July 14, 2006

ASC Executive Director Sharen I. Duke (center, right) presents to the Thai delegation about ASC's mission and history as AIDS Institute Medical Director Bruce Agins, MD (center, left) looks on.

On Tuesday, May 30, Dr. Bruce Agins, the Medical Director of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, brought a delegation of health officials from Thailand's Health Ministry to visit ASC and learn how community-driven AIDS service organizations operate here in the United States.

"I selected ASC to host the visit by the Thai delegation because ASC offers programs that are comprehensive, innovative and make a difference in people's lives," explains Dr. Agins. "One of ASC's strengths is its ability to adapt and implement creative programming, especially peer training. ASC responds rapidly to changes in the healthcare environment and effectively partners with other organizations to maximize service options for their clients. These models are on the cutting edge of service design and delivery."

ASC staff and peer educators greeted the Thai delegation with an agency tour and presentations on ASC's programs and history. This was followed by an informative discussion of the challenges community agencies face in trying to sustain relevant, useful services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the context of changing needs and funding challenges. "We focused on our peer education and training services as both a cost-saving and life-saving model of HIV prevention education that is replicable across high-need communities," explains ASC Executive Director/CEO Sharen Duke.

Upon departing, the Thai delegation made a moving presentation of pewter goblets of fire to ASC as a token of thanks for hosting the visit. "The information we learned is very useful," remarked delegation member Dr. Sombat Thanprasertsuk. "ASC has provided an excellent service to the community. Participation from their clients is remarkable. Management is efficient and effective. We hope we will be able to visit again, or host ASC's staff sometime in the future."

"With ASC's focus on local service delivery in a city that leads the nation in new HIV/AIDS cases, information exchanges of this sort are vital to maintaining a global perspective," observes Sharen Duke. "Our visit from the Thai delegation was a vivid reminder that when it comes to fighting the worldwide pandemic of HIV/AIDS, we're all in this together."

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