HIV Coalition Letter To Community


To Our Community:

As you know, there has been a lot of uncertainty in recent months about funding for health care, particularly at the national level. Threats of budget cuts for health care and prevention programs, attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and other actions are causing worry among people living with HIV/AIDS who access these federally funded programs and services so they can stay healthy and vibrant.

We want to assure you that efforts are underway to protect existing programs and funding, and minimize the effects of these threats to health care services that protect the lives and well-being of Oregonians. To that end, we the undersigned organizations, which have a long history of collaboration, have formed the Coalition of Oregon HIV Community Organizations. The coalition meets regularly to monitor policy changes and collaborate on ways to preserve and protect access to health care and services for people in Oregon living with HIV/AIDS. We encourage you to contact any of the coalition member organizations if you have any questions.

Coping with these uncertain times can be extremely stressful.  We want to help you take all steps necessary to stay healthy, strong and well. If you are experiencing distress or mental anguish, please take advantage of the following resources and reach out to those organizations with which you have established relationships:
Multnomah County Crisis Line – 503-988-4888

The Trevor Project – 866-588-7386
Trevor Chat – online messaging service
Youth Talkline – 800-246-7743
Trans Lifeline – 877-565-8860
The GLBT National Helpline – 888-843-4564
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800-273-8255
Line for Life – 800-273-8255 or test 273Talk to 839863
Alcohol & Drug Helpline 800-923-4357 or text RecoveryNow to 839863

Know that we are committed to our missions to continue providing access to services and health care that support communities and individuals living with HIV/AIDS so they can lead healthy and vibrant lives. Uncertainty at the national level won’t deter us from the important work of addressing the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Yours in health and wellness,

Tyler TerMeer, Cascade AIDS Project

Rene Yandel, HIV Alliance

Mika Mulkey, HIV Day Center

Margy Robinson & Jodi Davich, Multnomah County Health Department

Lillian Shirley, Oregon Health Authority

Mary Rita Hurley, Our House

Julia Lager-Mesulam, Partnership Project

Dr. David Eisen, Quest Center for Integrative Health

State of Oregon Awards CAP $1M for Prism Health!

CAP is thrilled to announce that it has been allocated $1M in Oregon State Lottery bonds to repay costs related to the acquisition and renovation of Prism Health, CAP’s LGBTQ+ Primary Care Health Center.

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D – North Portland)

“This allocation of $1M in lottery bonds for Prism Health is a significant statement of support for the LGBTQ+ community from the state legislature and our Governor,” said CAP’s Executive Director, Tyler TerMeer. “We are honored and humbled by this show of trust in the work we are doing to provide safe, affirming, and culturally effective health care to the LGBTQ+ community. Since opening in May of 2017, we have had patients travel from all over Oregon to receive services from Prism.”

“I am proud to have been able to support the development of Prism Health with these lottery bond dollars to increase access and quality of care for the LGBTQ+ community across Oregon,” said Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D – North Portland). “Cascade AIDS project has an incredible track record of serving this community and Prism Health is providing a much-needed service for LGBTQ+ people.”

The funds will be made available to CAP and Prism Health when the state issues the bonds at the end of the current biennium (early to mid-2019).

Download the full press release here: Cascade AIDS Project_Lottery Bond Press Release

CAP Welcomes New Board Members

CAP is pleased to announce the appointment of new members of its Board of Directors, as well as the full slate of officers for FY2018.

Joining the Board over the past fiscal year are Mikki Gillette, Jenn Klotz, Travis Marker, Dr. John Nusser, and Bil Spigner.

“Year after year, I am grateful that CAP is able to engage board members of the highest caliber to help us achieve our mission of supporting and empowering people living with or affected by HIV in our community and providing compassionate healthcare to the LBGTQ+ community,” said Tyler TerMeer, Executive Director. “We have a very strong leadership foundation in place and we couldn’t be more pleased to have these new members on board. Each of these individuals’ professional backgrounds and passionate commitment to our mission will bring insightful perspectives to our Board.”

Mikki Gillette is the Major Gifts Officer at Basic Rights Oregon, the state’s leading LGBTQ advocacy organization, where she works with individual donors, oversees grants and assists with events. A playwright and journalist, her writing has focused on the transgender community and her experience as a trans woman.

