The White House announced the appointment of Harold Phillips to lead the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) on June 5, 2021. Ambassador Susan Rice, President Biden’s Domestic Policy Advisor and head of the Domestic Policy Council, made the announcement in a Twitter thread recognizing the 40th anniversary of the publication of the first reports of what later became known as AIDS. ONAP is part of the Domestic Policy Council in the White House.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Harold Phillips to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. Harold brings decades of experience in the battle against HIV/AIDS, and we're lucky to have him spearheading the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to defeat this epidemic… [President Biden] has called upon the nation to recommit ourselves to ending HIV/AIDS once and for all. I know Harold and ONAP will be instrumental to that effort.” –Ambassador Susan Rice, White House Domestic Policy Advisor
Mr. Phillips, an out gay man living with HIV since 2005, began work as ONAP director on June 7.
He most recently served as the Senior HIV Advisor and Chief Operating Officer of the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative in the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His work in the field of HIV/AIDS spans more than 20 years and includes past positions in both the federal government and in the community. Prior to joining OIDP, Mr. Phillips served as the Director of the Office of HIV/AIDS Training and Capacity Development at the Health Resources and Service Administration’s HIV/AIDS Bureau, where he had previously served as Deputy Director of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP). In addition to working with RWHAP recipients, planning councils, providers, and patients, he previously worked at NMAC (formerly the National Minority AIDS Council). Mr. Phillips also served on the CDC/HRSA Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STD Prevention and Treatment (CHAC) from 2003–2010. He has a Master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College in Michigan.
In a message to colleagues on his first day as Director of ONAP Mr. Phillips remarked, “I look forward to continuing the work we have begun to end the HIV epidemic. President Biden is committed to ending the HIV epidemic and has called for bold and accelerated steps to achieve this aim.”
He shared that as part of those efforts, ONAP would lead the development of a new National Strategy on HIV/AIDS which updates the HIV National Strategic Plan released in January 2021. This strategy will build on the existing plan, incorporate the priorities of the Biden-Harris administration, and include additional input from other federal agencies to help better address social determinants of health and improve health equity, he noted.
“I congratulate Harold on his appointment as ONAP Director and look forward to our continued collaboration to end the HIV epidemic,” remarked Kaye Hayes, MPA, Acting Director of OIDP. “His many years of experience working with both the community and federal partners to strengthen and enhance HIV services, policies, and partnerships across the U.S. position him well for his new role.” Ms. Hayes also shared that Timothy Harrison, PhD, OIDP’s Deputy Director for Strategic Initiatives and Senior Policy Advisor, will lead the office’s efforts on EHE. Dr. Harrison has served as senior HIV policy advisor at OIDP for many years. In addition to managing the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund, he has been engaged in the EHE initiative since its launch and was a key contributor to the development of the HIV Plan.