Introducing the newest members of the Southern AIDS Coalition Family!

The Southern AIDS Coalition has grown in recent months! To experience such organizational transformation in these challenging times has required our team to stretch and strategize. While we continue to pivot to deliver virtual programs and effectively support our partners in the region, we are also building our muscles as a team. Meet the newest members of our team, who each bring expertise, passion, and big ideas to our work!

Ana Paula Duarte

Health Policy Associate

Ana Paula was born and raised in Brazil and has been living in the United States for nine years. She attended the University of Iowa as an undergraduate where she studied Health Promotion and Global Health. She worked as a Program Coordinator at the University of Iowa School of Public Health, working with HIV vaccination among Latinx communities. At her time at Iowa, she also was involved in projects that focused on rural health, immigrant farmworker health, and access to health care for Latinx communities. In 2020 she graduated with her Master’s in Public Health from Emory University. In her time at Emory, she gained a strong interest in health policy and started to understand the importance that the impact of policy had on the health of communities. This interest led her to take various health policy classes in her Master’s Degree and volunteering with local organizations. Ana volunteered with Georgia Equality that focused on policies for LGBTQ health and HIV/AIDS. She also conducted a formal needs assessment for Georgia Shift, an organization focused on improving higher education policies for underserved communities in Georgia.

These experiences ignited a passion for the work in health policy and helped her realize how important policies are to improve the health of communities, and how it can decrease health disparities among populations. In the past year, Ana worked in a project with Grady Memorial Hospital and Emory Medical School on the evaluation of Grady’s PrEP clinic, focusing on medication adherence and barriers to PrEP treatment. Additionally, she worked in an app development project, focused on PrEP locator clinics specifically for the Latinx MSM population in Atlanta. Ana joined the Southern AIDS Coalition as a Health Policy Associate in July. She is excited to join SAC and work on policies that focus on HIV/AIDS, social determinants of health, and social justice aspects that will contribute to efforts to End the HIV Epidemic.

Darnell Barrington

Director of Health Department Initiatives

Darnell is originally from Norfolk, VA, and currently based in Richmond, VA. He works to end the HIV epidemic in the South because the South deserves a fair chance. On why he works to end the HIV epidemic, he said, “The narrative that the South is disparate or inadequate is outdated. The South represents the future. So many great things and people come from the South. This can’t be denied, everything that folks from the South need is already here. The mechanisms are already in place and with a little support, engagement, and empowered people, the HIV epidemic in the South will come to an end.”

One of Darnell’s major goals is to bring a culture of care to every entity that he’s able to work with. In this work, he believes it is paramount to keep the clients and communities that we impact at the center, this should be the only focus. Along with increased education, he says that improved access and overall systemic change are what is going to ultimately end the HIV epidemic; and he wants to contribute his skills and abilities to this goal.

Marcel Byrd

Capacity Building Associate

Marcel is from & currently based in Atlanta, GA. He says, “As someone who’s been working in the HIV field for several years outside of the South, I wanted to finally contribute my insights from the field to my own home space.” His main goal as the Capacity Building Associate is to bring a social justice & health equity lens to the technical assistance we offer to our health department and community partners!

Marcel is a public health advocate bringing several years of experience exploring the intersection of HIV prevention, harm reduction, and health equity. Prior to joining the Southern AIDS Coalition as a Capacity Building Associate, Marcel was working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador and before as the Racial and Gender Justice Fellow at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). Marcel is originally from Atlanta, GA and has a bachelor’s degree in Social Policy & Gender Studies from Northwestern University.

Nichole Davis

Director of Finance

Nichole was born and raised in Birmingham, AL, but is currently based in Atlanta, GA. In response to why she works to fight the HIV epidemic in the South, she says, “I love the South, it is my home. I was born here, went to college here, and I am raising my children here. HIV has plagued my home for far too long. I dream of a day where the South is free from stigma, has high-quality healthcare, and adequate housing for those living with HIV. So instead of just dreaming about it, I decided to do something about it.”

Her goal at SAC is based on her belief that leadership is about motivating and empowering others to succeed. Her objective is to ensure that she creates an administrative and financial foundation for SAC that will allow the team to solely focus on doing the work in the community and being successful in ending the HIV epidemic in the South.

Torrie Shepard

Media Coordinator

Torrie is from Newport News, VA, and currently based in Atlanta, GA. As a young and passionate Black woman, she seeks to share stories that uplift & educate in order to shine a light on marginalized stories that would, otherwise, not be told. For the last three years, she dedicated her work to uplifting stories of relevance at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights as their Digital Media Coordinator.

As someone living with Crohn’s disease, she understands the importance of community and access to health resources that can change someone’s life for the better. She believes our health matters & wants to share resources through SAC’s platform that shows how people are thriving with HIV & in communities heavily impacted by HIV. Her goal as the Media Coordinator for the Southern AIDS Coalition is to create and implement a content strategy that reflects the five key points to the mission: (1) intersectional advocacy, (2) capacity building assistance, (3) leadership development and education, (4) research and evaluation, and (5) strategic grantmaking.


Capacity Building Associate, Health Department Initiatives

This position will assist in coordinating capacity building activities benefiting Ryan White funded health departments, service providers, and communities they serve. Application closes May 7, 2021


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