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UNAIDS executive director Dr. Peter Piot presents Lori with the award.

PATH staffer Lori Heise, director of the Global Campaign for Microbicides, has just received an Omololu Falobi Award for Excellence in HIV Prevention for her international leadership and commitment to the involvement of communities as partners in microbicide research and for her visionary leadership as a founder of the Global Campaign for Microbicides.

Heise received the award at the closing ceremony of the International Microbicide 2008 Conference in New Delhi, India, where the selection committee praised her practice of cultivating leadership and inspiring advocates worldwide. Said one committee referee, “The field of microbicide advocacy is the lengthened shadow of one woman: Lori Heise.”

The award honors the late Omololu Falobi, a long-time HIV advocate and journalist who founded Journalists Against AIDS in Nigeria, was a pioneer member of the Nigerian Treatment Access Movement, and co-founded the Nigerian HIV Vaccine & Microbicide Advocacy Group.

The inaugural award was one of two bestowed. Heise’s co-recipient was Srikrishnan Aylur, research manager at the Y.R. Gaitonde Center for AIDS Research and Education in Chennai, India.

“This award is important in keeping Omololu’s vision alive,” said Olayide Akanni of Journalists Against AIDS in Nigeria. “It will be a visible platform for ongoing recognition of the contribution of advocates and leaders to the HIV prevention research field. We are pleased to launch the award by honoring two people who have made enormous contributions to the field. Omololu would be proud of their work...”

The award was conceptualized and the process coordinated by the African Microbicides Advocacy Group in partnership with the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, the Global Campaign for Microbicides, Journalists Against AIDS in Nigeria, the Nigerian HIV Vaccine & Microbicides Advocacy Group, and the Treatment Action Movement Nigeria. The award comes with US$1,000. Financial support for the 2008 award came from several of these groups and from Family Health International.

Find out more about Omololu Falobi and the award on the FirstScience website.

Posted February 29, 2008.