Realizing that each community has different service needs and gaps in care, Congress structured Part A of the Ryan White Program so that local communities can play a central role in determining how funds should be used to meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in their areas. In order for an EMA to receive federal dollars through the Ryan White Part A program a Planning Council must be formed.

The Nassau-Suffolk HIV Health Services Planning Council was formed in 1992 and is an all volunteer member body appointed by the county in which each member resides. It consists of a wide array of community members; from those who work within the field to those who bring a personal perspective to the table as a consumer of services. These members represent local public health officials, people living with HIV/AIDS, community leaders, community-based service providers and others. At least 33% of the membership consists of “non-conflicted” individuals who are HIV positive or who are a parent of or caregiver for a minor child who is HIV positive.

The Planning Council provides effective planning for the Long Island region and promotes the development of HIV/AIDS services that meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Some responsibilities of the Council include: setting funding priorities for the allocation of federal HIV/AIDS service dollars under the Ryan White Part A program; conducting consumer needs assessments and identifying the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in the region; developing a comprehensive service plan for delivering HIV services; and evaluating how efficiently the providers of HIV services are selected and reimbursed through the administrative mechanism.

The Planning Council is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS throughout the Long Island region, and ensures that members of our community are taking a lead role in planning and assessing the services available.

The majority of the work that is done by the Planning Council is accomplished through its standing and ad-hoc committees. All Planning Council meetings are open to the public and occur on the second Wednesday of every other month starting in January (with six meetings per calendar year).

Anthony Santella, Ph.D

Joseph Pirone

Nassau County Health Commissioner
Lawrence Eisenstein, M.D.

Suffolk County Health Commissioner

James Tomarken, M.D.


Planning Council Members

The Nassau-Suffolk HIV Health Services Planning Council

Wendy Abt
Dr. Lisa Benz-Scott PhD
James Colson
Nancy Duncan
Marci Egel
Juli Grey-Owens
Margaret Henry
Katie Ramirez
Tania Chiu
Anthony Marmo
Barbara Martens

Rev. Loring Pasmore

​Jessica Totino

Gloria Allen

Felix Ruiz
Andrea Smith
Katelin Thomas
Elizabeth Torres
Traci Shelton
Erik Rios
Johnny Mora
Martine Michel-Toure
Clara Crawford
Arthur Brown
Louise Square
Ilvan Arroyo​
Carlos Fuentes

Victoria Osk, Esq.
Kevin McHugh