In 2012, a year before completing her MPH, CHRISTINA FARMARTINO was hired as executive director of The Open Door, which provides supportive housing and representative payee services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS—including active injection drug users (IDUs)—to improve their health and housing stability. Among other duties, Farmartino fosters strategic partnerships with national and local organizations related to HIV and homelessness; has assisted with replicating The Open Door’s model in two other cities; and has raised more than $250,000 over three years in additional, diversified funding, increasing the organization’s staffing, services, and administrative capacity. The housing assistance, structured environment, and support of The Open Door provides enables active IDUs to comply with medication protocols and clinic visits. As a result, residents show virtually no viral burden, thereby improving their own health and lessening the likelihood of infecting others.
Farmartino previously served as interim executive director and now board member of Prevention Point Pittsburgh, which provides health empowerment services, including needle exchange, to IDUs to prevent overdose and transmission of blood borne illnesses like HIV and Hepatitis C. In this role, she was responsible, among other things, for managing the organization’s core functions; expanding mobile needle exchange sites; and building relationships with national and local stakeholders and funders related to needle exchange, overdose prevention, and criminal justice. For more than two decades, Prevention Point Pittsburgh, working with the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Departments of Health and Jewish Healthcare Foundation, has had a major impact on the limited spread of HIV in the local community.
Farmartino earned an MPH in infectious diseases and microbiology in 2013 at Pitt Public Health.