Jenn Klotz is responsible for Genentech Hillsboro’s community relations, government relations and internal/external communication and serves as Chair of the Genentech Hillsboro Diversity team. In her 8 years at Genentech she has been involved with CAP as a leader of Genentech’s Portland AIDS Walk team which has surpassed 100 participants the past few years.

Travis Marker is new to the Portland area and is a Master Practitioner Consultant for North Highland Consulting where he leads the People and Change capability for Oregon, Washington and California. Travis’ twenty-year plus career in Talent Management includes a Master of Education Degree from The University of Oklahoma and given him the opportunity to present and speak at events and conferences across the Nation.

Dr. John Nusser became a doctor to care for people who might not get the care they deserve, due to stigma such as HIV. He is a family physician who teaches and sees patients at Peace Health’s residency in Vancouver, WA. For many years, he has enjoyed volunteering as the medical director of CAP’s testing site in Washington. He is faculty with the Mountain West AIDS Education Training Center, and has published on HIV education. He has also served on the board of Project Access NOW and the Free Clinic.

Bil Spigner is an 11-year veteran of NIKE who works on the North America Store Operations team as a Project Program Director and has spent the last 25 years managing Flagship Retail stores across the country. Bil recently relocated to Portland to work at Nike’s World Headquarters, and has joined the Military Network team, which works to continuously improve the lives and well-being of all former members of the armed forces and their families.

Leaving the board are Leo Bancroft, Robert Goman, and Warren Jimenez. We thank them for their dedication and service to our community.

The slate of board members for FY2017 is listed below:

New Officers:

  • Nancy Haigwood, President, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Elise Brickner-Schulz, Vice President, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP
  • Karol Collymore, Secretary, Metro
  • Edwin Kietzman, Treasurer, Fred Meyer Stores
  • Bill Patton, Member at Large, The Standard
  • Robert Lusk, MD, Past President, Providence Health & Services

Devastating and Discriminatory Actions Coming Out of Our Nation’s Capital

The devastating and discriminatory actions coming out of our nation’s capital over the last 24 hours have been heartbreaking and difficult to digest. It’s hard to express the increased frustration, outrage, and sadness I am feeling today as I look at the impact that these decisions will have on our community, our friends, and our chosen families.
Today, the Trump-Pence administration launched a full-scale attack on our community when they announced, via a Tweet, that the United States would no longer allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the military.

Thousands of transgender people have served with honor and distinction in our military. They have risked their lives around the world to ensure our safety.
CAP and Prism Health condemn this announcement and we call upon the administration to reverse this repulsive and life-endangering action that not only undermines military readiness, but weakens our country and makes us less safe. We stand strong with our transgender service members and their families affected by this ban.
Today’s announcement comes as the latest attempt of the Trump-Pence administration to undo years of progress for the LGBTQ+ community and on the heels of another step backwards in our battle to preserve the Affordable Care Act for millions of Americans.

We are deeply concerned by the Senate’s continuing efforts to take away life-sustaining health care coverage and protections from millions of people who desperately need them. All of the iterations of this legislation threaten the health and well-being of people living with and affected by HIV. In a time when we should be working to end this epidemic, the administration’s actions are threatening to undo the work of decades of struggle.

Yesterday what passed was a Motion to Proceed on the healthcare vote. It was not a bill, but a motion for debate. This means there is still time to sway votes. This fight is not over.
These horrible attacks on what we hold most dear are meant to overwhelm us and to break us down. Instead they will focus us and strengthen the resolve of our resistance. Our voices must be heard across the country. We will not accept discrimination in our Military, or anywhere in our Country. We will not accept dropping health coverage from millions of Americans. We will keep fighting every day. CallEmailTweetShare. Together we can fight this; we can’t let up, because we will not move back.
Yours in solidarity,
Tyler TerMeer  |  Executive Director
Cascade AIDS Project | Prism Health

Remember Them With Action: Pulse Nightclub

A year ago today, the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando shook the LGBTQ+ community to its core and left us devastated, angry, and bewildered.  Each of us was affected by this tragic action in our own way.  Most of us read or watched the news of the horrifying events and thought about how it related to our lives.  Others, like our own William McKell, a Bilingual HIV Prevention Specialist at CAP, were more personally affected by the tragedy:

