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Director Chosen
Director Chosen Press Release 2

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Director Chosen for World Church HIV/AIDS Ministry

May 30, 2002 --

Dr. Oscar Giordano, currently health ministries director for the Indian Ocean Union Mission, in Africa, was approved by the GC administrative committee May 13 to head up the new Office of HIV/AIDS Ministry, which will be located in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"The AIDS epidemic represents a great challenge for all Seventh-day Adventists," says Dr. Giordano, who, with his family, has served as a medical missionary for the past 11 years in Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, and Madagascar. "Our church has a special opportunity to serve humanity in this regard both spiritually and medically."

The initiative is aimed at providing better focus and coordination to the church's response to HIV/AIDS. It will focus on care and vocational training for AIDS orphans and widows, treatment for those infected, and a widespread education and prevention effort in churches, schools, and communities.

"Never before has the church attempted to pull together so many of its different entities to focus on one public health issue," says Dr. Allan Handysides, GC health ministries director. The initiative is a joint project of the General Conference, divisions based on the African continent, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Loma Linda University and Medical Center, and the Adventist Health Sciences Center. Dr. Handysides says he has been awed by the unwavering commitment of church leaders to the project--"from church administrators in Africa, to the GC president, who has given ongoing support, to vice president Pastor Leo Ranzolin, who chaired the AIDS Study Commission, to vice president Pastor Lowell Cooper, who has worked to move this initiative forward."

General Conference president Pastor Jan Paulsen says that if he has one regret regarding the church's response to HIV/AIDS, it is that an overarching, coordinated approach has come so late in the day. It is a mistake for anyone to assume that this is "not an Adventist problem," he adds. "As one of our leaders in Africa has said, it would be difficult to find one Adventist family in Africa that has not been impacted by AIDS."

For Dr. Giordano, the initiative represents a new era in the church's response to the disease. "I pray and hope that our new office will contribute to better coordinate actions and resources, and present a united front in order to accomplish what our Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned each of us to do."

--General Conference, Presidential News Briefing, (ANN)

For More Information Contact:

Executive Director:

Oscar A. Giordano, M.D., M.P.H.



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