NEW YORK -- The National HIV/AIDS Partnership recently awarded Marie Kirk,
HIV/AIDS prevention/education coordinator for the Albuquerque (N.M.) Area
Indian Health Board Inc., its prestigious Red Ribbon Leadership Award in
honor of her outstanding leadership in fighting the spread of the disease.
Kirk has worked tirelessly to educate American Indian/Alaska Native
communities in New Mexico and southern Colorado about the growing threat
posed by HIV/AIDS.
Her work has taken her to isolated communities, tribal detention centers,
bars serving Indian patrons, urban Indian centers, boarding and community
schools, elder centers, tribal council meetings, health fairs, state
legislative hearings, peer counseling sessions, pow wows, tribal colleges,
and substance abuse inpatient and outpatient programs.
One outgrowth of her work is the annual Native American HIV Prevention and
Wellness Conference, entitled "The Circle of Harmony." Sponsored by AAIHB
and held in Albuquerque, the conference educates American Indians about HIV
and risky behaviors, and educates health care providers on the best way to
provide culturally relevant HIV/AIDS prevention services.
Her commitment to her work includes a real passion for providing relevant
HIV educational materials to people at risk and to providers who treat
them. Her personal style promotes respect and acceptance, and she has the
courage and integrity to tackle a taboo subject in small tribal
AAIHB is a 100 percent Indian-owned and -operated nonprofit organization
that serves tribal communities in New Mexico and southern Colorado,
providing specialized health services including clinical audiology and
HIV/AIDS prevention education, advocacy, training and technical assistance.
NHAP is an organization of business, civic, faith-based and entertainment
leaders committed to curtailing HIV/AIDS. A total of 13 individuals and
organizations were similarly honored for their efforts.