Monday, January 05, 2015

Ready to Ride into 2015

Is this thing on? Hello world...! Yes it continues at COP 24/7 as this platform rolls forward seeking to see if we can stir up any interest about "what's really going on and why you should care." Its a tough business trying to poke Arkansas' LGBTQ community into some sense of engagement that doesn't necessarily have to do with marriage equality. 

Although this forum supports those whom wish to enter into such nuptials, the fact is that there's so much else such as economic parity, job opportunities, and who is not at many of the policy tables that impact many of the decisions which affects us all. So COP 24/7 still stands in the digital gap as we seek to assess our final destination of this platform and its impact on our community at large.

Vacancy in the HIV House?

Talking about is this thing on, really speaks to the allegedly and abrupt mid December departure of Arkansas Department of Health  HIV/ Hepatitis C Section Chief, Ralph Wilmoth.

As these matters goes, "mums the word,"with as usual with most personnel issues, there's been no firm details, no press releases, no courtesy "see yall later," letter and apparently no "bon voyage," party despite his leaving via the holiday season.  What we do know is that Wilmoth's departing is just as mysterious as his arrival back in  March 2013. 

Also his vacancy continues what appears to a be a cursed position at ADH amidst a "revolving door" of management that undoubtedly keeps the entire process of addressing the issues of HIV and AIDS in Arkansas in a constant flux of uncertainty and constant re-booting.

This undoubtedly begs the question why is this vital section seemingly incapable of holding lead administrators for no more than a two year tenure?  COP 24/7 has regularly reported on the complexities and often "head spinning," operations that is not for the faint hearted. This platforms can speculate, pontificate and attempt to dissect much about "what did happen," but what we do know is that our state can not just keep loosing professional of this caliber.

Nor do we need to keep not fully addressing why such individuals won't stick and stay as yet another most likely "national" search gets underway. So is it money that is at issue?  Obviously not according to the state's online check book at Transparency Arkansas which reports Mr. Wilmoth's salary at $62,032.46 yearly. That's a nice pay day from Arkansas standards and certainly should be competitive for the area.

To Wilmoth's defense, he demonstrated a formal depth of knowledge around the issues of HIV and AIDS from both a national perspective meanwhile attempting to rectify "years" of haphazard administration and indefensible poor data reporting. Through his short lived leadership, he sought to move this department into the 21st century with new technology platforms to enhance data gathering and reporting.

He was instrumental in scaling up Hepatitis testing in local health clinics and participated in numerous local activities while engaging local advocates, activist and collaborated with Arkansas HIV Planning Group in a statewide listening 2013 listening tour. According to Wilmoth's LinkedIn page he has had a distinguished career serving state health departments in Kansas, Colorado and positions with the Center for Disease Control.

PFLAG Announces Meeting Changes

The local Parent's and Friends of Lesbian and Gays has announced their first 2015 meeting which
will take place Saturday, January 17th from 2:30-4:00 pm at Satchemo's Bar & Grill, 1900 West 3rd Street. According to Carla Coley, "the group is mixing up things and chaining their meeting time and location." It appears that the group decided to get a fresh approach to seeking more participation with sights on scaling up outcomes of their mission.

Their Facebook page cites, "PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families, and friends through support, to cope with an adverse society;using education: to enlighten an ill-informed public; and
Advocacy: to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights."

PFLAG provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.

Contact Info:
Open Enrollment ends February 15, 2015. Are you in need of coverage or understanding any changes that you may need for your current insurance plan? Call 501-379-8203 for updates, links and direct information for those in the LGBTQ community and beyond. Do it today!!


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