle to end the AIDS Pandemic.

I am a black, Caribbean, bisexual, HIV positive man leading an HIV/AIDS organization in Rochester and Buffalo New York. February 10, 2003, I had my first reactive test which led to my HIV diagnosis. Since that point, I was open about my status and have had opportunities to lead two organizations serving largely Black & Latino communities — The Virgin Islands Community AIDS Resource & Education in St. Croix and the MOCHA Center in Western NY.

In December 2013, I decided to begin medication using the once a day anti-retroviral drug – Stribild. In less than 30 days, I was undetectable and my t-cell jumped to over a 1,000.  At my last lab work in November, the viral load was undetectable and the CD4 was 898.This decision was based on conversations with top biomedical researchers as well as my primary care physician. The deciding factor for me was the newer research about untreated HIV causing inflammation to other organs in the body. My t-cells were at 700 and viral load was around 1,000 — so this was not an absolute necessary step and one in which I waited over 11 years. We must find new ways of helping PLWH understand the latest research and the risks involved in delayed treatment.

Whether we look locally, in the state of NY, or nationally, the pandemic has always disproportionately impacted communities of color. This is not new news. For people like me, Black and engaged sexually with men, we are impacted with the highest new cases and the highest numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS. This isn’t about culture rather there are many social determinants that impact the health disparities of communities of color — yes HIV/AIDS – but also most other health issues.

We as New Yorkers as well as citizens of this country need to take on a collective responsibility of ending the epidemic. No longer can we assume HIV/AIDS does not touch our lives. We all have family, friends, and colleagues that are sexual and in many cases are having unprotected sex.   The risk of HIV is closer to home than you may think.

Are we having the real conversations with folks? If unprotected sex is real in our communities, why is this discussion so taboo? We need to have honest conversations and focus on harm reduction at the very least. We need to create honest dialogues around risks, viral suppression vs unknown viral status, and PrEP vs unprotected sex.

We also need to be sure that People of Color, Living with HIV/AIDS are at the table in discussions, policy development, and decisions regarding the end of the epidemic. If viral suppression is key to this end — People Living with HIV/AIDS must have a voice at the table.

As I end my comments, I ask you to remember this one thing –are People of Color Living with HIV/AIDS represented at your decision tables and/or events? If we are disproportionally affected, our voices are essential in helping us reach the End of the Epidemic. The core of the End of Epidemic is based on PLWHA being in care and virally suppressed. If you look around your table or at your event and we are not represented or have a central voice —- Then You Have Not Done Your Part to End the Epidemic!!! True allies create space for the silenced voices to be heard —- they don’t speak on their behalf!

World AIDS Day – Rochester – December 1, 2014

Join the MOCHA Center and several organizations sponsoring the World AIDS Day 2014 in Rochester, New York on Monday, December 1st at:

New Bethel CME Church
270 Scio St, Rochester, NY 14605
6:30PM, Service begins at 7:00PM.