Yuriy Akulov, MD, PhD. Senior Clinical Investigator

Yuriy Akulov, MD, PhD

Senior Clinical Investigator

Dr. Akulov manages and conducts all phases of clinical trials (I-IV) consistent with approved research protocols for drugs in development from a host of pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, TaiMed, Incyte, TheraTechnology, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Pfizer, among others.  He has extensive medical, research, and administrative experience, including fourteen years as a physician and senior researcher and more than two years as Director of the Science Department at the Central Research Institute for Dermatology and Venereology in Moscow, Russia.



César Angel.  Bilingual Technical Assistance Manager

César Angel

Bilingual Technical Assistance Manager

Mr. Angel began working in the field of HIV education in his native Colombia and has continued this work in the United States over the past twelve years, including four years at ACRIA. Additionally, he has worked as a direct service provider for people living with HIV at some of the largest agencies in New York City, including Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the Community Healthcare Network.



Benjamin Anderson Bashein. Deputy Executive Director

Benjamin Anderson Bashein

Executive Director

Mr. Bashein joined ACRIA as Director of Development & Communications in 2007, supervising all of the organization’s fundraising, marketing communications and public relations activities; and when he assumed the Deputy Executive Director role in 2012 his portfolio was expanded to include finance, operations, and strategic planning. In 2014 he was appointed Executive Director by the Board of Directors, and in this capacity Mr. Bashein provides organization-wide direction and strategic vision to advance ACRIA’s mission.



Mark Brennan-Ing, PhD.  Director for Research & Evaluation

Mark Brennan-Ing, PhD

Director for Research & Evaluation

Dr. Brennan-Ing conducts behavioral research on psychosocial issues affecting persons living with HIV and evaluation research. With over 20 years of gerontological research experience, Dr. Brennan-Ing brings considerable expertise in applied research on coping and adjustment to chronic illness in middle and late adulthood.  Dr. Brennan-Ing has been recognized for his research in the field of aging by the Hunter-Brookdale Center on Aging, Pride Senior Network, and the New York State Office for the Aging. He also currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the New York University College of Nursing. 



Sam Brune

Special Events & Marketing Manager

Mr. Brune oversees planning and execution of all ACRIA events, supports media development, develops marketing strategies for ACRIA’s extensive art collection and organizes auction logistics.  He joined ACRIA in 2014 as a Special Events Associate. He received a BA in Communications from Marymount Manhattan College.  Prior to joining ACRIA, Sam worked at The DESCO Group.



West De Leon

Training Center Program Coordinator

Mr. DeLeon provides administrative and logistical support for all Training Center programs and assists research, advocacy, and clinical trials programs as needed.  Mr. DeLeon joined ACRIA as an Administrative Assistant in 2014 from the YMCA of Greater New York and was promoted to Training Center Program Coordinator in 2015.



Dr. Jerry Ernst Jerome Ernst, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Ernst oversees all clinical trials conducted by ACRIA. He also serves as Medical Director for Amida Care, a Medicaid managed care HIV Special Needs Plan.  He has served previously as Acting Medical Director of the Harlem United AIDS Day Care Program, Associate Director of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary Diseases, and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center.  Dr. Ernst has been appointed Associate Professor of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and the American College of Chest Physicians.  He is Vice Chair of the Board of Bronx AIDS Services and has actively treated and studied persons with HIV since the start of the epidemic.



Lisa Frederick.  Associate Director of HIV Health Literacy Programs

Lisa Frederick

Director of Training Center

Ms. Frederick oversees ACRIA’s Training Center including New York City and State training initiatives, National Technical Assistance projects and all research-to-practice collaboratives. She has developed and delivered hundreds of trainings and technical assistance, and capacity building services throughout the United States with particular expertise on the Deep South.  She came to ACRIA in 2002 from the Community Healthcare Network, where she served as a Case Manager and a Treatment Adherence Specialist.  Previously Associate Director, Ms. Frederick was promoted to Training Center Director in 2015. Ms. Frederick also has participated on advisory boards for GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim.



Stephen Karpiak, PhD.  Senior Director for Research & Evaluation

Stephen Karpiak, PhD

Senior Director for Research & Evaluation

Dr. Karpiak oversees all of ACRIA’s behavioral research, including studies of depression, sexuality, multi-morbidity management and other issues affecting HIV-positive older adults.  He also currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the New York University College of Nursing.  Prior to joining ACRIA, Dr. Karpiak served for over 20 years on the faculty at Columbia University’s medical school as a research scientist in neurobiology and immunology. Dr. Karpiak has also served as Director at AIDS Project Arizona, Executive Director of the HIV/AIDS homeless shelter A Place Called Home in Phoenix, and Executive Director of Pride Senior Network in New York City.



