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Ron Simmons, Ph.D.
For over 20 years, Dr. Ron Simmons has served as the Executive Director or as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc. Us Helping Us began as a self-help support group for HIV-infected black gay men who would meet in their living rooms. Under Dr. Simmons leadership, Us Helping Us has become the largest gay-identified black AIDS organizations in the Washington DC metropolitan area, serving gay and same-gender-loving men, heterosexual men and women, transgender persons, and youth. Since 1992, he has raised over $23 million for the programs and services of Us Helping Us. In 2001, UHU was the first black gay organization in the nation to purchase and renovate a building for its headquarters and service facility.
Dr. Simmons is a writer, lecturer, photographer, and community activist. He was a member of the DC Board of Medicine. He has a B.A. degree in Afro-American Studies, a M.A. degree in African History, and a M.S. degree in Educational Communications from the State University of New York at Albany. In 1987, he received his Ph.D. in Mass Communications from Howard University and served on the faculty of the Howard University School of Communications for 12 years.
Dr. Simmons’ published works include: “Some Thoughts on the Challenges Facing Black Gay Intellectuals” in the anthology Brother To Brother: New Writings By Black Gay Men; “Sexuality, Television and Death: A Black Gay Dialogue On Malcolm X” in Malcolm X: In Our Own Image; “Baraka’s Dilemma: To Be Or Not To Be” in Black Men on Race, Gender and Sexuality; and "The Voice" in For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough. He was a field producer, photographer and cast member of the award winning film, Tongues Untied.
His honors include: the 2010 Life Time Achievement Award from the Black Gay Research Group; the 2010 Harvey Milk Alumni Award from the State University of New York at Albany; and the 2004 Heroes in the Struggle Award from the Black AIDS Institute. He was selected in December 2010 by POZ magazine as one of the POZ 100 most influential AIDS activists in the United States.
Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc. 1992 - Present
President/CEO - Responsible for organizational development and administration, fiscal oversight, grant writing, community and corporate relations. Us Helping Us is a 501(c)(3) community-based AIDS organization dedicating to reducing HIV/AIDS in the Black community and specializing in HIV prevention targeting gay/bisexual men.
Howard University 1986 - 1992
Assistant Professor - Responsible for teaching courses in mass communication history and theory; radio and television production; still photography; Black film; and research methods. Coordinated and wrote grants for special production projects.
"The Voice" in Keith Boykin, ed., For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough (New York: Magnus Books, 2012).
“Baraka’s Dilemma: To Be or Not to Be” in Devon Carbado, ed., Black Men On Race, Gender and Sexuality (New York: New York University Press, 1999).
“Sexuality, Television and Death: A Black Gay Dialogue on Malcolm X” with Marlon Riggs in Joe Wood, ed., Malcolm X: In Our Own Image (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992)
“Some Thoughts on the Challenges Facing Black Gay Intellectuals” in Essex Hemphill, ed., Brother To Brother: Collected Writings by Black Gay Men (Washington, DC: RedBone Press, 2007, Originally published - Boston: Alyson Publications, 1991)
---- Also published in Melvin Donaldson, ed., Cornerstones: An Anthology of African American Literature (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996)
---- Also published in Rhonda Williams, ed., Introductory Reading in Afro-American Studies (Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 1995).
CONSULTATIONS, PRESENTATIONS AND WORKSHOPS
“What is the Community Perspective,” Advancing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in Metropolitan Washington: Science-Practice Partnerships, Howard University, Washington, DC, April 20, 2012.
“Structural HIV Prevention Interventions for Black MSM: Research Possibilities and Best Practices,” 2012 National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and Other Health Disparities, New Orleans, LA, January 19, 2012.
“The Paradigm Shift in HIV Infection Among Black MSM: A Roundtable,” 2011 United States Conference on AIDS, Chicago, IL, November 21, 2011.
