Gloria Searson, ACSW – Founder/President
Ms. Gloria Searson, ACSW is the founding Director and Executive Director of the Coalition on Positive Health Empowerment (COPE). She leads the organization’s efforts towards the eradication of viral hepatitis and empowers participants with knowledge and support. She helps people to actively participate in their health care. Her work is inspired by Gandhi’s statement, “to be the change that I wish to see in the world.” Her first-hand knowledge of living with HIV and Hep C has helped her relate to others with the same diagnoses including the fear, stigma and discrimination experienced amongst the underserved population.
Gloria is a native of Brooklyn, NY and attended SUNY Albany where she majored in political science and African American literature. She later attended SUNY Stoneybrook where she earned a master’s degree in Social Work. She has worked as a case worker, community organizer, elected community government official, Advocacy Relations Manager for a pharmaceutical company and served as the Administrative Director of North General Hospital’s HIV/AIDS Department of Special Services. This comprehensive health care facility was home to over 800 patient’s living in NYC and receiving mental health and medical care. Ms. Searson has been an HIV/AIDS treatment educator to over 15,000 individuals during her career.
Ms. Searson was published in December 2013 in the Liver International Journal and has had several abstracts presented at various international liver meetings and conferences. Her passion has led her to international speaking engagements as well as advocacy efforts including testimony before Congress and at the White House.
Board of Directors
Donald Kotler, MD
Marlene Taylor-Ponterotto, PA
Marlene Taylor-Ponterotto is a primary care medical provider with over 27 years of experience working in the field of HIV and Hepatitis medicine. She is currently on the medical staff at Montefiore Center in the Bronx, NY where she was appointed in 2011, in the infectious Diseases clinic and provides primary care treatment to over 300 patients infected with HIV.
Her previous position as one of the top HIV/Hepatitis C providers in Harlem, NY was a result of over a decade of treating patients affected by this epidemic at North General Hospital in central Harlem, where she was on staff as the Special Services Clinic from the late 90’s until the hospital closed in 2010.
Her medical training began close to her home in the village of Harlem, where she graduated from Harlem Hospital’s Physician Associate program in 1981. Prior to this, she completed her undergraduate degree in Biology from Fordham University. She continued her education at Columbia University.
In addition to treating complex medical complication associated with HIV and hepatitis C, as her patients are living longer, the management of the challenging co-morbid conditions in communities of color, is seen in her patient population, such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, strokes, as well as substance abuse and STD’s.
She is passionate about the importance of education and advocacy, and has been the recipient of various awards and acclimations, The Harlem Healers Award, the 2009 Citation from the City of New York-Heritage Health-Communities of Color, The 2012 City of Mount Vernon-STEM Award, for outstanding women in science, Technology, Engineering and Math among others.