As an African-American woman with an explicit personal and professional commitment to improving the lives of persons impacted by HIV/AIDS—particularly women of color— Lerissa is driven to contribute to SisterLove’s rich culture of women centered trail blazing! She’s spent the bulk of her professional career engaged in a variety of HIV/AIDS centered work.
Most recently, she sat on a National Planning Body of the conference titled “A Paradigm Shift: The Impact of HIV/AIDS on African American Women and Families. This conference targeted the community, stakeholders, policy makers, and researchers and highlighted the urgent need to focus on persistent health disparities and HIV's impact on African-American women with a sub-focus on inadequate funding levels and insufficient dedicated resources for combating this phenomenon at the national, state and local levels. She has served as the HIV Planning Body Coordinator for the State of Georgia where she was responsible for the operations of a 53-person, federally mandated, advisory group composed of various HIV prevention stakeholders.
Through this multifaceted experience, she gained an understanding of how social, economic, and political barriers and facilitators’ impact managed care systems and health policy as it relates to HIV prevention, treatment, and care. Prior to moving to GA, she served as the Lead Project Coordinator and Analyst for the University of Maryland’s Medical School where Lerissa was responsible for data evaluation and management of a federally funded, 6-year NIH HIV/AIDS study while concurrently writing up the results of a previously conducted 5-year HIV/AIDS study.