CONTACT: Joni Bishop, Director of Development, BEBASHI, 215-769-3561


Event commemorates World AIDS Day


Philadelphia - On Thursday, December 2nd, BEBASHI will hold its 8th Annual John Allen Blue Award event honoring Estelle B. Richman and Dr. Helene D. Gayle. This event, also commemorating World AIDS Day, will be held at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Monique Braxton of NBC 10 will serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening. Invited guests include Governor Edward Rendell and Mayor John F. Street.

This event will feature art from South Africa called Body Maps. Body Maps are life sized renderings that use painting, words, and photographs where thirteen remarkable women step out of their shadows to tell their stories of living with HIV.

The John Blue Award was created in 1997 and is BEBASHI'S opportunity to recognize and honor the individual who, over the years, has shown outstanding leadership and support to the HIV/AIDS community, is exemplary, and serves as a model for today's youth. Previous recipients of the John Blue Award include Congresswoman Maxine Waters, noted HIV/AIDS researchers Drs. John and Loretta Jemmott, and actress/activist Sheryl Lee Ralph. This year's recipients clearly demonstrate their continuing commitment to the communities they serve.

Estelle B. Richman, Secretary for Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, was appointed in January 2003 by Governor Edward G. Rendell. Her career spans more than 25 years of public service, including her most recent position as the first female Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia, responsible for oversight of 13 city departments. Ms. Richman also served as the first Director of Social Services for the City of Philadelphia. Her efforts led to a more integrated and coordinated system of delivery to ensure that health and social services for Philadelphia's children, adults and families are provided in a more effective and efficient way. Other positions held by Ms. Richman include the City of Philadelphia's Commissioner of Public Health and Deputy Commissioner for Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services; Southeast Area Director for the Office of Mental Health in the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare; and Assistant Director with the Positive Education Program (PEP) in Ohio. She also is the recipient of the 1998 Ford Foundation/Good Housekeeping Award for Women in Government. In addition, Behavioral Health System, largely created by Estelle Richman, was named a winner of the 1999 Innovations in American Government from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Dr. Helene D. Gayle is the Director of the HIV, TB and Reproductive Health Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In this capacity, Dr. Gayle is responsible for research, program and policies related to HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis for the Foundation. Prior to assuming her position at the Foundation, she was the Director for the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP), at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. During her tenure at the CDC, Dr. Gayle was involved in studying problems of malnutrition in children in the United States and internationally, evaluating and implementing child survival programs in Africa and working on HIV/AIDS research, programs and policy. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the Council on Foreign Relations. She has served as a health consultant to international agencies including the World Health organization, UNICEF, the World Bank and UNAID, and has worked extensively in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

BEBASHI was founded in 1985, due to the alarming increase of HIV/AIDS in the African American community of Philadelphia. BEBASHI provides street outreach, HIV, STD and pregnancy testing and counseling, Prevention Education, Case Management, Housing Counseling, Care Outreach, Support Groups, Food Cupboard, and have developed culturally-appropriate models of sexual health education all of which have been models for similar programs throughout the nation. We serve 15,000 annually and all of our services are free of charge. In fact, next year we will be celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the first minority based AIDS service organization in the United States! Our mission is to provide culturally sensitive health related information, direct service, research, and technical assistance to the urban community.

For more information, please contact:
Joni Bishop, Director of Development, by calling 215-769-3561 x 140.

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