“The Paradigm Shift: Embracing New Scientific Paradigms for Effective HIV Prevention among Black MSM,” National HIV Prevention Conference, Atlanta, GA, August 16, 2011.
“The Paradigm Shift in HIV Infection Among Black Gay/Same-Gender-Loving Men,” 25th Annual Adodi Summer Retreat, Hamilton, N.Y., July 21, 2011.
“Responding to HIV/AIDS in Your Community: A Look at Best Practices in Service, Advocacy, and Programming,” Metropolitan Community Church Conference for Peoples of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies. Washington, D.C., May 21, 2011.
“Connecting the Pieces of HIV Policy, Healthcare and Community,” Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC, March 21, 2011.
“Faith-Based Initiative: Exploring the Role of Faith, Healing and Well-Being,” DC Metro Chapter – National Association of Social Workers, Washington, D.C., March 3, 2011.
“The Shifting Paradigm of HIV Infection Among Black MSM Communities and the Development of New Strategies for Culturally Relevant Prevention,” 2011 National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities, Brooklyn, NY, January 20, 2011.
“Local Perspective on HIV/AIDS: Epidemic in Washington, DC,” 12th Community Summit, ViiV Healthcare, Washington, D.C., October 8, 2010.
“Update on Men Who Have Sex With Men: Evidence-Based Approaches to Treatment and Current Epidemiology,” Annual TCE-HIV Grantee Meeting, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Washington, D.C., February 2, 2010.
“Expert Input Forum on HIV and Treatment in the African-American Community,” Merck & Co., Inc., Atlanta, GA, June 5, 2009.
“HIV Prevention in the United States,” United States Senate Staff Briefing, Washington, D.C., April 1, 2009.
“HIV Prevention in the United States,” United States House of Representatives Staff Briefing, Washington, D.C., April 1, 2009.
“Strategies for Overcoming Treatment Resistance for Minority MSM Populations,” Annual TCE/HIV and HIV Outreach Grantee Meeting, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Washington, D.C., February 18, 2009.
“Sweet Tea With HIV: The Taste and Its Meaning,” Southern American Studies Association Biennial Meeting, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, February 13, 2009.
“Integrating HIV Testing Targeting African Americans into the Prevention Programs of a Community-based Organization,” (Poster) National Summit on HIV Diagnosis, Prevention and Access to Care, Arlington, Virginia, November 20, 2008.
“Where Are We Now: Best Practices and Challenges,” A Community Response to HIV/AIDS: Summit for Faith Community Leaders, U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy, Washington, D.C., October 9, 2008.
“Evaluating the Adaptation of the POL Intervention for African-American Heterosexuals Using Barbers and Beauticians as Popular Opinion Leaders,” (Poster) United States Conference on AIDS, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, September 19, 2008.
“Sexualities: Sexuality Education and the Church,” Howard University School of Divinity, Washington, DC, March 12, 2008
“Adapting and Tailoring CTR, POL, 3MV, and Healthy Relationships for BGM in an Urban Setting,” National African American MSM Leadership Conference, Oakland, California, January 26, 2008.
“Finding Our Voices: Mobilizing Black Gay Men” (satellite telecast), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of HIV/AIDS, Tallahassee, Florida, January 16, 2008.
“Preparing for PREP: Issues and Perspectives,” National HIV Prevention Conference, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, December 4, 2007.
“The Adaptation and Tailoring of CTR, POL, and 3MV for BGM in an Urban Setting,” (Poster) United States Conference on AIDS, Palm Springs, California, November 10, 2007
“Understanding and Responding Effectively to the Needs of Clients Who Are Transgender,” Center for Mental Health Services Grantee Meeting, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Washington, D.C., October 31, 2007.
“Future Challenges For Black Gay Men,” Ujima Conference, West Palm Beach Health Department, West Palm Beach, Florida, October 13, 2007.
“Everything You Wanted To Know About Starting a CBO But Were Afraid To Ask,” Unity Fellowship Church Movement National Convocation, Los Angeles, California, October 4, 2007.
