AHP News

July 17, 2020

It took years for Sophia Toh to find an organization whose mission she relates to and whose values align with hers. She joined AHP’s Community Advisory Board in 2017 and we are grateful for her thoughtful, unifying spirit.

Most recently, she was so impressed by AHP’s rapid switch to tele-health and essential in-person services for our LGBTQ and HIV-affected clients that her enthusiasm inspired other board members to join her in thanking each staff member with a gift. She wanted to the staff to know how much they are appreciated.

What drives a person to do service or engage in volunteerism and philanthropy? In Sophia’s case, her parents schooled her in the art of generosity. She remembers her first fundraiser at the age of seven, a school-initiated campaign. Sophia went to her Dad’s office to ask his colleagues to contribute, but first her Dad donated a very generous amount. He knew his colleagues would not want to be outdone so she managed to raise a record amount of funds for her school.

Ms. Toh credits her parents as clever teachers who demonstrated the value of giving. She describes them as exceptionally generous, for example, Asia is not a tipping culture yet her father always left tips. Her mother volunteers at church and in nursing homes and is continuously feeding people “she just keeps giving stuff a way,” Toh smiles as she thinks of her mom cooking giant meals to give the extra food away. She recalled being bribed by her mother with a whole box of chocolates to go to the dentist--on the...

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June 11, 2020

In 1991, when Dan Karasic, MD, arrived at the UCSF AIDS Health Project, now the Alliance Health Project, it was during the pinnacle of the AIDS epidemic. As a gay man who was watching the epidemic unfold, he set his sights on working in San Francisco and helping those suffering from psychiatric disorders as a result of HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Karasic received his MD from Yale University and trained in psychiatry at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, before coming to San Francisco and working with patients with HIV/AIDS at Ward 86 at ZSFG, one of the nation’s first HIV clinics. He also worked on the designated AIDS unit, Ward 5A for more than a decade. It was while working at ZSFG that he began his lifelong interest in the care and equitable treatment of LGBTQ and, in particular, transgender patients.

Treating patients in the early years of the epidemic cemented Dr. Karasic’s innate sense of justice and activism. He participated in peer review groups that eventually led to the re-writing of the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) to de-pathologize gender dysphoria.

As a co-founder and co-leader of the Gender Team at the UCSF Alliance Health Project, Dr. Karasic has brought his deep knowledge and understanding of the trans community to AHP and has served as a mentor to the staff. He has also been the psychiatrist for the Transgender Life Care Program and the Dimensions Clinic for trans youth at Castro Mission Health Center for the last 17 years. His work to improve the...

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April 29, 2020

To kick-off the Alliance Health Project’s new Art at Home space, we offer this piece on the role of creativity in our lives and the gifts it can endow us with, written by Maxine Hamilton, one of our HIV test counselor volunteers. 

In these strange times, our desire for connection, escape, and exploration has been magnified to its fullest. If we are essential workers, we are working and risking our health to provide critical care and goods and services so the rest of us can stay at home. You may have been furloughed or laid off completely, or trying to adapt to working from home, alone, or crammed into a small space with, kids, roommates, partners, and/or extended family.

There is grief and fear in this time. Loss of plans, celebrations, weddings, graduations and saddest of all, funerals. Suddenly we are all, across the globe, “stuck” right where we are. To cope with the myriad of feelings that are present during this time, I often ponder what resources I can rely on, both internally and externally to help me handle this deeply uncomfortable and unwelcome reality? Along with staying active and maintaining elements of routine, I keep being called to create more — to paint, write, tinker with jigsaw puzzles, cook, dance, and learn to play an instrument. At this time, when opportunities for connection feel scarce, the urge to create is a way of connecting to ourselves, other artists, and the communities we were engaged with. Creativity offers each of us a path to feeling and expressing all the complexities of our lives, and everyone has been touched by...

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March 23, 2020


October 20, 2019

Were you at the Art for AIDS Benefit Gala last night? It was fantastic! Here are your Red Carpet Photos.