Action Wellness elects four board members

Action Wellness elects four board members

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Action Wellness appointed three new officers to its board of directors as the organization looks to expand service to more individuals living with HIV and other chronic illnesses.

The board elected Rochelle Laws as president, Jefferey Alexander as vice president, Whitney Strickland as secretary, and renewed Frank Pittner’s term as treasurer.

Action Wellness, previously known as ActionAIDS, provides medical, vocational, educational and family services for those living with HIV and other chronic illnesses in the Greater Philadelphia area.

In 2016, the organization changed its name and broadened its focus from providing services to people only affected with HIV/AIDS to all people living with chronic diseases.  Action Wellness serves an estimated 4,000 people each year and offers a range of free medical and social services.

Laws, who has served on the board for the last four years, said the new members are focused on attracting more clients.

“The organization’s mission has changed in the last two years. We’ve grown in terms of who we’re servicing and the services that we provide. Our work and what we do hasn’t changed. We’re developing strategies to expand our reach to more individuals living with chronic illnesses while making sure that they’re receiving the services that they need and deserve,” Laws said.

Pittner said Action Wellness secured a majority of its funding through the 340B Pharmacy Program, which accounted for nearly 46 percent of its revenue in 2017. According to Action Wellness’ 2017 annual report, the organization took in nearly $14 million in revenue to support its services.

These services include: case management, medical and pregnancy care, emotional support, employment and educational resources and a prison program. Action Wellness’ latest program, Club 1509, provides men and transgender people of color preventative medication against HIV, as well as educational, housing and employment resources.

Strickland, who previously led monthly training sessions for incoming volunteers, said she would like to see more outreach events at senior centers.

“Older people are living longer with chronic illnesses and we need to directly address and engage them more,” she said. “We’re still educating seniors on sex and sexuality as well as discussing the resources and services we provide that enhance their quality of life.”

Pittner said he anticipates Action Wellness will service nearly twice the amount of people in five years’ time.

“Action Wellness fully utilizes its expertise in providing a wide range of meaningful services to people with serious needs but limited options. I expect us to double our clientele if we continue our momentum.”

Alexander stepped down from serving two terms as president and remains on the board as the vice president. He said the 2019 board of directors already knows how to work together in providing clients with the services they need.

“I’ve been involved with the organization for over 13 years. We’ve all worked together, we all know each other and we’ve all been part of the transition from ActionAIDS to Action Wellness. Our longterm board members really know and believe in our mission. That won’t change as we take on more clients.” 

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