“Prioritizing Target Populations for Community Planning,” National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS, Charlotte, North Carolina, January 26, 2007.
“Voices of Our Reality: The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Our Lives,” The Black Church Institute on HIV/AIDS, The Balm in Gilead, Charleston, South Carolina, October 25, 2006.
“Programs, Administration and Management,” African American Gay Men’s Institute, HIV Prevention and Leadership Summit, Dallas, Texas, June 5, 2006.
“HIV Prevention and Treatment: The Science, Medicine, and Myths,” Clergy Leadership Summit on HIV/AIDS, Washington, DC, May 25, 2006.
“HIV and African-American MSM Health Care,” Congressional Black Caucus Health Brain Trust, Washington, DC, July 21, 2005.
“Honest Talk: Living on the Down Low,” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, Maryland, July 13, 2005.
“Community-Based Initiatives for Cultural Competency,” National Advisory Council on HIV Health Disparities, San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 24, 2005.
“Everything You Should Know About the Down Low,” Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, December 1, 2004.
“What You Should Know About Men on the Down Low,” Promoting Life, Health and Happiness: Preventing HIV/AIDS and Other STDs Conference, Howard University, Washington, DC, September 28, 2004.
“Men on the Down Low: Next Steps,” Ryan White CARE Act Grantee Conference, Washington, DC, August 25, 2004.
“Drugs. Sex and HIV/AIDS From the Streets to the Campus,” Howard University National Capital Symposium on Mental Health, Washington, DC, July 20, 2004.
“How Can HIV Interventions Address Stigma,” HIV Prevention Leadership Summit, Atlanta, Georgia, June 18, 2004.
“Men on the DL: Implications for the African-American Community,” HIV Prevention Leadership Summit, Atlanta, Georgia, June 17, 2004.
“Rising Up From the Down Low,” Black Alcoholism and Addictions Institute, Washington, DC, June 12, 2004.
“Cultural Competency: Reaching Black MSM,” Hennepin County Department of Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 27, 2004.
“Effective Prevention Strategies to African Americans,” Treatment and Care and Prevention Subcommittees, President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, Washington, DC, May 25, 2004.
“Reaching Black MSM,” GlaxoSmithKline, San Diego, California, May 14, 2004.
“Everything you wanted to know about building a CBO but were afraid to ask,” Mississippi Urban Research Center, Jackson, Mississippi, March 13, 2004.
“What You Need to Know: Living on the Down Low,” Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland, February 18, 2004.
“An Unique Approach to HIV Prevention for Black MSM Using the Internet” (A Poster), United States Conference On AIDS, New Orleans, LA, September 19 & 20, 2003.
“Living on the Down Low – The Male Perspective,” Psychiatric Institute of Washington, Washington, D.C., September 12, 2003.
“Outreaching to MSM Who Are On the Down Low,” AIDS Community Resources, Inc., Syracuse, New York, August 22, 2003.
“Delivering Culturally Competent Health Care on Campus: Meeting the Needs of Diverse Communities,” Academy for Educational Development, Washington, D.C., March 7, 2003.
“Current Challenges in Implementing HIV Prevention for Gay and Bisexual Men,” United States Conference on AIDS, Anaheim, California, September 19, 2002.
“Developing a Comprehensive Program for Effective HIV Prevention Among MSM of African Descent,” Seventh Annual African American Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS, Louisville, Kentucky, August 10, 2002
“Culturally-Based Strategies for Delivering HIV Prevention Services to African Americans,” 34th Annual International Convention of the Association of Black Psychologists, San Diego, California, August 8, 2002.
“HIV Holistic Health Maintenance,” People of Color Leadership Forum, San Diego, California, April 5, 2002.
“HIV Prevention for MSM of African Descent,” 11th Annual Florida HIV Conference, Orlando, Florida, March 8, 2002.
