PRESS RELEASE

'AIDS Alabama' and 'AIDS Alabama South' Announce

a New and Innovative Leadership Structure with the

Appointment of Interim Co-Executive Directors and

a Digital Outreach and Communications Director

September 9, 2020

Candace Taylor and Shey Thorn will serve as interim co-executive directors of AIDS Alabama South. Taylor currently serves as director of programs and case management, and Thorn is director of prevention and outreach. Kimberly McKeand takes on a newly created role as director of digital outreach and communications for all three brands: AIDS Alabama, AIDS Alabama South, and SHELL Health (she was previously director of development and public engagement of AIDS Alabama South).

Kathie Hiers, the dynamic leader and CEO of AIDS Alabama, decided to take the organization mindset beyond other nonprofits with the creation of a unique shared leadership structure for AIDS Alabama South. Kathie's interim co-ED design demonstrates their organization-wide team motto, "We're all in this together." To help carry forth the unified team mission outside of the office will be the work of their new digital outreach and communications director.

Candace Taylor

Interim Co-Executive Director;

Director of Programs and Case Management

Candace Taylor combines her client-centered case management experience with compassion for supporting people living with HIV.  She joined AIDS Alabama South in 2016 as a Case Manager, and in 2019 she accepted a new leadership role as Director of Programs and Case Management.

At AIDS Alabama South, she has helped build a client-centered and robust team, providing services that include treatment adherence management, coordination and follow-up of medical treatments, essential life-sustaining services, client advocacy, and referrals to needed services. As part of such services, she facilitated the development of substantive resources for the Alabama AIDS Rural Project (ARAP) program serving eight counties in rural Alabama. In 2018, she incorporated structural improvements for the expansion of services to the agency's food and hygiene pantry. The project contributed to an increased number of clients who could receive food and hygiene supplies each month. Also, Candace helped guide the organization's transitional housing program. By revamping qualifications, case managers can now connect with clients directly to help them achieve goals such as obtaining stable housing that may help them reach an undetectable viral load.

Candace's compassion and devotion to serving individuals living with or affected by HIV through her approach of providing client-centered support is evidence of her dynamic and compassionate leadership characteristics.

Candace Taylor received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of South Alabama.

Shey Thorn

Interim Co-Executive Director;

Director of Prevention and Outreach

Shey Thorn joined AIDS Alabama South in 2017 and served as Prevention Coordinator until 2019.  Now, as Director of Prevention and Outreach, his priorities include developing and managing the organization's outreach programs and services related to HIV prevention, testing, and public education.  He is also responsible for the day to day operations of telemedicine mental health services and the clinical and pharmaceutical partnerships. Also, he regularly collaborates with community partners and regional health departments to improve health outcomes for persons living with HIV.

 

Currently, his tireless dedication is focused on opening AIDS Alabama South's health and wellness clinic.  SHELL Health is a stigma-free clinic that will bridge the gap in medical services by providing access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and sexually transmitted infections (STI) screenings, as well as offering limited primary health care.

 

Shey brings critical knowledge and compassion in his work through lived experience and recognition of the solidarity and the courage expressed by people living with HIV. His prior experience includes teaching at Ben C. Rain High School as a Mobile County School Teacher from 2014-2017.  He serves on the Board of Directors for The Alabama Campaign for Adolescent Sexual Health and holds certifications in Trauma-Informed Care and Engaging the LatinX Communities across the HIV Continuum of Care.

 

Shey Thorn graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Education and Health Sciences from the University of Alabama in 2013.

Kimberly McKeand

Director of Digital Outreach and Communications

Kimberly McKeand will serve in a newly created position of Digital Outreach and Communications Director for all three brands: AIDS Alabama, AIDS Alabama South, and SHELL Health.  She combines her long-standing marketing experience with a passion for advocacy. Celebrating her fifth anniversary with the organization, Kimberly will be playing a larger role in coordinating marketing and communication operations. Her responsibilities include media relations, digital media (social media, websites, newsletters), printed materials, graphic design, social listening campaigns, and other methods to engage members, donors, sponsors, and the local community.  Her new role also includes management of a customer relationship management (CRM) system and optimizing digital media content in terms of search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and Google

 

Since joining AIDS Alabama South, Kimberly collaborated the organization's first PEP and PrEP referral services in 2016.  Her most recent success is in the creation of a mentor program designed to promote healthy, independence among youth transitioning from pediatric HIV care into adult care. The program is called BuddyUp. Her relentless focus to grow AIDS Alabama South's brand has helped to catapult the organization to one of Mobile's most successful nonprofits.

 

Before joining AIDS Alabama South in 2015, Kimberly worked at NBC-15 TV as a senior graphic designer and digital media producer. From there, she took a job as regional marketing director with Trax Tires, where she worked with national name brand tire corporations, including Micheline and Bridgestone.

 

During the past decade, Kimberly has been extraordinarily active in politics, including her role as co-plaintiff in Searcy v. Strange, the landmark case that overturned Alabama's ban on same-sex marriages in 2015. Her story is told in the 2017 full-length documentary, "Alabama Bound." Through her experiences, her favorite highlight is attending the 2014 White House Easter Egg Roll with former President Obama and the First Lady. Kimberly currently serves on the City of Mobile Human Relations Commission, as a District 2 Commissioner.  Most recently, she was recognized as a 2020 Champion of Pride by The Advocate Magazine for her LGBTQ+ advocacy.

AIDS Alabama South is dedicated to eliminating new HIV infections and improving the health and well-being of people living with HIV through inclusive and empowering support services and HIV prevention education.

Through AIDS Alabama South, HIV-positive individuals and families have access to direct transportation services for medically necessary healthcare and dental appointments, housing assistance (long term, short term, permanent and transition), emergency financial assistance for utilities, medication and insurance copays, case management services, linkage to healthcare, oral health care assistance, food and hygiene items, mental health telemedicine therapy, support groups, linkage to healthcare, quality age-appropriate prevention education programs, confidential HIV and Hepatitis C testing, consumer advocacy training, gas vouchers, and bus passes for medically necessary appointments.

 

HIV-positive individuals seeking services from AIDS Alabama South are supported by licensed social workers on an ongoing basis for case management and life-sustaining supportive services. As a component of service provision, case managers help individuals create a plan for independence, stability, and economic self-sufficiency.

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© 2020 by AIDS Alabama South, LLC

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