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 Associate

Mr. Brune joined ACRIA in 2014, contributing to the success of ACRIA’s core events, supporting media development, and organizing auction logistics.  He received a BA in Communications and Marketing, with a concentration in Public Relations from Marymount Manhattan College. Prior to joining ACRIA, Sam interned at The DESCO Group. 



West De Leon

Administrative & Program Assistant

Mr. De Leon joined ACRIA in 2014 as an Administrative Assistant for the organization's Training Center and operations function.  In this capacity, he provides clerical, general office, and support services for ACRIA's Database & Development Manager, as well as ACRIA's training and education programs. Previously, Mr. De Leon worked for the YMCA of Greater New York



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

Associate Director of HIV Health Literacy Programs

Ms. Frederick coordinates and manages training and capacity building to strengthen community-based providers, public agencies and other organizations serving people with and at risk for HIV in communities across the U.S.  She has developed and delivered hundreds of trainings and technical assistance/capacity building services for a host of organizations in the U.S. and beyond.  She came to ACRIA in 2002 from the Community Healthcare Network, where she served as a Case Manager and a Treatment Adherence Specialist.  Ms. Frederick also sits on advisory boards for GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim.



Liz Gilchrist

Director of Special Events & Marketing

Ms. Gilchrist joined ACRIA in 2012 to oversee fundraising events and art marketing programs, and brings to ACRIA a diverse group of skills that include extensive fundraising, art marketing, and event management experience.  Previously, Gilchrist was Managing Director at Livet Reichard Company, where she produced fundraising events, benefit art auctions, and special projects for clients including amfAR, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, The New Museum, BOMB Magazine, and Waterkeeper Alliance.  She received a BA in Art History from Smith College and an MS in the History of Art and Design from Pratt Institute.



Robert Hughes.  Finance Manager

Robert Hughes

Director of Finance

Robert Hughes joined ACRIA as Bookkeeper/Junior Accountant in 2007, was promoted to Finance Manager in 2010, and was promoted again to Director of Finance in 2014.  Before joining ACRIA, he worked as Front Office Supervisor at the SoHo Grand Hotel and as the Whatever/Whenever Manager at the W New York Hotel.  Previously, he was a Whatever/Whenever Attendant and then Whatever/Whenever Supervisor for the W Chicago City Center Hotel.  Prior to working in the hospitality industry, Mr. Hughes served in the US Navy for 4 years as an Operations Specialist aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Constellation (CV-64) stationed at Coronado Island in San Diego.



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

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. 



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.



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

Hanna Tessema, MPH, MSW

HIV & Older Adults Technical Assistance Manager

Ms.Tessema joined ACRIA in 2007. She manages our city, state, and national capacity-building, training, and technical assistance programs. In addition to local and national community mobilization, Ms. Tessema also develops curriculum and has led hundreds of trainings for medical and non-medical service providers throughout the U.S. Prior to joining ACRIA, Ms. Tessema worked on infant mortality reduction and reproductive health issues at The Bronx Health Link, Inc. She holds an MPH in Epidemiology from NYU and a Masters in Social Policy & Evaluation from the University of Michigan..