aids.jpgA top official in San Francisco’s Department of Public Health was appointed by President Barack Obama today as director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.

Dr. Grant Colfax was serving as director of the HIV Prevention and Research Section of the city’s Department of Public Health prior to the appointment.

Colfax “will lead my administration’s continued progress in providing care and treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS,” Obama said in a statement. “Grant’s expertise will be key as we continue to face serious challenges and take bold steps to meet them.”

The Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) emphasizes prevention via education initiatives and helps to coordinate the treatment of citizens with HIV/AIDS, according to White House officials.

ONAP also coordinates with the National Security Council and works with international bodies to ensure that the U.S. response to HIV/AIDS is integrated with other efforts from around the world.

Colfax graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed his medical residency at University of California at San Francisco. He was a practicing clinician at the UC’s Positive Health Program, an HIV clinic in the city.

“I know Dr. Colfax to be a gifted and talented visionary,” Barbara Garcia, director of the city’s Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “I am grateful for him for his commitment in the battle against the spread of HIV/AIDS and his many years of service to the community.”

Garcia said, “President Obama made an excellent choice.”

Tracey Packer, deputy director of the department’s HIV Prevention and Research Section, has been named as acting director of the section, department spokeswoman Eileen Shields said.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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