Joseph Lunievicz

Deputy Executive Director for Programs

Mr. Lunievicz oversees ACRIA’s program arms, including Behavioral Research, Clinical Trials, Evaluation, and Health Literacy Programs, providing direction and strategic vision to advance the agency’s mission. Previously Executive Director and Training Director of NDRI-USA, and Director of the Dissemination Core for the Center for Drug Use and HIV at NYU, he has worked in the field of HIV for over 20 years, specializing in program development and the bridging of research to practice.



Mark Milano.  Publications Manager

Mark Milano

Publications Manager / Educator

Mr. Milano has worked with HIV service organizations in a variety of capacities for 25 years.  At ACRIA since 2001, Mr. Milano oversees the production of our quarterly international HIV prevention, treatment and policy publication, Achieve, and all other ACRIA publications.  He has extensive experience in developing educational materials (pamphlets, booklets, etc.) and in providing technical assistance and training for HIV and other service organizations.  Additionally, his expertise includes developing web-based trainings and tailoring existing curricula to web-based formats. 




Julio “Jay” Morales

Director of Finance and Administration

Mr. Morales joined ACRIA as Acting Finance Manager in 2015, overseeing all finance and administration functions at the organization.  On January 1st he was officially promoted to the position of Director of Finance and Administration. He comes to ACRIA with a BS in Finance and 25 years of experience as an F&A manager at a variety of community-based groups, including 13 years of program development and a passion for working with agencies serving at-risk populations.  In addition to his work with ACRIA, Mr. Morales serves as a member of the Quality Improvement Board of RBSCC Homecare Services in Brooklyn.



Sarah Ogden.  Development Coordinator

Sarah Ogden

Database and Development Manager

Ms. Ogden joined ACRIA as Development Coordinator in 2009, managing donor information systems and providing administrative support to the development team.  She previously served as Database Associate and Donor Steward, and Researcher for Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Junior Account Executive for Susan Ulin Associates, and Special Events Assistant for amFAR.



Marcus Gabriel Rodriguez.  Director of Institutional Relations & Individual Giving

Marcus Gabriel Rodriguez

Director of Institutional Relations & Individual Giving

Mr. Rodriguez joined ACRIA in 2011. He previously managed corporate and foundation relations for the International Rescue Committee and also served as Manager of Major Gifts for the Coalition for the Homeless in New York City. He has 13 years of experience in corporate and foundation relations and major gifts for social services agencies, grassroots community foundations, healthcare institutions, and humanitarian organizations. 



 Liz Seidel, MSWLiz Seidel, MSW

Manager for Research and Evaluation

Ms. Seidel joined ACRIA as a Social Work Research Intern in 2008.  After completing her Masters in Social Work at Fordham University, Ms. Seidel joined the Behavioral Research team full time as a Research Scientist working on a variety of studies, most especially those which focus on the psychosocial needs of older adults with HIV.  Prior to her work with ACRIA, Liz interned in the Social Services Department of Goddard Riverside Settlement House.



Levi Solimine

Levi Solimine, MPH

Training Center Manager
Mr. Solimine provides HIV Treatment/Care and Prevention Education to non-medical service providers and manages ACRIA’s New York City and State training initiatives. Prior to joining ACRIA in 2015, he spent over a decade working in the field of HIV. He successfully directed and managed a number of Capacity Building Assistance (CBA) projects funded by the CDC, NY/NJ AIDS Education & Training Center, and the NYS Department of Health, AIDS Institute. He began his career as an HIV test counselor, and also brings expertise in Transgender and LGBQ health. Mr. Solimine completed his MPH in the Sexuality & Health Track at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.



Hannah Tessema.  MPH, MSW. Older Adults Technical Assistance Manager

Hanna Tessema, MPH, MSW

Associate Director of Training Center

Ms. Tessema specializes in providing HIV Treatment/Care and Prevention Education in addition to overseeing all curriculum development for the Training Center.  Working from ACRIA’s West Coast office, Ms. Tessema leads training and technical assistance efforts for service providers throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area. She also leads national training, technical assistance and capacity building programs.  Prior to joining ACRIA, Ms. Tessema worked on infant mortality reduction and reproductive health issues at The Bronx Health Link, Inc in the South Bronx.  She joined ACRIA in 2007 as Technical Assistance Manager and was promoted in 2015 to Associate Director. She holds an MPH in Epidemiology from NYU and a Masters in Social Policy & Evaluation from the University of Michigan.