National Association of People With AIDS Honors Health Department's AIDS Institute for Positive Leadership

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 7, 2008) – Humberto Cruz, Director of the AIDS Institute within the New York State Department of Health, has been honored with the Positive Leadership Award from the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) for outstanding dedication to African American communities in New York State.

Mr. Cruz received the award at the association's "25 Years of Positive Leadership" reception in New York City on June 27, National HIV Testing Day.

Founded in 1983, NAPWA-US is the first coalition of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world as well as the oldest AIDS organization in the United States.

"I congratulate Mr. Cruz on receiving this prestigious award," said New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "Through his passion and commitment, Humberto has been instrumental in supporting and launching vital HIV/AIDS services and initiatives to people most impacted by the disease. As a public health leader in the HIV/AIDS community, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS have access to care and treatment."

"Mr. Cruz has served to actively reinvigorate and shape the future of the HIV/AIDS movement in America. NAPWA is proud to honor him as a recipient this year," said NAPWA President and CEO Frank J. Oldham, Jr.

Mr. Cruz has been with the AIDS Institute for 18 years. He was named Director in 2007, having previously served as Executive Deputy Director.

Among his major accomplishments are the development of enhanced Medicaid rates for HIV care, the implementation of client-centered programs that reimburse providers for the delivery of care to the uninsured, the development of managed care for persons with HIV, and the development of service programs that target specific populations impacted by the epidemic. He has also initiated HIV service programs that serve those who migrate between New York and other parts of the world, and programs that provide training and skills-building for persons living with HIV/AIDS to facilitate their participation in planning bodies.

Mr. Cruz's involvement in HIV/AIDS policy extends well beyond New York State. As an executive committee member of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), he has deliberated HIV/AIDS policy at the national level, most recently in support of the needs of New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS in the context of Ryan White reauthorization. He has also developed extraordinary partnerships within government, the provider community and the People Living with HIV/AIDS community.