“Homophobia Is Still Everybody’s Business,” AIDS Summit, Jacksonville, Florida, February 22, 2002.
“Special Populations At-Risk For HIV,” Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference Health Braintrust, Washington, D.C., September 27, 2001.
“Holistic Approaches to HIV Treatment,” National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum Conference, Oakland, California, February 15, 2001.
“Holistic Approaches to HIV Health Maintenance,” National Minority AIDS Education and Training Center, Washington, D.C., July 12, 2000.
“Treating Men Who Have Sex With Men,” Mid-Florida Center Conference: Treating Persons With HIV/AIDS, Substance Related and Mental Disorders, Orlando, Florida, June 29, 2000.
“Homophobia, Substance Abuse and HIV in the African-American Community,” Lonnie E. Mitchell National HBCU Substance Abuse Consortium, Baltimore, Maryland, April 7, 2000.
“The ‘Down Low’ HIV Telephone Help Line: An Effective HIV Prevention Intervention For African American MSM Who Do Not Consider Themselves To Be Gay Or Bisexual,” United States Conference on AIDS, Denver, Colorado, November 6, 1999.
“How to Build a Successful Program on a Small Budget,” HIV/AIDS Prevention and Service Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 6, 1999.
“Addressing the HIV Epidemic: An Examination of Our Efforts For Black MSM,” Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference, Washington, D.C., September 16, 1999.
“HIV Prevention Program Development,” Brothers Supporting Brothers: Mississippi’s African American MSM HIV/AIDS Forum, Jackson, Mississippi, July 16, 1999.
“AIDS Outreach Strategies in the African American Community,” National HBCU Substance Abuse Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, April 30, 1999.
“HIV and the Black Gay Community,” Gay Men of African Descent Conference, New York, New York, April 10, 1999.
“Nutrition Despite Poverty in Developed Countries,” 12th World AIDS Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, June 30, 1998.
“A Comprehensive Approach to Prevention Programs for Black Gay and Bisexual Men,” U.S. Conference on AIDS, Dallas, Texas, October 30, 1998.
“HIV Prevention Programs for Gay Men of Color,” 10th Annual Delaware HIV/STD Conference, Wilmington, Delaware, November 6, 1997.
“Homophobia in Black Cultural Nationalist Literature,” 4th Annual Lesbian, Bisexual and Gay Studies Conference, Harvard University, October 27, 1990.
2011 - Present Community Advisory Board, DC Developmental Center for AIDS Research, Washington, D.C.
2006 - Present Executive Committee, National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition, Washington, D.C.
2001 - 2012 District of Columbia Board of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
2003 - 2010 HIV Prevention Community Planning Committee, Washington, D.C.
2003 - 2004 Mayor’s Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS, Washington, D.C.
1997 - 2004 Metropolitan Washington Regional HIV Health Services Planning Council, Washington, D.C.
AWARDS AND HONORS
“2010 Harvey Milk Alumni Award,” Gender and Sexuality Concerns Office of the Student Association, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, New York'
“2010 Lifetime Achievement Award,” The Black Gay Research Group, Atlanta, Georgia
“2008 AIDS Walk Courage Award,” Whitman-Walker Clinic, Washington, D.C.
“2008 Black Vanguard Award,” Black Aesthetics Institute, Washington, D.C.
“2004 Heroes in the Struggle Award,” Black AIDS Institute, Los Angeles, California
Ph.D. Mass Communications; Howard University 1987
M.S. Educational Communications; State University of New York at Albany 1979
M.A. African History; State University of New York at Albany 1978
B.A. Afro-American Studies (Cum Laude), State University of New York at Albany 1972
Certificate AIDS Prevention For African Americans: A Training of Trainers Program. Washington, D.C., Advanced Resource Technologies, Inc., Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 1993
Certificate AIDS Prevention For High Risk Adolescents, Washington, D.C., Westover Consultant, Inc., Center for Substance Abuse Treatment 1993