Remembering Dr. Beny Primm
We are fortunate that Dr. Primm readily shared his expertise on both substance use and HIV with numerous colleagues, including those in the federal government. He advised several administrations on drug policy issues beginning with the Nixon administration and served as the first Director of the Office of Treatment Improvement (OTI) at the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA), the precursor to today’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Dr. Primm also served on President Reagan’s Presidential Commission on the HIV Epidemic, which issued a 1988 report containing 500 recommendations outlining a comprehensive national response. Subsequently, he served on the CDC-HRSA Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and STD Prevention and Treatment as well as the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. He is widely credited, along with Congresswoman Maxine Waters, as the architect of the 1998 Congressional Minority AIDS Initiative, which has allocated millions of dollars across the nation to help community-based organizations, research institutions, healthcare organizations, and state and local health departments address HIV and AIDS within the minority populations they serve.
Among his many HIV community leadership roles, Dr. Primm notably served as Chair Emeritus of the National Minority AIDS Council as well as Vice Chair of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS for almost two decades. He also was an advisor and mentor to many in the HIV field, which has helped establish his lasting legacy.
With great appreciation for all of his contributions to improving the health and well being of our nation’s citizens, we offer our sincere condolences to Dr. Primm’s family and many friends and colleagues.