For over 30 years, the annual CAHR Conference has been the meeting place for Canadian HIV researchers who come together to share the results of their work, network and exchange new ideas. What started out as a small annual gathering of scientists three decades ago now attracts over 800 diverse Conference-goers, made up of researchers from all pillars of research, community members, students, policymakers, international delegates, and other interested parties.
As showcased each year at the CAHR Conference, the Canadian HIV research community has so much to be proud of and I would like to recognize the dedication and accomplishments of researchers from across all HIV research disciplines and communities. Your collective commitment, discoveries and advancements have contributed to improving the lives of people living with HIV, also to the prevention of its transmission of HIV/AIDS here in Canada and globally.
At the same time, thousands of new infections occur each year in Canada and the number of people living with HIV continues to rise. Unresolved challenges remain including stigma and discrimination, and the face of the epidemic continues to change, severely impinging on the lives of different, mostly marginalized, populations. That is why CAHR must remain engaged and relevant. To that end, over the next two years CAHR will:
- ensure that our CAHR Conference model continues to reflect the face of the epidemic
- continue to focus on the needs of the next generation of HIV researchers, hosting new researcher workshops, launching a new Trainee position on the CAHR Board of Directors, and offering academic scholarships
- support the HIV community as a whole by offering training sessions, expanding e-learning, providing community scholarships, and designing programs that are aimed at a variety of audiences, disciplines and career progressions
- advance its commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression, through continued Board training, education and Conference sessions
At the foundation of this agenda is CAHR’s new strategic plan which was developed through broad consultation with the HIV research community and our key partners. As we move forward, CAHR will continue to stay relevant, relying on what has become a hallmark of the association: its members’ enthusiasm, shared commitment, and great willingness to learn from each other.
As CAHR President, I look forward to working with you over the next two years to represent the interests of Canadian HIV researchers.
Dr. Keith Fowke