CWGHR Regrets to Announce the Passing of Founding Executive Director Elisse Zack

Leading HIV advocate and pioneer leaves behind great legacy.

 Toronto, August 1, 2014 – It is with profound sadness that co-Chairs of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR), David Salter and Glyn Townson, announce the passing of founding Executive Director Elisse Zack. Elisse passed away peacefully at the Palliative Care Unit of Bridgepoint Health yesterday evening.

“This is a terrible personal loss for many of us, and for the extended CWGHR family”, said David Salter. “Elisse dedicated fifteen years to building CWGHR and to advocating on behalf of those living with HIV and other episodic disabilities. As a result, CWGHR has become a pioneer in many of the areas she championed, including HIV and aging and access to rehabilitation, among many others.”

Glyn Townson shared, “Elisse engendered enormous respect as one of our sector’s strongest leaders. For those who knew her well, you couldn’t help but develop a sense of great affection and loyalty because of her expert knowledge, as well as her candour, integrity, kindness, and great sense of humour. We extend heartfelt condolences to Elisse’s family and friends at this time, and we shall miss her terribly.”

Elisse worked in the field of HIV/AIDS since 1994, initially with the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) to coordinate a national project on HIV and tuberculosis. She held a Master’s Degree in Management with a focus on the non-profit sector and a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Adult Education. Elisse was the Executive Director of CWGHR from 1998 through November 2013.

CWGHR will be holding a celebration of Elisse’s life on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 from 9:30 – 11:30a.m. at The 519 Church Street Community Centre in Toronto. This will be an important opportunity for many of us to honour our friendship with Elisse and pay tribute to her long and distinguished career in HIV.


About the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation

The Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR) is a national charitable organization that promotes innovation and excellence in rehabilitation in the context of HIV and related conditions. Our membership and activities are multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary. CWHGR is a leader and catalyst for improved rehabilitation services for people living with HIV and related conditions through integrated research, education, policy and practice.

Ms. Tammy C. Yates
Manager, Programs and Communications
Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR)
416-513-0440 ext 240 ;