Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presided over the swearing in of Eric Goosby, MD, as Ambassador at large and US Global AIDS Coordinator last night in an emotional ceremony that included numerous Goosby family members, including his wife, his two children and his mother. Sitting with Dr. Goosby’s family were Ambassador Mark Dybul, MD, and UNAIDS Director Michel Sidebe, both of whom Clinton recognized in her remarks. Among the several hundred guests were at least four senior government officials, including Director of the White House Office on AIDS Policy Jeff Crowley; Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew; Deputy Secretary of Health Bill Corr; and NIAID Director Tony Fauci.
Secretary Clinton’s remarks clearly underscored the personal and collegial relationship she shares with Ambassador Goosby. He is a “great doctor, and a really good human being,” Clinton said.
She spoke about their recent trip to South Africa and a visit to an HIV clinic, where she said Goosby connected with the clinic workers in a way that demonstrated his understanding of building and nurturing partnerships. Clinton also commented on the long road South Africa has traveled to come to grips with the HIV epidemic and the importance of the new government leadership in the face of the tremendous burden of HIV. She also spoke of PEPFAR as a platform for President Obama’s Global Health Initiative.
Dr. Goosby thanked his family for supporting him, as he uprooted his life to take this job. He said he wanted to serve in this role because of the strong commitment that both Secretary Clinton and President Obama have to the battle against AIDS. He noted that his involvement in treating HIV/AIDS began 25 years ago, but that the epidemic is still a crisis today, with massive unmet needs for prevention, treatment and care services. He said stigma and discrimination still fuel the epidemic, and he identified the urgent need for honest discussion and appropriate evidence-based interventions to respond to men who have sex with men, injection drug users, and the culturally-driven heightened vulnerability of women and girls.
Dr. Goosby concluded his remarks by describing the history of PEPFAR to date as the great work that can be achieved “when we dare to think big.”