Erik Valera is Program Director for Latinos in the Deep South at the Latino Commission on AIDS. The program focuses on the emerging Latino population in southern states and related areas with burgeoning Latino communities. As Program Director, he works to build local leadership, strengthen networks and coalitions, enhance knowledge and cultural responsiveness, and spur actions to address the needs of the emerging Latino/Hispanic populations. Since 1993 Mr. Valera has worked to implement community and clinical programs for those affected by the HIV epidemic. Additionally, his expertise serves to support organizations and communities in the areas of community based participatory research, marketing, and professional networking. Erik holds a BA in Communication Studies with a concentration in Public Relations and Organizational Communication from California State University, Los Angeles. He lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.