Press Release

AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) Announces Appointment of Director of Science Communication and Advocacy

NEW YORK – The AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) today announced the appointment of Huntly Collins as its first Director of Science Communication and Advocacy. Ms. Collins was a respected staff writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1983 to 2001, where she covered public health and AIDS among other issues.

“Huntly is an investigative journalist and science writer of the first rank,” said Chris Collins, Executive Director at AVAC. “She brings an ability to critically analyze scientific issues and clearly communicate on those issues. Huntly is widely known for her persistence and accuracy, as well as her passion for public health. She will be an effective advocate for accelerated, ethical AIDS vaccine research.” Huntly Collins and Chris Collins are not related.

Ms. Collins, whose journalistic career spans three decades, said she joined AVAC because of its mission and its commitment to providing accurate, fair and unbiased information about AIDS vaccine development. “With money, politics and prestige influencing the quest for an AIDS vaccine, it’s more important than ever that stakeholders and the general public have a reliable source of factual information about experimental vaccine candidates and issues surrounding their ethical testing in clinical trials both in the United States and abroad,” she said.

Ms. Collins, who began her journalism career as an investigative reporter for The Oregon Times magazine, spent nine years as a reporter at The Oregonian in Portland before joining the staff of The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1983. She has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, a Ford Fellow in educational journalism and a Kaiser Teaching Fellow in South Africa, where she mentored reporters covering AIDS. She holds a B.S. from Portland State University and an M.A. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Ms. Collins lives in Philadelphia with her life partner, Esther Miller, a public-interest attorney, and their eight-year-old daughter, Mia Qian Miller Collins.

AVAC is an eight year old community and consumer based advocacy organization dedicated to accelerating the ethical development and global delivery of vaccines against AIDS. The organization does not accept funding from government or the pharmaceutical industry. AVAC’s work is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Until There’s a Cure Foundation, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Gill Foundation, and many generous AVAC Members.