Catherine Hanssens, Executive Director and Founder, has been active in HIV legal and policy issues since 1984. Previously, Hanssens was AIDS Project Director at Lambda Legal, where she led Lambda's HIV-related litigation and policy work. She also worked with the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, where she created and managed one of the first medical-legal partnerships in the country, with on-site HIV legal services in several hospitals and clinics. While a staff attorney at the New Jersey Department of the Public Advocate, Hanssens successfully litigated the state's first cases on involuntary HIV testing, a class action challenge to segregation and mistreatment of prisoners with HIV in the New Jersey state prison system, and the only federal appeals court case recognizing the right of incarcerated women to funded elective abortions. She also has been a visiting clinical professor at Rutgers University Law School-Newark and Director of the law school's Women and AIDS Clinic.
Jada Hicks, Staff Attorney, earned her Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University School of Law. While at NCCU she was certified in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from North Carolina State University. Prior to joining The Center for HIV Law and Policy, she served as an inaugural Judicial Fellow for the Administrative Office of the Courts. While there she provided independent and confidential legal research and writing support to the more than 370 judges who comprise North Carolina’s Superior and District Courts. Previously, she worked as an Assistant District Attorney for the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office. She prosecuted cases ranging from drug offenses to DWI’s.
Jake Schneider, Staff Attorney, joined The Center for HIV Law and Policy from Brooklyn Defender Services, where he represented parents charged with child abuse and neglect in Kings County Family Court. He received his Juris Doctor in 2015 from New York University School of Law, where his focus was litigating on behalf of indigent defendants, including internships and clinical work with the Bronx Defenders, the Federal Defenders of New York, and the Equal Justice Initiative. Prior to law school, he was a Teach for America corps member at University City High School in West Philadelphia, where he taught Spanish and supervised the yearbook. In his role at CHLP, Jake is excited to have the opportunity to move out of the courtroom and push for systemic change.
Amir Sadeghi, National Policy and Partner Strategist, earned his Master of Arts in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research. While at NSSR, he focused on political theory, social upheavals, and stages where biopower and state violence clashed. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Central Florida. Prior to joining The Center for HIV Law and Policy, he worked as an Assistant to Dr. Chiara Bottici, Associate Professor of Philosophy at NSSR. He continues to teach debate and public speaking with the Rikers Debate Project at detention facilities on Rikers Island, New York. He is an advocate for people who are incarcerated and answering the severe social costs to the criminal punishment system.
Deirdre Reznik, Communications Consultant, handles media marketing and information design for CHLP digital and print assets. As a communications professional and art director, she has extensive experience across a range of markets and specializes in work with non-profit organizations and institutions of higher education. www.dpi.nyc.
Stephen Williams, Program Consultant, provides support to CHLP’s program staff and helps maintain the website and the HIV Policy Resource Bank. He was previously an HIV criminalization outreach specialist with CHLP.
Message Agency, Web Developer, designed, developed, and maintains The Center for HIV Law and Policy's current website and content-management system. A media studio based in Philadelphia with significant experience working with non-profit, civil rights and arts organizations, their primary services include strategic communications, branding and messaging, web design and development, content development, and graphic design.