Ron was a dedicated volunteer, advocate and supporter, channelling a lifetime commitment to ensuring access to medications and other health and social services for people living with HIV into his work as Co-Chair of the OHTN’s HIV Medication Access Working Group, Co-Chair of the Toronto to Zero working group on HIV and Ageing and the Community Advisory Board, OHTN Chair on HIV and Ageing.
His commitment to research as a member of the OHTN’s Scientific Review Committee for over 10 years helped advance our understanding of the diverse issues affecting people living with and at risk for HIV, including the impact of co-morbidities on HIV care and treatment, contributing to a sub-study of the OHTN Cohort Study on cancer and HPV prevention. He was a tireless member of the planning committee of the OHTN’s annual research conferences and advocated for implementing innovations in clinical practice, such as the use of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in HIV clinical care.
Ron was also committed to seeing the HIV sector evolve to reflect advances in knowledge and treatment and in recognizing the economic and social determinants of health. He was part of a working group that successfully advocated for the rights of people living with HIV in the Ontario Disability Support Program. Ron, along with John McCullagh, Tony Di Pede and Darien Taylor developed a Prescription for a Renewed HIV Sector, lobbying the OHTN and policymakers to make changes aimed at strengthening Ontario’s response to HIV.
His advocacy on behalf of people living with and affected by HIV was recognized in 2014 when he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. He was also inducted into the Ontario AIDS Network Honour Roll, received The Casey Award, the Canadian Treatment Action Council’s Glen Hillson Award of Excellence, the Canadian Association for HIV Research’s Red Ribbon Award, and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for services to the HIV community.
Ron leaves an enormous legacy of work on social justice issues in the HIV sector. He will be profoundly missed by all of his friends and colleagues at the OHTN.