Emory University will host one of the largest displays of The AIDS Memorial Quilt ever held in Atlanta on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2005. Sponsored by Emory Hillel, in partnership with other Emory organizations, the display on the Emory quadrangle will include more than 400 quilt panels, each memorializing the life of a person lost to AIDS.
The Emory community will come together for an opening ceremony at 11:15 a.m., followed by a public reading of the names on The Quilt panels on display. James W. Curran, MD, MPH, director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research and dean of the Rollins School of Public Health, will introduce the ceremony. The event will include the decoration and signing of new quilt panels and an information fair of local AIDS organizations. Emory Hillel invites outside HIV/AIDS organizations to bring educational materials and to enlist student volunteers in AIDS relief efforts.
The NAMES Project Foundation, Inc., the international caretaker of The AIDS Memorial Quilt, has been nationally headquartered in Atlanta since 2002. The foundation was established in 1987 as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with the mission of preserving, caring for and using The AIDS Memorial Quilt to foster healing, heighten awareness and inspire action in the age of AIDS. The entire Quilt weighs 54 tons and includes more than 45,000 panels dedicated to more than 88,000 individuals. Information about The Quilt is available at www.aidsquilt.org.
"It is very appropriate that Emory University should host this display of The AIDS Memorial Quilt," said Dr. Curran. "Emory has one of the largest and most respected multidisciplinary programs in HIV/AIDS of any institution in the country, including leading treatment programs, HIV vaccine and drug development, global outreach, and well-recognized programs in behavioral research."
"Jewish tradition teaches that to save one life is to save the entire world," said Michael Rabkin, Emory Hillel director. "For Hillel, The Quilt display is an opportunity to build community and inspire students to take action, as volunteers, advocates, peer educators. This project personifies what Hillel and the Jewish community are about -- social action, leadership and partnerships."
Julie Rhoad, executive director of The NAMES Project Foundation, said, "We are so honored that Emory Hillel has chosen to host sections of The AIDS Memorial Quilt on World AIDS Day. This display is a wonderful tribute to Hillel and Emory University."
Emory scientists and physicians have been at the forefront of research efforts to develop effective drugs and vaccines against HIV and AIDS since the early days of the epidemic. The National Institutes of Health designated the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) as an official NIH CFAR site in 1998 and awarded a five-year renewal grant in 2002. The Emory CFAR includes more than 120 faculty throughout the University working on some aspect of HIV/AIDS.
Many of the 20 scientists within the Emory Vaccine Center are focused on finding an effective vaccine against HIV. Emory scientists are inventors of several of the most commonly used HIV/AIDS drugs.
The Ponce Center, located in midtown Atlanta and part of the Grady Health System, is one of the largest and most comprehensive outpatient HIV/AIDS treatment clinics in the nation, and the inpatient AIDS facility at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital is a national model of excellence in HIV and AIDS care. Both facilities are staffed by Emory faculty physicians, fellows and residents.
For more information about the Quilt on the Quad event, visit the web site, EmoryHillel.org/AIDSquilt or contact Michael Rabkin, Emory Hillel director, at 404-712-9063 or Michael@emoryhillel.org. For more information about Emory's programs in HIV/AIDS, visit the web site http://whsc.emory.edu/world_aids_day.cfm.