It was just a few years after Len Slater graduated from the NYU School of Medicine when the first cases of AIDS were diagnosed. In fact, the young physician was training as a resident and fellow in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Einstein College of Medicine when he saw some of the earliest patients with AIDS in New York City. 

Today, Slater is recently retired from the OU Health Sciences Center and VA Medical Center and is the recipient of this year’s “Richard May Award,” presented annually by the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund. 

“It is such an honor to be able to present this award to Dr. Slater,” said Lauren Sullivan, OACF Executive Director. “When he moved here in 1983, only two people had been diagnosed with HIV in Oklahoma. As the epidemic accelerated, he became an original provider to people living with HIV/AIDS. Finally, in the mid-1990s, effective HIV combination therapy introduced the revolution, and that continues today.” 

OACF will present Dr. Slater with the prestigious “Richard May Award” during a World AIDS Day luncheon on Friday, Nov. 15 at the UCO CHK Central Boathouse, 732 Riversport Drive in Oklahoma City, beginning at 11:30 a.m. 

“For over three and a half decades, Dr. Slater focused on caring for his patients, teaching medical students, training residents and infectious diseases fellows,” Sullivan said. “Fortunately for us in Oklahoma, he brought his HIV clinical therapy trials here. He engaged federal funding for HIV management in central and western Oklahoma, and worked closely with many other dedicated professionals, providing the best access to care for all Oklahomans. We are thrilled to be honoring Dr. Slater with the ‘Richard May Award.’” 

The Richard May Award is named in memoriam for one of the original members of the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund. May, along with founder Barbara Cooper and a small group of volunteers, founded OACF in 1991. Since its inception, OACF has awarded more than $13 million in grants to local agencies helping Oklahomans living with HIV/AIDS. 

“Our need for funding remains as great today as it was in the early days of the disease,” Sullivan said. “The miracle of combination therapy in the 1990s has allowed people living with HIV/AIDS to have long, normal lives, with proper treatment. But that treatment is expensive, and our funding helps those who need it most. We thank our donors, because they are truly offering the gift of life to their fellow Oklahomans.” 

Information on Worlds AIDS Day Luncheon and ticket pricing can be found at www.okaidscarefund.com or by phone at 405-348-6600.

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