AIDS Pioneer Wins American University's National Legion of Honor Award

James Dilley

UCSF AIDS pioneer James W. Dilley, executive director of the UCSF AIDS Health Project, has been awarded the Richard L. Schlegel National Legion of Honor Award for his outstanding contributions to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities in their fight against HIV and AIDS. A clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF, Dilley was chosen for his groundbreaking work as one of the founders of the AIDS Health Project (AHP) and service as its executive director since 1984. In that time, AHP has grown from a staff of five to a staff of more than 100 full- and part-time employees. The award, given by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Resource Center at American University, recognizes Dilley as a "Visionary Leader" in the national fight against HIV/AIDS. The award ceremony was held April 12 on the campus of the American University in Washington, DC. Dilley was among the pioneers in the field of AIDS care and quickly became a leader in the field. Since 1984, his uninterrupted efforts to research and promote the importance of HIV-related mental health and to develop and provide innovative HIV-related mental health services make him remarkable.
James Dilley, receives the Richard L. Schlegel National Legion of Honor Award
James W. Dilley, right, executive director of the UCSF AIDS Health Project, receives the Richard L. Schlegel National Legion of Honor Award for his fight against HIV and AIDS.
Dilley started working with AIDS in 1982, providing psychiatric care to patients at San Francisco General Hospital, a key institution of care in one of the epicenters of the epidemic. His work there and then at AHP was central to the development of the mental health component of the widely replicated "San Francisco Model" of AIDS care. Dilley has widely published on AIDS and mental health and has lectured extensively about the psychiatric and neuropsychological aspects of the HIV disease, earning a national reputation for his work. One effect of this work has been the promoting of gay men's mental health through his research into the psychological challenges to both HIV prevention and HIV care and his subsequent development of programs to meet these psychological challenges. Since 1984, the mission of AHP has been to provide culturally sensitive counseling and education to stop the spread of HIV infection, and to help people face the emotional, psychological, and social challenges of living with HIV. AHP serves more than 10,000 clients annually. Richard L. Schlegel, an American University alumnus and a pioneer in the GLBT civil rights movement, fought discrimination based on sexual orientation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, long before GLBT rights were discussed openly. His own wrongful termination case against the Department of the Army, Schlegel vs. United States, was pursued all the way to the US Supreme Court. American University's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Ally Resource Center works to strengthen and sustain an inclusive campus community that welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities by providing support, educational resources, and advocacy. Located in Washington, DC, American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the US and more than 150 countries and providing opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation's capital and around the world.

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UCSF AIDS Health Project