Dr. John Carlo previously served on agency’s board, helped lead county health department’s campaign to overturn ban on condom distribution
Dr. John Carlo will replace Raeline Nobles next month as CEO of AIDS Arms, the largest non-profit AIDS agency in North Texas.
Carlo previously served on the agency’s Board of Directors. He’s also served as medical director and health authority for Dallas County Health and Human Services.
Dallas County HHS Director Zach Thompson was enthusiastic in his praise for Carlo.
“He’s going to be a great asset to AIDS Arms,” Thompson said.
He said Carlo worked in his department about five years, providing leadership in several areas including the county’s response to the H1N1 virus. Thompson also credited Carlo with taking the lead in providing information and speaking before the Commissioners Court as part of a successful campaign to end the county’s ban on the distribution of condoms a few years ago.
“His passion for working with HIV/AIDS, his research background, his experience, it’s great for AIDS Arms and the county,” Thompson said.
Carlo takes over the reigns on Dec. 3. Nobles announced her retirement from the agency in June after serving in the position for 15 years. She’s stepping down after completing a capital campaign that included building and staffing the agency’s second clinic.
Carlo has served on the AIDS Arms board and Nobles said she served with him on the Ryan White Planning Council.
“I couldn’t be more pleased and anticipate the future of AIDS Arms more, than under the leadership of Dr. John Carlo,” Nobles said. “I think he’s wonderful and a perfect fit. He’ll serve the entire HIV community very well.”
Carlo has a public health background. Currently, he works for the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy managing a contract for the federal Homeland Security department. He serves as program director for CIDRAP’s
Chemical and Biological Early Detection System, or Biowatch, a program created in 2001 after the Anthrax scare, to detect the release of pathogens into major cities by terrorists.
However, Carlo won’t have to move for his new position.
“I’m officed here,” he said. “My partner and I live in East Dallas.”
He received his medical degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and completed his internship and residency at Baylor hospital in Dallas.
He was Dallas County medical director from 2006 to 2010, where he was responsible for coordinating the response to public health emergencies and disasters. For two years before that he was the county’s chief epidemiologist.
He called his current position heavily administrative and said he is looking forward to his new position, which is closer to medical care.
“I won’t be seeing patients,” he said. “But a knowledge of patient care will help them [AIDS Arms’ medical staff] do the best job they can.”
With the rising number of people living with HIV in Dallas County, Carlo sees his agency’s challenge as getting people into care.
AIDS Arms statistics show that medical care and case management for one person with HIV costs $2,800 annually, plus medication. One emergency room visit for someone with HIV not in care costs the county $12,000.
Carlo said the county, AIDS Arms and other local agencies are doing a good job of testing. But once someone tests positive, it’s important to “make sure we’re mobilizing and getting them into care.”
And once patients are under care, he wants to see AIDS Arms become more of a “one-stop shop.”
That’s been a goal of the agency since Trinity Clinic was planned. Rather than have clients travel to different parts of the city for a variety of services, Legal
Hospice of Texas would offer its legal clinic and AIDS Interfaith Network would distribute transit passes at AIDS Arms facilities.
“There should always be opportunities for collaboration,” Carlo said. “I would love to see more partnerships. That’s going to be my role coming in.”
He called AIDS Arms’ system of revenue a complex mix of government subsidy, insurance, grants and fundraising.
“It’s an exciting time with the Affordable Care Act,” he said, referring to President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare legislation. “So much change and opportunity.”
AIDS Arms board chair John Loza said the board was looking for someone to build on what Nobles did to develop the agency.
“We’re in a much stronger position than when she came on board,” Loza said. “With all the uncertainty with healthcare in general and HIV care in particular and how that care is funded, we needed someone with the experience Dr. Carlo offers.”
He cited Carlo’s background dealing with government agencies and his hands-on style of leadership.
AIDS Arms runs Peabody Clinic in South Dallas and Trinity Clinic in Oak Cliff. It operates testing, prevention and case management services, support groups and an extensive Texas prison and community re-entry program.
Carlo will oversee an annual budget of $10 million, as well as 93 employees, according to Nobles.
According to IRS filings, Nobles earned $125,000 in 2010.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 9, 2012.