Alex Delaney, Secretary
Alex Delaney is a Virginia native but moved to North Carolina at a very young age. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science and a minor in music. Alex currently works as a research assistant in the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit of the UNC School of Medicine and has served in this role since 2013. His work focuses on biomedical research strategies for HIV prevention, HIV treatment, and improving quality of life for people living with HIV. Through his work in prevention research, Alex was able to join a task force developed by the NC AIDS Training and Education Center aimed at increasing provider education and consumer access of PrEP across the state. His dedication to patient care within clinical research has lead him to pursue a nursing a degree, and he hopes to earn his BSN in 2019. Outside of UNC, Alex is an active member of the community and volunteers with multiple organizations such as ReachOut NC, Alliance of AIDS Services NC, and Triangle Plus. Alex has been living with HIV since 2010 and hopes to use his experiences to create necessary change in order to end the HIV epidemic.
Michael DeMarco is an Executive Prevention Specialist with Gilead Sciences that covers most of North and South Carolina. Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company committed to creating groundbreaking therapies that address unmet medical needs, most notably in the HIV and HCV. In his capacity as a Prevention Specialist he works directly with Healthcare Providers on a daily basis to expand knowledge, awareness and overall usage of HIV Prevention in the Carolinas. In addition to working with clinicians Michael is a critical part of Gilead’s extensive community effort to ensure area ASOs, CBOs and statewide decision makers understand the need/benefit of broad HIV Prevention efforts and how those can be implemented. Michael was born and raised in Central New York and moved south to Charleston, WV to play college golf at the University of Charleston. Upon graduation he went onto earn a Master’s Degree in Public Relations from Marshall University before beginning a career in bio pharmaceuticals. Michael moved to Charlotte, NC where he currently lives with his wife Nikki and newborn son Anthony.
Jeffery Edwards-Knight is the supervisor of the HIV/ STD Community Testing and Outreach program at Mecklenburg County Public Health. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Jeffery was selected to attend and graduated from the African American HIV University in Los Angeles, sponsored by the Black AIDS Institute in collaboration with UCLA. Jeffery was featured in the POZ 100 Celebration of 100 long-term survivors. He started his work in the HIV field with the Metrolina AIDS Project as the MSM Health Educator in 2006.
In the past, Jeffery has served on the boards of the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Community Center, Metrolina AIDS Project and the North Carolina AIDS Action Network, where he served as President. He has served on the State Community Planning Group with the North Carolina Communicable Disease Unit and the Mecklenburg County HIV Council. Jeffery now serves on the Mecklenburg County Getting to Zero Committee and the North Carolina Ending the Epidemic Committee. He heads the Mecklenburg County PrEP Initiative and has presented at numerous conferences and organized workshops around HIV. Jeffery currently is a member of the Charlotte BTAN (Black Treatment Advocates Network) chapter where he served on the Executive Committee.
Tony Franco, Chair
Tony Franco is a long-time and dedicated activist in supporting the lives of those impacted by HIV & AIDS. Tony graduated from New York University in 1980, and earned his JD from Pace University School of Law in 1985. Tony has volunteered with a number of HIV & AIDS organizations in Los Angeles, California and most recently here in North Carolina, including the Western North Carolina AIDS Project. He is a long term survivor and has thrived living with HIV for over 25 years.
Veleria Levy, Vice-Chair
Veleria Levy is the Senior Account Executive for Avita Pharmacy in Salisbury, NC, and the former 2nd Vice-Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party (NCDP). She is the Founder & President of Purses and Politics, which is a non-partisan group that gathers women together to discuss political issues. Veleria is also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the NAACP.
Veleria has been an advocate for education and volunteers her time as a Board Member for Gemstones Academy and as a member of the PTO. She also serves as one of the appointees from the Rowan County Commission to serve on the Salisbury-Rowan Human Relations council, as a member of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee, and is a member of the Community Development Commission for the City of Kannapolis. Veleria holds a degree in Political Science from NC A&T State University.
Adam Linker is currently a program officer in the Healthcare Division at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. Prior to coming to the trust, he was the Co-Director of the North Carolina Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition, a statewide nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization. At the Justice Center, Adam analyzed state and federal health care legislation and regulations, lobbied lawmakers, wrote reports and editorials, and spoke to community groups. Over the years, he has worked extensively with the North Carolina AIDS Action Network to ensure that state and federal policy responds to the needs of people living with HIV and AIDS. He also represents consumers on several state task forces studying how best to implement federal health reform in North Carolina. In addition, Adam is a designated consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Adam has also been a health care and education reporter for Triangle Business Journal. He has a master’s degree in African American history from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master’s degree in journalism from UNC. Adam grew up in Raleigh and attended UNC as an undergraduate.
Elaine Martin, Treasurer
Elaine Martin has been a speaker and leader within the transgender and the broader LGBTQ communities for the last 25 years. She has previously served as the Chair of the Equality North Carolina C4 board and is a former President and Programming Chair of “The Southern Comfort Conference,” the largest conference of transgender people in the world. She speaks and presents frequent seminars on an array of topics regarding transgender rights, transitioning, policy, workplace, relationships, health and the many challenges faced by trans people and those who love and work with them.
