A Message From Dr. Zandraetta Tims-Cook, MD, MPH, Founder
An HIV diagnosis can be a life-altering event, and the stigma and fear of it can lead to overwhelming shame and a multitude of questions that are germane to women as mothers, daughters, sisters or wives. The Heather Ivy Society was created as a welcoming space for women to connect and share their experiences with other women and professionals as well as gain support and guidance in women-specific HIV matters. The name Heather Ivy was created by a patient as a means to discretely discuss her HIV experience in public with family and friends. I adopted this name for the support network because this is the discrete camaraderie that I endeavor to offer to any and all women affected by HIV.
Through the Heather Ivy Society, I hope that you will find that your journey is shared by countless women, who continue to live healthy, prosperous, dynamic and sensual lives. You may be worried about the effects of your new medicines on your physical appearance or whether you can ever have more children. Perhaps you are troubled by what you believe your children will think of your HIV diagnosis or apprehensive to reveal your HIV-positive status to the new man or partner in your life. The online support of the Heather Ivy Society and its members will hopefully allow you to interface with other women who share your journey and deliver to you insightful answers to your questions. Through the online network, you can ask questions and create discussions; read testimonials and access articles written by professionals that provide you with the information and encouragement essential to living a full and abundant life. You will, also, find a schedule of in-person events through which to further network and gain more information regarding HIV.
Dr. Tims-Cook is a board-certified infectious diseases specialist in Atlanta, GA. She grew interested in the health concerns of women while studying public health in New York, NY. She became especially concerned about the growing number of HIV infections among African-American women in the early millennium, particularly in the South, and decided on a career in medicine in the field of infectious diseases. She maintains an interest in the health concerns of women, with a particular focus on HIV health disparities. She has published research with the HIV Prevention Trials Network and is active throughout the nation in HIV education.
Dr. Tims-Cook is currently an assistant professor of medicine at Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center in the Department of Internal Medicine. She is the proud mother of two beautiful daughters and is a member of Cascade United Methodist Church.
Ms. Nicole Gustin is an award-winning communications professional with 25 years of experience in internal and external communications. She is experienced in developing strategic communications plans and executing successful campaigns in traditional and digital marketing – including video advertising, live Facebook chats, social media marketing, and content marketing. She is skilled at creating and managing Facebook pages, and her social media posts have gone viral, reaching nearly 190,000 people organically with a single post. Additionally, she has pioneered new types of advertising with media partners, resulting in record-breaking audience reach and leads.
Nicole’s proactive approach to public relations has resulted in coverage in top-tier media outlets in the U.S. and 20 countries, including: El Pais (Spain), Toronto Star (Canada), Evening Standard (London), USA Today, New York Times, Time magazine, Boston Globe, Good Morning America, Today Show and many others. She has served as a spokesperson in numerous local and national media outlets, including Washington Post, People, ESPN, and E!
A former journalist, Nicole has strong writing and editing skills. She has led numerous internal communications campaigns and is adept at crafting communications on behalf of CEOs – producing compelling newsletters, memos, speeches, talking points, articles and change management communications.
Nicole is currently the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for an acute care hospital in downtown Atlanta, the second largest hospital in Georgia.
Mr. Robert Jackson is a brilliantly creative fundraising executive whose leadership and experience have raised millions of dollars for higher education institutions and not-for-profit agencies. Under his leadership, the agencies he has served have acquired not only significant resources but positioned themselves for continued stability to improve the lives of countless students and vulnerable families. Currently, Robert is a director of development for Emory Law, and most recently he was instrumental in leading the department in achieving the unit goal of $4 million as well as completing its challenge objective of $5 million during the law school’s Centennial year. Primarily leading its major gifts program, which included the conclusion of two challenge grants, Robert also manages its annual fund program that routinely achieved its unrestricted revenue goal of $1 million.
Prior to Emory Law, Robert served as a director of development for Spelman College. Under the leadership of President Dr. Tatum, Robert was an integral part of the major gifts team that was successful in completing Spelman’s largest comprehensive campaign of $150 million. Robert worked closely with a member of its Board of Trustees to effectively fulfill the $1 million challenge grant from the Ford Foundation. Additionally, he has held front-line fundraising positions at Lutheran Services of Georgia and Atlanta Mission.
Robert is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He holds a BA in Marketing from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA. Originally from California, he is married and enjoys traveling and sports.
Ms. Freda Jones is pure dynamism in the domestic struggle to end HIV and its associated stigma. Freda was diagnosed with HIV in 2002. At the time of her diagnosis, she knew it was imperative to take a stand against the disease. In 2003, she began work with Aniz, Inc., which focused on women and children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. She has since held numerous leadership roles in the “Reaching Out to Sisters with HIV/AIDS” (ROSHA) program; as a facilitator for the “VOICES” and “SISTA” programs; as an outreach worker with Recovery Consultants of Atlanta, which targets people who live with HIV/AIDS and substance abuse issues. She is certified as an HIV peer adherence counselor as well as a pre/ post-HIV testing counselor.
Freda has been profiled extensively for her expertise and service dedication to the HIV community. She was highlighted in the newspaper, Atlanta Voice, featuring her as a vibrant woman living with HIV/AIDS. She has been featured in educational videos and documentaries, including the faith-based educational video entitled “HIV/AIDS: Have We Forgotten,” which was nominated for a Telly Award in 2009. In 2011, Freda received an award from Sistas Organizing to Survive for the contribution that she continues to give to the community. Freda serves on the Board of Directors at Recovery Consultants of Atlanta. She has served on several planning committees for HIV events throughout the Atlanta area. She is a featured speaker for multiple pharmaceutical companies and was, also, an ambassador for the nationwide campaign, “Greater Than Aids.”
Freda served as the Chair of the AAOI (Atlanta Area Outreach Initiative) for four years, a healthcare initiative for people living with HIV/AIDS. She is the founder of PPOG (Positive Peers of Georgia).
Adrienne L. Ware
Ms. Adrienne Ware never disappoints in her genius gifs of organization and creative leadership. Adrienne is a well-seasoned IT professional, who has held numerous leadership positions with AT&T, Avaya, Hewlett-Packard, and most recently ADP. Her diverse background and more than 20 years of experience in IT services have been recognized in the industry both domestically and internationally. She has a track record of growing both revenue and market share in both traditional and professional services. Adrienne has been the recipient of the National Eagle Leadership Institute Award and the Avaya Leadership Award. She was nominated for Woman of the Year by Women in Technology and was presented with the coveted Benjamin L. Hooks Award by the NAACP. She has also served on the boards of the American Red Cross and Camp Fire Boys and Girls Club. Adrienne was featured on the front cover of the Competitive Edge Magazine – Women of Change are Charting Their Own Courses.
Adrienne majored in Computer Systems at Howard University in Washington, DC and Leadership Development at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in Durham, NC. She and her husband have two children and reside in Tucker, GA.
Contact us if you are struggling with an HIV diagnosis, and you need support. Based in Atlanta, GA, our organization proudly offers our services to women throughout the nation.