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Amida Care Remembers Humberto Cruz

April 25, 2019

Amida Care joins partners across our communities to celebrate the life and mourn the passing of our beloved friend and colleague Humberto Cruz, a visionary leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS in New York State and nationwide.

A consummate public health professional, Humberto directed the New York State Department of Health’s (NYS DOH) AIDS Institute for five years and represented the Institute on the NYS DOH Planning Council. In more than two decades of trailblazing service there, he:

  • helped integrate HIV/AIDS treatment into primary care and developed a comprehensive continuum of care for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA);
  • worked to raise Medicaid rates and devise innovative client-centered programs, including managed care and SNPs, to improve health outcomes for PLWHA;
  • mobilized stakeholders across NYS, as HIV funding rose and fell, to effectively battle the epidemic; and
  • expanded the Institute’s mission to include hepatitis and other sexually transmitted infections, and to focus on epidemiology for a broader understanding of the epidemic.

At the national level, Humberto joined the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in 2010, providing recommendations on national and global issues and contributing to development of the first-ever US National HIV/AIDS Strategy. He also helped found and served as an executive member of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors.

The recipient of many prestigious awards, Humberto and the AIDS Institute were honored by Amida Care with an Excellence in Innovation Award in 2015, for supporting NYS’s development of the HIV Special Needs Plan (SNP) health care model, which led to the formation of Amida Care’s SNP, today the largest Medicaid SNP in NYS.

At a profoundly human level, Humberto was among a chosen few experts in his field who truly understood the burdens of stigma. He grasped the plight of immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people and those living in marginalized communities who are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Humberto was endowed with a rare talent for embracing a range of perspectives and for knowing how to connect with and reach people.

With sadness at the loss of our extraordinary friend and colleague and deep appreciation for his many gifts and contributions, let’s honor Humberto’s memory by rededicating ourselves to the work of ending the epidemic.