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A community begins with a common bond, a set of shared interests and
beliefs, and a vision. People build that community. Meet our people.
Dawn Averitt, Founder and President of the Board
Dawn Averitt is the Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors for The Well
Project, a non-profit organization formed in 2002 to improve the lives of women
living with HIV and AIDS and change the course of the AIDS pandemic through a
comprehensive focus on treatment and prevention for women. Dawn was diagnosed
with HIV in 1988 at age 19 and has since become one of the nation’s most
prominent HIV and AIDS advocates as well as an accomplished speaker and
published writer on women’s health issues. As the founder of the Women’s Research Initiative on
HIV/AIDS (WRI), Dawn has been instrumental in shifting the research
paradigm to include more women and people of color.
In 2010, Dawn was named to the Presidential Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS
(PACHA). Her numerous board and panel affiliations range from a Food and Drug
Administration Advisory Panel to several NIH Working Groups. Dawn is a member
of the Perinatal HIV Guidelines Working Group as well as a member of the Office
of AIDS Research Advisory Council. She has served on the organizing committees
of several important scientific conferences, such as the Conference on
Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections and the National Women and HIV
Conference. Dawn also serves as an advisory board member for most of the
pharmaceutical companies involved in the HIV arena. In July 2007, Dawn received
a Women Leading Global Change Award from the World YWCA for her leadership in
the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Richard Averitt, Co-Founder
Richard Averitt joined The Well Project (TWP) in early 2002 to help his
sister, Dawn, evolve the vision of TWP into a sustainable public service
organization. He now acts as the chief technology strategist for The Well
Project and is spearheading the development of a global TWP web portal.
Richard has been creating and managing businesses for 15 years as either a
partner or proprietor in various industries. He is delighted to apply his
business knowledge towards a cause that will benefit real people, in very real
ways, in their everyday lives.
Shalini Eddens, Executive Director
Shalini Eddens joined The Well Project in February 2011 as the Executive
Director, bringing over 10 years of leadership experience in direct service,
training and education and advocacy for women living with HIV. Most recently,
Shalini served as the Director of Education and Training at WORLD (Women
Organized to Respond To Life Threatening Diseases), a national organization by
and for women living with and affected by HIV providing support, education and
advocacy. During her tenure at WORLD, she was responsible for the design and
delivery of the Lotus Project, a national women’s peer education training and
capacity building program. She also led the design and oversight to a number of
local and international projects, including a replication of HIV University in
Prior to WORLD, Shalini was the Women’s Program Director at Project Inform,
a national HIV treatment education and advocacy organization. In 2005, she was
invited by the U.S. State Department to India, where she served as a
representative of the U.S. government to provide HIV expertise to
organizations, social workers, students and medical providers working on
Shalini is an emerging leader with a deep personal commitment for seeing
change in her community. As a multiracial woman with in-depth experience as an
educator and advocate for HIV-positive women, she has deep understanding of the
unique needs of women living with HIV. Shalini’s work is known nationally for
its innovation, cultural relevance, and woman-centered approach. Shalini
received her Masters in Public Health from Emory University Rollins School of
Krista Martel, Director of Online Services
Krista Heitzman Martel oversees The Well Project’s online resources
including the web portal, social media, A Girl Like Me blog and e-newsletter,
as well as the mobile application launched in 2012. Krista began working in the
area of HIV education in 1995, shortly after her sister was diagnosed with HIV.
Struck by the amount of stigma attached to the disease, as well as the lack of
available resources for women living with HIV at that time, Krista was inspired
to focus her career’s efforts on advocacy for HIV+ women, reducing stigma, as
well as providing easy-to-use and language-appropriate information to people
living with HIV and their providers. Today, Krista is excited to see and
participate in advancements in HIV treatment, research and the quality of
life for many living with HIV, but the ongoing social stigma, ever-increasing
rates of infection in women and lack of universal treatment access continue to
fuel her passion for her work at TWP.
Prior to her work at TWP, Krista helped develop and implement
several women's peer treatment education training programs for HIV+ women
in partnership with W.O.R.L.D., assisting in training over 40 teams of women
across the US to conduct 'HIV Universities' in their communities. Krista
also was the Vice President at Visionary Health Concepts, where she supervised
the production of over 40 topical low-literacy educational
booklets/comic books in English and Spanish related to HIV and hepatitis.
Tonia Poteat, MMSc, PA-C, MPH, Medical Editor
Tonia Poteat has been involved in the fight against AIDS since 1989 when she
began volunteering at an AIDS service organization while in college. She is a
certified HIV Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine. She has
devoted her clinical practice to providing compassionate, knowledgeable medical
care to people with HIV since 1996. She serves as a consultant clinical trainer
for the Southeast AIDS Training and Education Center as well as the Region III
STD/HIV Prevention Training Center. She currently cares for patients at Chase
Brexton Health Services in Baltimore while completing her PhD at Johns Hopkins
School of Public Health.
Ms. Poteat graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor’s degree in
Biology in 1991. She received a Master of Medical Science degree from Emory
University’s Physician Assistant Program in 1995 and a Master of Public Health
from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory in 2005.
Kim Reed, The Well Project Board Member
CEO/Managing Director at Reed International Law & Consulting,
Kim specializes in international business law, such as mergers &
acquisitions, corporate governance and compliance, emerging markets,
infrastructure/project finance, international litigation and arbitration, and
advising nonprofit organizations and start-up companies. Her expertise is in
Russian and central/eastern European countries, but has worked on transactions
and litigation on six continents and over 30 countries. In her consulting
practice, Kim has also advised presidential and other national candidates
around the world on creating field operations/campaigns among expat populations
outside their home countries. She is admitted to the bars of Washington, DC,
Maryland and California, as well as several federal courts.
Maura Riordan, The Well Project Board Member
Deputy Director of Access, Advocacy & Innovation for AIDS United
Ms. Riordan's HIV/AIDS work spans back to the late 1980's when she began
working with gay men who were dying of AIDS. Before her current job with AIDS
United (previously National AIDS Fund), she served as Executive Director of
Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD) for 7 years.
Through working with both HIV+ gay men and HIV+ women, Maura has seen how
gender inequities, racism, poverty and homophobia are fueling the HIV epidemic.
She has dedicated a significant amount of work to raising the profile of HIV+
women in the epidemic and working to stop a trajectory for American women that
mirrors the global reality of women serving as the majority of those infected
Valerie Scott, The Well Project Board Member
Managing Director at The Strategic Continuum Company
Valerie has over 18 years of strategic business planning and tactical
execution with a primary focus on patient and consumer communications,
including grass-roots and community-based initiatives including the development
of the HIV University Peer-Based Treatment Education Training Program, which
helped 40 teams of women start peer-based treatment education programs in their
communities. While she has worked in several specialty disease areas, Valerie
has largely concentrated in HIV disease, helping pharma and biotech companies
better engage patients in accessing HIV treatment.
Women's Research Initiative on HIV/AIDS (WRI) View the bios of our WRI members
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