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Sunday, August 30, 2015

AIDS Walk RI Led by Top Public Health Official

Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD: “There is more work to do”
From Stephen Hug
RI Health Dept Director Nicole Alexander-Scott

The state’s top public health official is providing leadership for the annual AIDS Walk RI, happening Sunday, September 13.

Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, who was appointed the state’s director of public health earlier this year, will be an honorary chair of the event, which starts and ends on the Rhode Island State House lawn. 

Registration begins at noon, with a speaking program, including Dr. Alexander-Scott, at 12:30. The approximately two mile route steps off at 1 p.m.  Registration is also available on-line at

“From 2013 to 2014 in Rhode Island, the number of newly identified cases of HIV increased by nearly 33%. These data send a clear signal that despite the progress we have made in reducing HIV over the years, there is more work to do,” she said. 

“We are fortunate in Rhode Island to have great partnerships among state agencies and community-based organizations like APRI to continue our efforts to educate, test, and treat for HIV. The data remind us that we cannot become complacent.”

Joining Dr. Alexander-Scott as honorary chairs are NBC 10 reporter and anchor Mario Hilario and Dr. Philip Chan, director of the HIV/STD Prevention Clinic at the Miriam Hospital Immunology Center.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Alexander-Scott, Mario Hilario and Dr. Chan helping lead the way for this year’s AIDS Walk,” said AIDS Project Rhode Island’s Stephen Hourahan.  He noted that NBC 10 health reporter Barbara Morse-Silva will emcee.

Participants in the walk raise critical funds for public awareness, advocacy, testing and comprehensive services for people living with HIV/AIDS. “Our goal is to raise awareness along with raising funds,” he said.

AIDS Care Ocean State, a sister AIDS service organization, is teaming up as a full partner in AIDS Walk RI this year.  “We are pleased to join forces with AIDS Project Rhode Island to make AIDS Walk RI 2015 one of the best in the event’s three-decade history,” said AIDS Care Ocean State executive director Paul Fitzgerald.  He noted that this year’s theme is “Keeping Hope Alive.”

Free, fast, anonymous HIV testing will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a performance from the Providence Gay Men’s Chorus, the AIDS Quilt will be displayed, and there will be free food and activities. 

Event sponsors include Cardi’s Furniture, CVS Health,  Miriam Hospital/ a Lifespan Partner, Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI, United Healthcare, the City of Providence, MetLife, McLaughlin & Moran, NBC 10, GoLocalProv,  94 HJY and Coast 93.3 radio, Latino Public Radio, WBRU, Poder 1110, Latina 100.3, WJFD and WUMD.

More information about AIDS Project Rhode Island, a division of Family Service of Rhode Island, and AIDS Care Ocean State is available at and