03/14/2012 09:01 pm ET

Grant Colfax, San Francisco Doctor, Appointed By Obama As Director Of National AIDS Policy

SAN FRANCISCO -- On Wednesday, President Obama appointed San Francisco HIV prevention specialist Dr. Grant Colfax to direct the Office of National AIDS Policy.

Colfax, a research scientist, spent years with the San Francisco Department of Public Health as the Director of HIV Prevention and Research, developing programs to reduce cases of HIV in San Francisco. In his new role, he will do the same for the nation.

"Grant's expertise will be key as we continue to face serious challenges and take bold steps to meet them," said Obama in a statement. "I look forward to his leadership in the months and years to come."

In San Francisco, Colfax focused on behavioral risks in the drug-using population, specifically among methamphetamine users.

"Dr. Colfax has been instrumental in the decline of new HIV infections in San Francisco in recent years," said San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Neil Giuliano in a statement. "His unique blend of experience serving on the front lines of the epidemic, implementing the national strategy at the local level, working as a direct service provider within the Ryan White CARE system and conducting cutting-edge research makes him the right person at the right time to lead the Obama administration's efforts to end HIV/AIDS in the United States."

In the past decade, new cases of HIV in San Francisco have dropped substantially, thanks to education, prevention and advocacy programs like Grant's. The Office of National AIDS Policy works to coordinate the domestic approach to HIV prevention, and aims to eventually wipe out the virus completely.

"I know Dr. Colfax to be a gifted and talented visionary," said SFDPH Director of Health Barbara Garcia to The Huffington Post. "I am grateful to him for his commitment in the battle against the spread of HIV/AIDS and his many years of service to the community. President Obama made an excellent choice."