Consumer Committee Minutes July 18, 2023


Minutes of the


Chairs: Charmaine Graham, Marcelo Maia

Consumer-At-Large: David Martin

Tuesday, July 18, 2023, 2:00PM – 4:00PM

Recording Of The Meeting Here



Asia Betancourt

Billy Fields

Charmaine Graham

David Martin

Graham Harriman

John Schoepp

Lisa Best

Marcelo Maia Soares

Rob Walker

Steven Wilcox

Yves Gebhardt


Daniel Bickram

David Klotz

Doienne Saab

Kimbirly Mack

Melanie Lawrence

Agenda Item 1: Welcome & Roll Call, Ice Breaker, Moment of Silence, Reminder to Review Rules for Respectful Engagement, Approval of the Minutes

Introductions were started by Ms. Lawrence. Concern about the number of members in attendance was expressed by Mr. Maia. Moment of silence led by Billy Fields in honor of the passing of Council member Linda Beal. The minutes were accepted.

Agenda Item 2: Discuss Recipient Response to QM Letter

  • The Quality Management (QM) Plan was delayed due to an extended leave of absence by the acting director. HRSA granted an extension to accommodate this leave, but it created a gap in presentations and the collection of feedback.
  • Consumers have been pushing for the reinstatement of mandatory CABs and highlighted this and other methods of ensuring high quality consumer engagement in a letter from the Consumers Committee (CC) leadership to the recipient.
  • The recipient responded with a letter addressed to the Director of the Council, Graham Harriman.
  • The contents of the CC leadership letter were reviewed in advance of the committee discussion, and the response from the recipient was read verbatim.

Highlights from the discussion follow:

  • The CC leadership letter was sent to the recipient on March 31, 2023. The recipient asked to respond after the HRSA site visit.
  • CC meeting on the QM Plan was not a regular committee meeting. The date was set by the recipient (March 7th).
  • Ms. Best expressed confusion about the relationship between the written word and recent actions on the part of the recipient.
  • Mr. Fields asked why consumers have not been involved in the recipient’s response to the original letter.
  • Currently, the recipient has no staff who have publicly disclosed they are HIV+.
  • Council staff is 50% PWH; recipient staff is 5 times as large.
  • CC informing on the TGINBNC survey is critical but does not reflect a deep well of expertise on this community.
    • TGINBNC program model is ~$900,000.
    • Initial year, substantially fewer clients were engaged in services than the targets.
  • QM plan has 6 domains, consumer engagement is one of the six.
  • QM plan addresses 10 of the 29 Framing Directive strategies.
  • Recipient developed a racism and stigma evaluation tool and plan template which has not been shared or reviewed by the CC.
  • Mr. Martin noted that consumers were not engaged, and so input was not considered in how the plan was formulated.
  • Response does not address concerns in leadership letter regarding CABs. It quotes HRSA policy.
  • Important to read the entire QM plan, deconstruct the response, find any inaccuracies, and develop a detailed response.
  • Melanie will get an organizational chart for the division.
  • The AIDS Institute (AI) will conduct all of the peer learning opportunities.
  • Melanie will review these documents and produce an analysis.
  • The committee will develop a response. Mr. Maia will organize a subcommittee to write the letter.
  • Important to consider if a letter will get the action desired.
  • Important to be in conversation and raising these issues to your local representatives – City Council and the office of the Mayor, as well as engaging the Commissioner of Health
  • Important to be aware of how these conversations may impact the rapidity of new appointments.

Agenda Item 3: Event Updates, Flyer Review

Annual Member Recognition is Friday, August 4th from 12-4 at Riverbank Park

(behind the restaurant Sofrito (679 Riverside Dr New York, NY 10031)

  • Incentives will not be ready for distribution.
  • Use of the word picnic is culturally insensitive.
  • Menu:
    • BBQ Chicken
    • Fried Catfish with Tartar Sauce
    • Confetti Rice Pilaf
    • Sauteed Cabbage
    • Field Green Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers
  • Brownies were disappointing at a previous event.
  • Transportation from tr–county has been arranged.
  • Lapel pins are in the system and take 4-8 weeks to produce.
  • Songs were suggested for the playlist:
    • Tina Turner- Proud Mary
    • Summer madness – Kool n’ the Gang
    • Alberta Hunter Handyman
    • Love Train….O’Jays
    • I Love Music by the O’Jays
    • Charles Aznavour
    • Earth wind and fire, Beyonce
    • “Fantasy” by Earth, Wind and Fire!
    • Nice….and easy Proud Mary
    • Let No Man Put Asunder” by First Choice
    • “Always There” by Incognito with Joycelyn Brown
  • Ms. Saab will update the flyer.

Agenda Item 4: Lapel Pin Update 

Design has been adjusted and finalized. Ribbon was shortened to improve integrity of pin. Emotes a city skyline. Honored to work with such a professional artist. The CC expressed gratitude for the tireless persistence of the subcommittee members and Mr. Harriman’s push to ensure the pins were procured.

Agenda Item 5:  Graham & Mexico      

Early fall, Graham will leave the Health Department and start a new chapter in Mexico. He is working to ensure consumer input on who the next director is.

Agenda Item 6:  Update on Jose     

Jose is doing well – still in therapy and continuing to progress well. Please reach out to him and send some love!     

Public Comment/Other Business

Recording of the meeting cuts off at 1:36. Unclear on the cause.


  1. Be honest and specific
  2. Focus on content rather than personalities
  3. State your views and allow others to state theirs
  4. Treat everyone with respect
  5. Wait to speak until recognized
  6. Try to identify practical solutions as well as problems
  7. Recognize that the facilitator may have to limit discussion to move the agenda—apply the “three-minute rule” to limit the length of an individual’s comments
  8. Keep focused on the goal of the Planning Council: to provide the best possible services to consumers—and put aside personal agendas
  9. Disagree without being disagreeable
  10. Be prepared to report back the topics and outcomes of the meeting, but keep the confidentiality of individual speakers
  11. Keep an open mind—make a decision only after information has been presented and discussed
  12. If you are unsure about what someone said, respectfully ask them directly
  13. If you are upset, take some time to calm down before engaging in further public discussion
  14. Both follow and help enforce these ground rules

Please note: All Council and Committee meetings are recorded and open to the public (with some exceptions).