Let's make IT happen... a footnote

Published 20, Oct, 2017
Author // Jeff Potts

Jeff Potts of the CPPN offers a clarification of his previous article, "Let's make IT happen"

Let's make IT happen... a footnote

It’s in my DNA… I tend to call things the way I see them.

At the same time, I am very careful to share my assessments honestly, guided by matters-of-fact, even when the facts are not popular, and always knowing that people can and will see things differently than I do. I welcome these realities with respect and with readiness to discuss what really matters. In my humble opinion, the richness of any discussion is realized when it is shaped by differing points-of-view.

The article I wrote for PositiveLite.com, “Let’s make IT happen” (published on October 17th), did what I hoped it would do: it generated a discussion made richer by its diverse perspective. I was criticized by folks who don’t agree with my proposition that we, people living with HIV, need to do some soul-searching as it relates to our individual and collective roles and responsibilities in protecting and promoting our greater involvement and meaningful engagement in the Canadian ‘response’ to HIV (and HIV co-infections). I was congratulated for acknowledging, as a person living with HIV and as the current Executive Director of the Canadian Positive People Network (CPPN), that the landscape has shifted (for better or for worse), and for suggesting that we, together, must embrace, with enthusiastic willingness the need to actively shape and engage in a transformative person-centred ‘agenda’.

While digesting the comments and the critiques sent my way over the last few days, I’ve read and re-read my article numerous times, in part to confirm my own confidence in its intended key messages. Where do I land? Well… I called it as I see it. At the same time, I realize that my introduction was and/or could be inadvertently misleading or, at least for some, lacking important context. I want to clear that up; I need to own how my opening statements in that article contributed to a misunderstanding of the facts.

In my October 17th article, I inadvertently left an impression that the CPPN was unsuccessful following the review of Community Action Fund Letters of Intent and, therefore, the CPPN did not appear on the list of successful applicants that PHAC published on its website in October 2016. In fact, the CPPN was not on that list because we submitted a proposal in partnership with another national organization, the name of which did appear. Following the Letter of Intent process, and discussions between both organizations and PHAC, a mutual agreement was reached confirming that the CPPN would be eligible to proceed with its own funding submission based on the Community Action Fund’s eligibility criteria. At that point, the CPPN’s efforts and focus turned to the development of an independent proposal that would meet the requirements of the Community Action Fund. My October 17th article didn’t include this detail… it should have.

About the Author

Jeff Potts

Jeff Potts

Jeff Potts was and remains motivated by his own HIV infection twenty-five years ago.  In his life and his career, Jeff is inspired by Helen Keller and shares this goal: "I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.  The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker." 

Jeff was a national programs consultant at the Canadian AIDS Society from November 2014 until January 2016.  Before that, he was a long-time public servant. His last position was with the Public Health Agency of Canada as the (national) manager of the Hepatitis C Prevention, Support and Research Program.  Before that, he held health portfolio positions at Health Canada and at Correctional Service Canada; and before that (way back), he was one of the earliest representatives of CATIE. Over the years, Jeff has spoken about and/or represented public health policy and programs on countless occasions across Canada, and at international meetings in more than twelve countries around the world.  Jeff is a proud and active member of the Canadian Positive People Network (the CPPN) where he shares unyielding resolve to improve and protect the health, quality of life and social condition of people living with HIV and HIV co-infections in Canada - and everywhere!