Mark Cassity, current Director of Triad Health Project’s Higher Ground day center, has been named the Interim Executive Director of Triad Health Project (THP) by the organization’s board of directors. Mr. Cassity officially assumed this new role on April 9.
“Triad Health Project has unanimously selected Mark Cassity to serve as our Interim Executive Director, during the search and review process for a candidate to permanently fill the Executive Director role,” says Noah Anderson, THP Board President. “In 2018, as Triad Health Project enters into its 32nd year, we need a leader who has a vision for how we will build upon and advance three decades of leadership in HIV/AIDS care, education and prevention in Guilford County. Mark is a veteran in this field and has been an integral member of the THP team for more than 20 years. The board has great confidence in his ability to strategically guide the organization forward during this time of transition. We know Mark will continue to nurture and develop rich and meaningful relationships with THP supporters, volunteers and our partner agencies throughout the community.” Reidel Post, who served as THP’s Executive Director beginning in August of 2016, stepped down from the role in February of 2018.
Cassity’s background uniquely positions him to assume this post. He began working with people living with HIV and AIDS in 1997 when he took on the role of Program Director at the Guilford Regional Interfaith AIDS Network (GRAIN), an ecumenical association that formed in the wake of the AIDS epidemic to serve as a conduit for local churches and faith communities to provide a support network for those impacted by the disease. In the early, even bleaker days of HIV/AIDS, when a diagnosis essentially meant a death sentence, GRAIN operated the Higher Ground day center as the central hub for connecting caregivers with AIDS patients, providing rides to medical appointments and help with day-to-day needs.
THP assumed management of Higher Ground in 2000, and over the years, as the nature of HIV treatment has evolved and people who are HIV positive can live a relatively normal life with the medicines that are available, Higher Ground has become a life-giving beacon of hope, safety and therapeutic growth for people impacted by HIV and AIDS. Cassity reflects that, “We’ve gone from a place that provided a holistic, caring environment for the journey to life’s end because of HIV, to being a place that is home for anyone dealing with the stigma and hurt of HIV, whether they come with a diagnosis or are supporting a loved one with the disease. HIV has become part of the trenches of poverty, impacting people who are already marginalized, whether because of race, sexual orientation, mental illness, incarceration, you name it. Beyond the medical side of treatment for HIV, many in our community need a way to process what it means to live with HIV, and to connect with others who are making their own journey with a disease that no longer garners the media attention it once did.” With his significant experience in programming for people living with HIV and AIDS, Cassity seeks to help shape THP’s multi-year strategic plan and strengthen the organization’s role as a community leader in ending HIV in Guilford County with innovative and targeted efforts at prevention. Cassity shared, “I am honored to serve during this transition period when Triad Health Project is at a critical juncture in its response to a continuing epidemic that is largely shaped and defined by issues of poverty and unequal access to medical care and resources.”
Cassity holds an MA in Liberal Studies from New York University and a BS in Political Science from Valdosta State University in Georgia. He was a National Program Selectee/Participant at the Institute for Servant Leadership in Asheville, NC from 2002 to 2004. A former board member of the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition from 2013 to 2016, Cassity also served on the Executive Planning Team for the National Episcopal Province IV Annual HIV/AIDS Retreat from 1999 to 2016, and as a Facilitator for the Servant Leadership School in Greensboro, NC from 1999 to 2004. Cassity will serve as Interim Executive Director until the THP board determines that it has allowed sufficient time for all interested, qualified candidates to submit resumes and an interview process has been conducted.