Elaine spent a widely varied 23 years in the banking industry at the executive level, owned a small aviation company, and is the current owner of “Power of Diversity,” which specializes in consulting, coaching and training for employers of trans people and their trans employees. She is also an Associate Consultant to Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer, which specializes in LGBTQ employee/employer integration and education in the workplace. Elaine holds a BA in Psychology from SUNY Buffalo, an MBA in Finance from the University of New Mexico and is married with children.
Hector Salgado, is a Chicago native, who is passionate about doing work in underserved communities. He created the Promotores de Salud program with the American Heart Association, a program that increase the social safety net of cardiac events as well as giving the community tools to improve health outcomes in the Latino community. Before making an immense impact at the American Heart Association, Hector served as the Executive Director of the Alliance of AIDS Service-Carolina, where he helped restructure and stabilize the agency. Hector previously worked as the Program Coordinator at Howard Brown Health Center; held several positions at Project Vida such as: The Associate Director, Director of Community Relations and Governmental Affairs, and Outreach Specialist. Hector Salgado graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and later graduated from DePaul University with a Master’s in Public Service Management. During this time he was able to study nonprofit management in over 10 different countries. Hector is a board member of The North Carolina AIDS Action Network . Currently, Hector is expanding the Promotores de Salud Program from a pilot program to a full-fledged program serving the Greater Charlotte Area as the Director of Community Impact at the American Heart Association. In his free time, Hector is an EMT student at CPCC and loves to cook fantastic heart-healthy Latino recipes.
Cindy Snyder is a Director of Community Government Relations for ViiV Healthcare, a pharmaceutical company 100% focused on HIV. In her current role, Cindy works with patient advocates and policy makers on health policies that improve access to care for people living with HIV, at the federal level and in several states. Prior to joining ViiV Healthcare, Cindy was with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), working with Medicaid programs and commercial insurance plans. She has held past positions in the Policy and State Government Affairs departments, where she focused on HIV funding and access issues associated with Medicaid and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. She previously served on the board of Be Active NC, and is the chair of Duke Lutheran Campus Ministry committee through her church. Cindy is a member of the North Carolina State Bar and lives in Durham with her husband and two daughters.
Mike Weir is a senior manager on the Policy and Legislative Affairs team at NASTAD (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors). He assists in the implementation of NASTAD’s legislative and policy priorities on HIV and hepatitis-related federal appropriations and legislative priorities. Mike currently serves as an elected member and Co-Chair of the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAPP) and HIV Prevention Action Coalition. Prior to NASTAD, he interned at the White House in the Employee Benefits Division and the Office of National AIDS Policy, as well as at the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN) in Charlotte, NC. Originally from New Bern, NC, Mike now resides in Washington, DC. Mike received his Master of Public Health from the George Washington University and B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
LaWanda Wilkerson is from Henderson, North Carolina. She is a teacher and has been living with HIV since 2015. She is very passionate about advocacy work and has been an active volunteer for many years with the North Carolina AIDS Action Network. She is the current vice-chair for the community advisory board at Warren Vance Community Health Center, a member of Positive Women’s Network, a blogger for A Girl Like Me with The Well Project, and co-vice-chair for the ADAP Advocacy Association community advisory board.
Grace Wilkins has delivered care to people living with HIV/AIDS since the early 1980s. She provides care to the HIV & AIDS population of eastern North Carolina at ECU Adult Specialty Care, where she is also the Director of Clinical Operations. She is a board-certified nurse practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She has over 20 years of clinical research experience involving clinical trials for the development of new medications to treat HIV. She maintains the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry at ECU Adult Specialty Care for women who receive HIV treatment during pregnancy. She lectures locally, statewide, and nationally at HIV-related conferences and to community, student and provider groups. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1982. She completed a Master’s in Public Administration from East Carolina University in 1998. She received her Master’s in Nursing from the Duke University School of Nursing in 1998. She is most passionate about delivering direct patient care. She is devoted to community service and is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been involved in the clinical research industry for almost two decades. In his current role as a Clinical Team Manager at Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD), Michael manages government-funded clinical trials that focus primarily on HIV prevention, treatment, and vaccines. Also, at PPD, he helps co-lead a LGBTQ+ Business Resource Group and leads volunteer service projects for employees through its Community Affairs Committee.
Outside of work, he is passionate about community engagement specifically within the LGBTQ+ community. He is an active member of ReachOUT/Gay for Good, the Raleigh Business Professional Network, Triangle PLUS, the CARE Community Advisory Board and Open Table United Methodist Church. Through networking with community-based groups, he strives to build connections, increase awareness, and serve those affected by HIV/AIDS. Michael currently lives in Raleigh, NC and has an adopted dog named Bella.
Ciara Zachary is an assistant professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Prior to coming to NC Child, Ciara worked as a policy analyst on the Health Advocacy Project at the NC Justice Center and as health program director at NC Child. In addition to research and analysis, she worked with statewide partners and coalitions to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Through this work, Ciara began working with NC AIDS Action Network to fully implement the ACA by expanding Medicaid. She also has experience as a public health researcher focusing on injury prevention. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Ciara relocated to the Triangle in 2015. Ciara received her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, her Master’s from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.