Where Pulse Nightclub was always a lively, enjoyable time for me, Latin Nights were especially so. I distinctly remember the first time I went to Latin Nights at Pulse Orlando and saw two men dancing salsa together in a crowd of people to “Lloraras” by Oscar de Leon. Their movements were so coordinated and in sync—to think about it still gives me chills to this day. The friends and memories I made at Pulse as a young college student would eventually help me realize my identities as a Latino and gay man.  To later discover that I had lost a friend and several acquaintances on that tragic night of June 2016 would strike fear into my core sense of self. Although I want to be able to move on, I cannot help but think about this as a brutal attack on both LGBTQ and Latino communities. We must not forget the importance of representing our culture in a way that honors the memories of those people who simply wanted to dance without fear or judgment. I cannot forget the names or faces of the people who lost their lives while dancing to merengue, bachata, and salsa. I am forever grateful to my friend Drew Leinonen for the life that he led by example, and hope to cherish his memory as I work to proudly represent Latinos wherever they might be. No one can stop the Pulse. ~ William

As we come together as a community to celebrate Pride, its important that we never forget our friends, lovers, sisters, and brothers whose lives were lost that terrible night.  I for one believe that the most profound way to honor their loss is through acts of service to our community. Last week, I had the honor of participating in the AIDS LifeCycle as a volunteer co-captain for the medical team supporting 2,200 riders as they traveled 545 miles down the coast of California. I will alway cherish the memory of working to support my community while being surrounded by the most incredibly vibrant, alive, and jubilant people from all walks of life.

I encourage you to find ways to honor those lives lost in Orlando through action in our own community.  CAP is joining a nationwide effort to honor the lives of the 49 victims. The focus of this effort is to take actions that create a safer environment for LGBTQ+ communities. Use the hashtag #HonorThemWithAction to highlight your own actions and to encourage others to act. Both the Q Center and Basic Rights Oregon have a number of events that you participate in including a blood drive and a community discussion on gun safety.

Please take a moment to remember those who lost their lives and then honor them with action, today and every day going forward.

Yours in peace and solidarity,

Tyler TerMeer, Executive Director

Multnomah County Awards CAP $200,000 to Prism Health

Cascade AIDS Project is proud to announce that Multnomah County has awarded $200,000 in operational support to support Prism Health, CAP’s LGBTQ+ focused primary care health center.

“Multnomah County has worked alongside CAP for three decades to serve the LGBTQ community,” said Chair Deborah Kafoury. “We’ve fought stigma together, we’ve fought for equity together, and we are proud to support this effort to further reduce barriers and increase access to health care.”

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury

The clinic will serve the full spectrum of Portland’s LGBTQ+ community, from patients with private and employee sponsored health insurance to Medicaid and Medicare clients. CAP will likewise prioritize inclusivity and outreach to communities of color and the transgender population to ensure that all members of the LGBTQ+ community have access to affirming and effective health care.

“Through Prism Health, CAP can build on its 30-year history of providing culturally sensitive services and expand our mission to include the health and wellness of the greater LGBTQ+ community,” said CAP Executive Director Tyler TerMeer. “We appreciate the generous support from Multnomah County as we open Prism Health’s doors in 2017”. Over the years, we have worked closely with the County on various initiatives and are thrilled to tackle this new initiative aimed at bringing health equity to LGBTQ+ individuals”.

Press Release: Collins Foundation Awards $130,000 To Support Prism Health

Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) has been awarded $130,000 from the Collins Foundation to support LGBTQ+ Primary Care Health Center, Prism Health.

“We are honored that the Collins Foundation has made this generous investment in Prism Health.” Said CAP’s Executive Director, Tyler TerMeer. “This is a clear commitment by Collins to health equity in the LGBTQ+ community, and the health and well-being of Oregonians overall.  Through Prism Health, we will remove barriers, improve access, and most importantly provide quality health care for all LGBTQ+ patients across the Portland metropolitan area.” 

Prism Health will open April 2017. It is conveniently located at 2236 SE Belmont Street in Portland, Oregon, and will offer a safe, affirming, and non-judgmental space where all members of the LGBTQ+ community can obtain the compassionate and culturally effective health care they need and deserve. In addition to comprehensive primary care, Prism Health will offer specialized services for the transgender community, HIV and sexually transmitted disease testing, mental health counseling, and integrated pharmacy services.

