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L. Joel Martinez 1953-2003.

Joel was born in Harlingen, Texas, on January 29, 1953. Throughout his life, he was admired for his amazing combination of intellect, compassion, and achievement. Joel graduated from Rice University cum laude in 1976 and Columbia University School of Law in 1977.

With his diagnosis of AIDS in 1986, Joel's life and life's work changed course. Frustrated by the lack of adequate treatment information available to patients and their physicians, Joel became a lay expert on medical issues relating to HIV/AIDS and one of the country's most respected advocates on treatment issues. Joel served as the head of treatment information and advocacy for the Houston Clinical Research Network at the Montrose Clinic from 1993 to 1995. In 1995, Joel founded The Center for AIDS: Hope & Remembrance Project, where he led the organization as director until February 2003. In his new position as director of advocacy at The Center for AIDS, he was involved in the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC), a national coalition of AIDS activists working together to end the AIDS epidemic by advancing research on HIV/AIDS.

Joel was a co-founder of the AIDS Equity League and Body Positive Houston; a volunteer with Project Immune Restoration, a program of Project Inform; and a past trustee of the Texas Human Rights Foundation, the Houston Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus, and Amigos Volunteers in Education and Service (AVES). He also served as Community Constituency Representative to the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and the AIDS Clinical Trials Group. He testified before the FDA and was one of only two patients ever to have voting privileges on an FDA panel, the Biological Response Modifiers Advisory Committee. Joel was a member of the Community Constituency Group of the Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS (CPCRA), and the cardiovascular focus group of The Forum for Collaborative HIV Research in Washington, DC. He made numerous presentations on HIV/AIDS, as well as authored many articles in various publications including the Houston Press, The Link, James White Review, Enlace, Beta (en espanol) and RITA!

For his work relating to HIV/AIDS issues, Joel received many awards and honors, most recently the Bradley Scott Award from the Harris County Hospital District. He was also the recipient of The AVES Pyramid Award and the Humanitarian Award of Houston Black Tie Dinner. Despite his own health battles over 17 years and his incredible commitment to his work on HIV/AIDS issues, Joel somehow continued to pursue a wide variety of interests including raising and showing prize-winning dogs, playing classical piano, cooking, writing poetry and short stories, and so much more. Joel will be missed as we continue the struggle to overcome HIV and AIDS.
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Title Annotation:In Memoriam
Publication:Research Initiative/Treatment Action!
Date:Sep 22, 2003
Words:448
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