The Milwaukee-based AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin will merge with the Madison-based AIDS Network on Feb. 1 in a move that leaders from both organizations say will preserve continuity of care for patients and clients.
The merged organization will operate as the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, with ARCW president and chief executive officer Michael Gifford continuing to serve as president and CEO. AIDS Network executive director Dan Guinn will serve as ARCW vice president of compliance and general counsel.
“Wisconsin has always been a national leader in the fight against AIDS. Our merger will enhance this leadership position,” Gifford said. “By combining the best of our two organizations, we will enhance services, improve clinical outcomes and generate new financial resources, all of which are critical as we continue on our quest for a world without AIDS.”
Added Guinn: “AIDS Network is proud of the leadership role we provide to combat AIDS in Wisconsin. Joining forces positions us to better serve people at risk for HIV, our patients and clients, and our communities throughout southern Wisconsin. Our board has evaluated this wonderful opportunity thoroughly over the past nine months and fully supports it. The merger assures the continuity of all the services we provide, the opportunity to enhance our programs and the continuation of our hallmark events like the Wisconsin AIDS Ride, the Red Ribbon Affair and Camp Bingo.”
Once merged, ARCW projects it will serve 4,000 people with HIV throughout the state annually through its offices and clinics in Appleton, Beloit, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Superior and Wausau.
All current staff of both organizations will have the opportunity to continue employment with the merged organization, and Gifford added that it is likely the number of employees will increase in the future.
A newly expanded ARCW board of directors will continue to oversee all aspects of the merged organization. Of the 17-member board, six will reside in Madison and southern Wisconsin, including four members of the AIDS Network board of directors who will join the ARCW board upon the merger.
“There have been tremendous advances made in the fight against AIDS that position us better than ever before to defeat the epidemic,” Gifford said. “Our merger along with stronger and closer relationships with key partners in southern Wisconsin will be critical to achieving that goal.”
In other ARCW news, the organization recently underwent a $259,000 pharmacy expansion, bringing its square footage from 1,460 to 1,960.
The overall purpose of the expansion was to expand the pharmacy space, provide updated bathrooms and maximize space by minimizing hallway areas and repurposing them to work areas, according to Bill Keeton, vice president of government and public relations for ARCW.
In order to complete the expansion, the pharmacy added space previously occupied by two bathrooms and an unused room. The mailroom and breakroom were expanded by eliminating a large hallway, and the bathrooms were moved to an area previously used for a storage room.
Keeton said the pharmacy expansion will allow for future growth of pharmacy services to last throughout the period of the building lease, which ends in 2024.
The expansion was done by Tri-North, headquartered in Fitchburg, Wis.