The Collins Foundation invests in local nonprofit organizations, both rural and urban, that are dedicated to improving quality of life and well-being for the people in their communities. Collins is committed to the pursuit of equity, both in how resources are allocated across Oregon’s diverse communities and how their internal structures are shaped. Their vision is for the state of Oregon to be a place where all people have access to high quality, culturally responsible services in sectors such as health, social services, education, housing, and employment.

About Cascade AIDS Project

Cascade AIDS Project is the oldest and largest AIDS Service Organization in Oregon and Southwest Washington. CAP’s mission is support and empower all people with or affected by HIV, reduce stigma, and provide the LGBTQ+ community with compassionate healthcare.

CAP Reaffirms Commitment To Equity By Creating New Equity Outreach Coordinator Position

CAP is proud to announce that it has created a new position of Equity Outreach Coordinator to address barriers faced by refugees, people of color, people living in rural areas, and others in obtaining the housing resources available for people living with HIV. In addition to direct outreach to high barrier communities, this position will also help inform CAP’s efforts to design programs for improved equity outcomes across the community. The Equity Outreach Coordinator position will report directly to CAP’s Director of Housing & Support Services.

Tyler TerMeer, Executive Director

“This important new position will work to address the very real disparities faced by some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Executive Director Tyler TerMeer, “The data we have collect over the past year supports our understanding of the barriers confronting people of color attempting to access housing and other services which often result in longer wait times and lower program participation. There are a lot of factors contributing to this inequity, including higher rates of criminal conviction and eviction history that makes it harder for people in communities of color to access housing. All of which means that CAP needs to work hard to overcome these barriers and achieve parity with white clients.”

“We know that HIV-related stigma is so high in some communities that significant numbers of people who know they are positive are going without treatment and services” said Angie Harbin, CAP’s Director of Housing & Support Services, “We also know that a lot of people, for a variety of reasons, face obstacles to accessing CAP’s services through our existing processes. And, finally, our numbers tell us that we need to be doing more to address the disparities in outcomes among certain groups of people. This position is intended to address these issues.”

The position will be funded with dollars from CAP’s federal Ryan White Housing contract that is anticipated to last a minimum of 5 years.

Download the full press release here: Equity Coordinator Press Release

March 20th Marks National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

March 20th is National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Unfortunately, new HIV infection rates having been increasing in recent years among American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Yet, rates have been decreasing during this time-period for white communities.  Our Native populations are disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic – a fact that is rarely highlighted even by HIV/AIDS-focused organizations. Part of the problem is the “other” designation on medical and epidemiological intake forms…

“Other” is oft the catchall phrase used to identify American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, and Pacific Islanders.  The generic label disassociates the stories, struggles, and resilience of these communities.  Behind the “other” are people, families, and rich culture and traditions.  American Indian and Alaska Native communities deserve the right, just like every other community, to be named.

Today on National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we urge everyone to remove the “other” label intake forms, reports, and all other means of demographic grouping. Those of Native populations, we welcome your distinct contextualized voice on the effect of HIV/AIDS in your life. To all others, reach out to your Native friends, neighbors, and colleagues with compassion and empathy – or listen to Native HIV stories and PSAs. HIV/AIDS is an enemy all individuals can rally against.

FamilyCare Awards CAP $80,000 To Support Prism Health

CAP has been awarded $80,000 from FamilyCare Health to support the opening of Prism Health, an LGBTQ+ Primary Care Health Center.

“FamilyCare Health has been a long-term partner of CAP, and we are delighted that they have made such a significant statement of support for the LGBTQ+ community by investing in Prism Health,” said CAP’s Executive Director, Tyler TerMeer. “This $80,000 investment allows CAP to complete the health center renovations and open in spring of 2017.”

“FamilyCare Health is proud to support the new Prism Health center, which will increase access and quality of care for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Jeff Heatherington, FamilyCare Health’s President and CEO. “Cascade AIDS project has an incredible track record of serving this community and the new center is certain to be an invaluable asset to the tri-county area.”

Read the full press release here: FamilyCare Grant Press Release