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Health / Safety

CSU professor appointed to HIV/AIDS coalition

February 16, 2012

CSU professor Irene Vernon has been appointed to the Colorado HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention Coalition.

Dr. Irene Vernon has spent years studying how HIV/AIDS affects Native Americans.Vernon, chair of CSU’s Ethnic Studies Department, begins work later this month with the coalition, which was formed in 2009 by former Gov. Bill Ritter to advise the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regarding the best means to meet the needs of persons in Colorado living with HIV/AIDS.

“I have been working in the field of HIV/AIDS for more than 20 years, and in Native American studies since the 1970s,” Vernon said. “Back in the 1990s I became very aware of the health issues facing Native American populations, and I have been committed to fighting for Native American health equity. I’m hoping my work in this coalition will allow me to further that cause.”

Extensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS

Vernon, teaching at CSU for nearly 20 years, has written numerous articles and papers on Native American health issues. Vernon, who is of Mescalero-Apache, Yaqui and Mexicana descent, wrote “Killing Us Quietly: Native Americans and HIV/AIDS”– considered the definitive work on the impact of HIV/AIDS on Native peoples.

She hopes to bring a broad perspective to the coalition.

“I hope to bring attention to the concerns and issues of Native Americans and HIV/AIDS.  I want to make sure that we are not the forgotten, the silenced, the marginalized,” she said. “But I also want to bring attention to all people of color with HIV/AIDS. What piqued my interest was when I discovered that HIV/AIDS was the No. 1 killer of African American women in cities. That shocked me.”

Three-year appointment

The three-year appointment to the Colorado HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention Coalition is a renewable position.

Contact: Tony Phifer
Phone: (970) 491-7712