Press Room

An article in the SF Examiner about gay violence in the city of San Francisco.
This is a selection of relevant articles and information on Native American health care, HIV/AIDS and other additional resources. Read more...

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09/15/12 Paloma Volare for Grand Duchess
10/07/12 Castro Street Fair

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NAAP Calendar

04.22.2014 11:30AM - 01:30PM
Men's Drum Group

04.23.2014 12:00PM - 02:00PM
Transgender Talking Circle

04.29.2014 11:30AM - 01:30PM
Men's Drum Group

04.30.2014 12:00PM - 02:00PM
Transgender Talking Circle

05.06.2014 11:30AM - 01:30PM
Men's Drum Group

Staff Bios

Naap would like to welcome you to meet our staff


Executive Director: Joan Benoit

Joan BenoƮt is an enrolled member of the Chippewa of the Thames, First Nation and has been the Executive Director of the Native American AIDS Project since 1999. Joan has over 20 years of experience in the HIV care and prevention field. She has developed and implemented HIV care and prevention programs within Native American communities, integrating traditional Native approaches with western interventions to create effective and innovative programming to meet the needs of the most at-risk populations in American Indian communities.

Joan has served as an HIV Regional Consultant for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was a member of the Native American HIV Dialogue Group for the CDC and Indian Health Service and a member of the San Francisco HIV Prevention Planning Council. Since 2008, Joan has served on the National Minority AIDS Council, American Indian Policy Advisory Group. As part of her ongoing training as a HIV/AIDS specialist and leader in the Non-profit Community, Joan is currently participating in the National Minority AIDS Council's Nonprofit Executive Leadership Academy, after being selected through a national competitive selection process. This program is designed for mid-career Executive Directors to enhance leadership capacity skills, including sessions on Strategic Visioning, Systems Development and one-on-one executive coaching. This builds upon her work as a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Price Fellow for HIV Prevention Leadership, in 2002, where she was the only Native American to serve in this capacity. This program provided fellows with an opportunity to exchange HIV prevention and other health related issues with other CBO leaders, CDC personnel, state and local health department representatives throughout the county.

Joan has been on numerous Boards of Directors for various non-profit organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, has served on several Federal grant review committees and provided professional consultation for the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center, as well as participated in planning committees for local and national HIV prevention and care conferences.

HIV Prevention Case Manager: Gayle Burns

Gayle Burns is fifty-nine years old and has worked at NAAP for 9 years. She has held several job positions including, health educator, outreach worker, and is at the present time Native American AIDS Project’s Prevention Case Manager. Gayle Burns has been a member of the S.F. HIV Prevention Planning Council for 8 years, served 4 years on the HPPC Council as Co-Chair, and is also a San Francisco Representative for Urban Coalition For HIV/AIDS Prevention Services on a National Level. Gayle Burns is also a member of the Transgender Advisory Committee for 8 years, Grandmother, Great-grandmother of 1. She is also pow wow dancer.

Peer Advocate: Anna LeRoy

Hi I’m Anna LeRoy, the Peer Advocate at Native American AIDS Project. I have worked at NAAP since October of 2000, first as a health educator, and currently as the Peer Advocate. While at NAAP I have been there for our clients and Native community in many ways such as: assisting clients with house cleaning and grocery shopping, to escorting clients to doctors appointments, providing referrals to other organizations in the city and being the creator and Pow-wow Coordinator for the “Taking care of the Tribe” Pow-wow, in honor of National Native HIV/AIDS awareness day. In addition, I also help organize outings for clients, to native ceremonies (such as sweat lodges) and other places like the beaches or powwows. I also assist in end of life services and helping educate clients when someone comes to learn about being newly diagnosed.

I also work in the Native community as a powwow coordinator consultant. I have had the privilege to be a head lady at many of the powwow’s around California and have previous experience working in other Native agencies with woman and children. My family was a part of the relocation act during the 1960’s and in 1969 my parents brought 2 of my siblings and myself from Ponca City, Okalahoma to Oakland, California. My father was Northern Ponca and an enrolled member of the Omaha tribe from Macy Nebraska as am I while my mother is Cherokee and Blackfeet also from the Okalahoma area.

My motto for my life is “If you see a need meet it!”

HIV Case Manager: Andrew Lopez

Andrew Lopez has been the HIV Case Manager at the Native American AIDS Project since April of 2009 where he helps individuals with HIV manage their care, coordinates the Volunteer Program, conducts Health Education Outreach, sits on the Two Spirit Wellness Gathering Planning Committee and has his hand in development work such as grant writing and program development. Since arriving at NAAP, Andrew has created a weekly and on going Men’s Group held in a traditional talking circle format. Andrew is certified in the California Statewide Treatment Education Program (CSTEP) for HIV treatment in addition to holding a B.A. in Psychology from Pace University in New YorkCity. Andrew’s previous positions include: a Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist in a single room occupancy, support service hotel in the Tenderloin, a suicide prevention hotline call responder and a research assistant at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

Drum keeper: Mike Bellanger

Michael Bellanger is of the Ojibwa, Kickapoo and Sac-and-Fox nations. Born and raised in the Bay Area. Mike founded the All Nation Singers in 1988. He has been singing and drumming for 34 years. He has been teaching the children powwow drumming and singing at the Intertribal Friendship House for 12 years and at NAAP for the past 5 years. Mike raised his 2 children to respect traditional ways and is the proud grandfather of 2 (soon to be three). Michael is a member of the Medicine Warriors and All Nations Committee which hosts annual powwows, anniversary dinners and Round Dances.

Health Educator Intern: Kaden Freeman

Kaden Freeman will be interning as a Health Educator Intern at NAAP for the summer. Originally from Redding, California, Kaden has been involved within the native community for much of his life, participating in ceremonies and dancing in pow wows from a young age. In high school, his work as a digital media coordinator for the Native Youth Coalition led him to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues where he twice participated as a journalist and youth representative, thus kindling his interest in international law and human rights. Kaden is currently a rising junior at Stanford University, where he is double majoring in International Relations and Communications, along with minoring in Portuguese. Kaden is really excited to be a part of the NAAP staff and spend part of his summer serving the local native community.

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