Rev. Dr. Michael Paul Melendez is Professor of Social Work at Salem State University. He is the former associate bureau director of the Bureau of Addictions for the Boston Public Boston Public Health Commission and former Professor of Social Work at Simmons College. Dr. Melendez has been a long standing AIDS Activist since 1985 having served on the boards of AIDS Action Committee, the Latino Health Institute and the Women of Color AIDS Council, United Ways AIDS task force for location. He is the receipt of the 25 Years/25 People- Honoree Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the “From All Walks” AIDS Walk 2010. Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education MA Chapter 2006, The AIDS Action Spirit Award, 2000 and the Elizabeth Ramos AIDS Activist Award. Finally he is an ordained deacon for the Episcopal Dioceses of Massachusetts.
Virginia Anderson is an Assistant Professor of Theater at Connecticut College where she teaches a variety of courses concerning theatre and culture, directs for the main stage, and serves on the steering committee for the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy. She earned her Ph.D. in Drama from Tufts University, an MA in Performance and Culture from Goldsmiths College, University of London, an MA in Drama from Stanford University, and a BA in English and Theatre from Carleton College. Her dedication to advocacy and the arts has been recognized by the National Center for HIV, STD, & TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) as well as AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. Her essay “Performing Interventions: The Politics and Theatre of China’s AIDS Crisis in the Early Twenty-First Century” appears in the newly released Viral Dramaturgies: HIV and AIDS in Performance in the Twenty-First Century (Palgrave, February 2018). Her current book project concerns the on- and off-stage history of Broadway theatre and the AIDS epidemic.
John Gatto first began working at JRI as a mental health clinician at JRI Health in 1994, providing home-based services to adults with HIV/AIDS in our housing and home care programs. Over the following five years he assumed positions of increasing responsibility, overseeing the development of substance abuse services at the Sidney Borum Health Center and then serving as the Clinical Director of the Assisted Living Program. John left JRI in 2000 and held leadership positions in the HIV/AIDS community, leading the merger of several AIDS service organizations in the Boston area. He returned to JRI in 2012 as the Executive Director of JRI Health and now as the Vice President of Community Health. He holds an MSW from Boston University.