Rosedale Medical, formerly known as Rosedale Infectious Diseases, has grown under the guidance of its founder and Medical Director Dr. Frederick A. Cruickshank into a regional leader in HIV/AIDS care. Now, with the opening of its Uptown Charlotte location, Rosedale has taken a major step towards broadening access to treatment for those living with HIV as well as the greater Queen City community at large. In recognition of World AIDS Day and to accompany its annual Life, Positively special issue, qnotes takes the opportunity to speak with Health Administrator Bernard Davis about the provider’s mission, the services it offers, and Davis’ own observations of the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Did you grow up in the Charlotte area? If not, how long have you lived here?

I did not grow up in Charlotte. I relocated to Charlotte in 2010 for work, and I was in the area for two years. I then relocated to Philadelphia, Pa. in 2012 to begin working on my Ph.D. I then returned to Charlotte in 2014. This time I have been here four years.

When did you join the staff at Rosedale? What does your job there entail?

I joined the staff at Rosedale Medical in 2014. Currently my role as the Health Administrator causes me to oversee the operations of the Charlotte location, but also oversee the growth of the organization. I am responsible for the development of the annual budget, contract negotiations and managing the managerial staff.

When you were a child, what did you see yourself pursuing as an adult? Have you always wanted to be in the medical field?

As a child I wanted to be a physician. Yes, I have always wanted to be in the medical field.

What led you to the decision to work with HIV/AIDS care in particular?

I was working as a lab tech, and one of my best friends was diagnosed HIV positive. I was aware of [HIV], but I didn’t know much about it, and I had an opportunity to interview for a position with the NC DHHS Communicable Disease Branch as a [Disease Intervention Specialist], and I was excited for the opportunity, and it led me into the HIV world.

What’s the toughest part of your job?

The toughest part of my job is juggling everything.

What aspect of your work do you find most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of my job is when I get to see my team and the patients/clients receive what they need.

What’s come as a surprise to you since getting into your present career?

What comes as a surprise is how our country has fallen asleep regarding HIV. Though it is considered a chronic illness, it is still necessary to be educated about the signs, symptoms and effects.

Have you observed any trends in the occurrence of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, or the experience of living with these conditions, in the Charlotte area?

The trends that I have observed in our area related to HIV and other STIs is how they continue to be elevated.

In your experience, what are the greatest obstacles to treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS?

Lack of access to care, stigma and fear.

What do you believe is the most vital change that needs to occur in order to improve quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS?

Education, access to care, acceptance and unity among those of us (organizations) who provide services/care for people living with HIV.

As qnotes reported back in September, Rosedale recently celebrated the opening of its new Uptown Charlotte clinic. How will this enhance the services Rosedale provides through its original Huntersville location?

This will provide patients with an opportunity to access the same level of care as they have received in our Huntersville location, but it will help to alleviate the transportation challenge of those individuals who are unable to travel to Huntersville. Also, the Charlotte location houses the non-profit arm RAO: Rosedale Assistance and Opportunities, where services such as housing, food and toiletry pantry, support group, as well as PrEP navigation services are available.

What do you feel is the most prevalent misconception about HIV/AIDS? What steps can we take to correct that?

“It will not happen to me.” The step we can take to correct this is education.

What advice would you give to a person who has just learned that they have HIV?

I would recommend they take a deep breath and relax. Then get into medical care with an HIV medical provider that makes you feel comfortable, and [that] you trust.

And finally, what would you like to see as the next step — for Rosedale Medical, for yourself, or both?

Our next steps are to continue offering HIV and internal medical care. We plan to develop more programs/services to meet the needs of patients and the Charlotte community.