Kelly McCann (BS '83)
McCann graduated from SHSU with a degree in Psychology and later did some graduate work in Clinical Psychology. She worked for the Texas Department of Corrections (as it was called in those days) as an Associate Clinical Psychologist at the Goree Unit in Huntsville before moving to Houston and working in community mental health. In 1996 she went into the HIV/AIDS field full time. She currently serves as Chief Executive Officer for AIDS Foundation Houston. “I know the work I do is vitally important because AIDS poses a major threat to our citizens and our country,” she said. “HIV disease is not only physically debilitating and life-threatening, but it can be emotionally, socially and financially devastating as well,” she said. “HIV impacts people from all walks of life regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or economic status, so the work I do potentially affects everyone,” she said. “Through my work, I provide services for men, women, and children who are desperately in need of assistance to help them live longer and healthier lives,” McCann said. “I also work to raise awareness of HIV/ AIDS which helps to eliminate stigma and reduce the number of new infections.” Although McCann would like to see her work contribute to the eradication of HIV/ AIDS in her lifetime, she said she knows it’s a “pretty tall order” given the complexity of the disease and difficulty of getting people to change risky behaviors. “Perhaps more attainable are short-term goals that include preventing as many new HIV infections as possible through education, routine testing, linkage to medical care for newly diagnosed patients, and of course, easing the suffering of those living with HIV/AIDS,” she said. In addition to the work she is doing now, McCann served as an external consultant for the Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Correctional Health Care in 2004; she’s written a monthly column for Texas leading gay magazine, “OutSmart,” and she was elected Female Grand Marshal of Houston’s gay pride parade in 2008.