Carla Dillard Smith named as Interim Executive Director
Cynthia Carey-Grant, executive director of Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD), has retired after nine years of leading the widely respected women’s HIV/AIDS services/advocacy organization based in Oakland, CA. Ms. Carey-Grant describes her departure as bitter sweet. “I have spent the last thirty years as an advocate in support of women’s health and reproductive justice. I am proud to have spent the last nine years with WORLD advocating for positive change in the lives of women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS,” said Carey-Grant.
Deborah Royal, Co-Chair of the WORLD Advisory Board, says Carey-Grant’s contribution in the HIV community will be felt for years to come. “Cynthia has worked alongside countless advocates, service providers, clinicians and researchers on the front lines supporting women and families impacted by HIV/AIDS,”
Carey-Grant says she is proud that through her role at WORLD she has helped to shed light on women of color and trans women living with HIV as well as other women who are often marginalized in the policy debate, including incarcerated women, sex workers and others.
WORLD has named Carla Dillard Smith as Interim Executive Director.Ms. Smith joined WORLD in 2017 as Associate Executive Director. Prior to joining WORLD, Ms. Smith served as Deputy Director at CAL-PEP, where she oversaw strategic partnerships resulting in significant HIV resources in local East Bay communities.
WORLD is an affiliate of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a global organization that is also the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the United States. “AHF has understood the importance of partnering with local community-based AIDS service organizations that are crucial to ensuring better health care outcomes. We were honored to join in affiliation with WORLD under Cynthia’s leadership. I thank Cynthia for her service in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and wish her well in retirement,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “We also welcome Carla Dillard Smith as she steps to ensure the continuity of WORLD and its critical mission of service to the community.”
Carey-Grant’s departure from WORLD was effective starting September 7, 2018. She is expediting her original retirement date by a few months to play a leading role for the upcoming 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020) that will be hosted in Oakland and San Francisco.
Carey-Grant says women, particularly women of color, are too often left out of the discussion when it comes to creating meaningful strategies and policies that will improve their health and lives. She said she hopes to use her voice on the global stage to shed light on the many challenges women face to access care, including HIV/AIDS stigmatization, limited women-centered services, poverty and other barriers to care. Carey-Grant says the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area is an excellent venue to highlight these issues and to raise greater global awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS disparities in U.S. communities of color. She says she plans to stay actively involved in women’s health and rights issues and looks forward to joining forces with women across the country who are concerned about the attacks on women’s reproductive rights and other social justice and human rights issues.
Background on Cynthia Carey-Grant
Ms. Carey-Grant has served in numerous leadership roles in several prominent women’s health organizations, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America and as Manager for Women’s Health with The Permanente Medical Group where she worked to advance women’s health within Kaiser Permanente. Ms. Carey-Grant has also served as a member of the Alameda County Office of AIDS Administration Collaborative Community Planning Council (CCPC), Co-Chair of the Alameda County Prevention Committee and as a member of the CCPC Executive Committee and Quality & Data Services Planning Committee. She is a founding member of the Sankofa Collaborative, a national partnership of African American and Afro-Latino health professionals dedicated to addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS on African American women and their families.