AIDS United appoints Athena Cross VP and chief programs officer

Contact — Warren Gill,
(202) 599 8259

WASHINGTON — After a national search, AIDS United announced Thursday the appointment of Athena Cross to the position of vice president and chief programs officer. 

“We are overjoyed to have Athena join our team,” said Jesse Milan, AIDS United’s president and CEO. “Athena is a talented leader and a brilliant strategist. We are so looking forward to her bringing her many skills and broad experience to AIDS United as we work to end the HIV epidemic in the United States.” 

Cross, a doctoral candidate in public health leadership at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, has spent nearly two decades working at the intersection of health care, public policy and strategic planning. 

“I am thrilled to join AIDS United and to work alongside so many talented and passionate people,” said Cross. “AIDS United is a powerhouse of change for the HIV community partly because it works with everyone from the White House and Congress to grassroots organizations and public health departments, and to foundations and pharmaceutical companies. Bringing together all these stakeholders is exactly what we need to end the HIV epidemic.”

Cross has experience managing engagements with multiple stakeholders. She created in 2016 Cross Health Care Solutions, a consulting firm that works with nonprofits, state and local governments, foundations, community-based organizations and health sector businesses to address health inequities. In executive roles she was Head for U.S. Access at Medicine 360 and Medicaid director at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She is also a past vice chair of the board of the Black Women’s Health Imperative. 

Cross will begin in the position Nov. 15. 

AIDS United’s mission is to end the HIV epidemic in the United States. In the ongoing work for social justice and true equity, ending the HIV epidemic in the United States is our chosen role. As of January 2021, AIDS United’s strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $118 million to local communities and have leveraged more than $184 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to, syringe access, access to care, capacity-building, HIV prevention and advocacy.