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President/CEO, Paul Fitzgerlad Announces Retirement
April 1, 2016

On Thursday, March 31st, 2016 the true “change agent,” Paul Fitzgerald officially announced his retirement as President and CEO of AIDS Care Ocean State effective April 4. This gregarious, iconic radical has set the tone for activists, not only at ACOS but throughout Rhode Island, encouraging us to stand up, act up, be louder, and grow stronger than we ever thought we could be. Friends, family and Board Members and colleagues joined together for an intimate reception hosted by Dr. Lynn E. Taylor and Boris Bally at their studio in Providence. In attendance were Dr. Charles Carpenter, Dr. Alexander Scott, Dr. Timothy Flanigan, ACOS Founding President Father Raymond Malm, Fitzgerald’s his successor Kenneth Mayer and many others.  Fitzgerald was awarded as SuperStar by Administrator for Medical Services, Paul Loberti from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services as well as received citations from Council President Luis Aponte from the Providence City Council. Finally, Joe Reddish, Board Chair, awarded Fitzgerald the status of President Emeritus of AIDS Care Ocean State. 

            Fitzgerald has lead the HIV community through many organizations and programs dedicated to eradicating HIV and AIDS and servicing those affected. The journey began in 1987 when the Family AIDS Center for Treatment and Support (FACTS) was founded to provide care and support to HIV-positive infants, children, and parents, and to slow the transition of HIV through prevention efforts. Over the years, Sunrise Community Housing was established and the Education, Needle Exchange, Counseling, Outreach, and Referral (E.N.C.O.R.E) program was started to provide clean needles to IV drug users. Austin Place, a 15-unit apartment building, was constructed to house HIV-positive individuals and families. In 1998, the FACTS nursery and Sunrise Community Housing merged to form AIDS Care Ocean. The Broad Med Building was purchased to meet a demand for housing, counseling, testing, and case management. In 2003, ACOS launched New Transitions, a transitional housing program for HIV-positive Rhode Islanders at risk of homelessness due to substance abuse. E.N.C.O.R.E began providing viral hepatitis screenings as well as Hepatitis A and B vaccinations in 2005. During this time, Fitzgerald received the Peter Medoff New England Award for his extraordinary contributions in the response to HIV/AIDS and homelessness.  ACOS went on to develop two more ten-unit apartment complexes: Malm Manor and the East Long Pond Apartments. Last year, during the Annual AIDS Walk RI, Fitzgerald was the recipient for the Hope Harris award recognizing his many years of dedicated service.”
            Paul dedicated nearly three decades of passion and unconventional activism to these many successful projects. His spirit and tenacity continues to inspire us all. He will be deeply missed but we can only feel happy for him after many years of service. And if you know Paul, then you know the man will never be done working. Paul’s final task at ACOS is to pass the torch to its new President and CEO, Kenneth Mayer.
            Mr. Mayer holds an MBA with a concentration in health care and his career spans 40 years in human services as a therapist, trainer and administrator. His professional focus includes basic human needs, substance abuse treatment, and hospice. In the early 1980s, during his work with hospice, he assisted people coping with HIV and AIDS. Ken has counseled people living with HIV, their caregivers and populations marginalized by society including people of color, IV drug users and their families. As Ken believes, “People often require and deserve assistance that sees them as individuals, and services must help enhance human dignity with choice. There is power when people band together and bring issues to light, as they lobby government and health care providers to address and treat issues.”
            As the face of AIDS changes in Rhode Island, AIDS Care Ocean State remains committed to preventing the spread of HIV and providing housing and support for those living with HIV/AIDS in our community. The staff and board of directors look forward to the promise of new leadership and to increasing the organization’s impact on those in need of our services.

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