HICKORY, N.C. — The AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance (ALFA) announced that they promoted Christina Kliesch from her role as executive director to the organization’s chief executive officer, effective on Jan. 1 of this year. She has been with ALFA since 2016.

In her new role, Kliesch oversees a growing budget and workforce, which currently includes a staff of 13 in three offices, as well as implementing several new programs, including harm reduction services, dedicated medical transportation and expanded services to minorities and individuals with substance use disorders.

“Under Kliesch’s leadership, ALFA’s budget and staff has doubled,” said ALFA Board President Laura Levinson. “With the greater funding she has led initiatives to expand our services to include screenings for the hepatitis C virus, acquiring a mobile testing unit so staff can better serve remote locations in our nine-county region and enhanced ALFA’s capabilities in offering patient navigation services for treatment for HIV, hepatitis C, and PrEP.

“ALFA is recognized as one of the leading HIV service organizations and received glowing reports during a 2018 HRSA audit for their prevention and care services. Working with the local Ryan White clinic, ALFA leads the state in retaining individuals in medical care and reducing patients’ viral loads, which leads to healthier individuals and also a lower risk of transmission to others,” Levinson added.

In addition, in November, 2018, ALFA secured a $50,000 Gilead Compass grant administered by the Emory School of Public Health  that will support expanding services and reducing stigma around HIV.“Chris came on the scene, evaluated the needs, formed a strategy and then made it happen with intense determination. She recognized that securing grants was critical so she taught herself how to be best in class at doing it, and then did it! We are so proud of Chris and thrilled at how ALFA is  positioned to continue to do their important work in the future” said ALFA legacy sponsor Mitchell Gold.

info: alfainfo.org.

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.