Robert Williams is a native of San Francisco and was raised in Oakland, CA which is where he still calls home, and where he remains closely connected to his family, friends, and community. As a Black gay man, he has been working on the HIV needs of men since 1993, but even before then he was personally impacted by HIV as he saw close friends pass from the devastation of this disease. The memory of those friends and seeing other friends still contracting HIV fosters his ongoing commitment to this work.
Robert is an expert in project management and has extensive experience conducting qualitative research. He has conducted key informant interview data collection and analysis on several NIH-funded research projects with young African American MSM, including those living with HIV. Mr. Williams has a 20+ year history of working in CBOs focusing on African American MSM, including at SMAAC (Sexual Minority Alliance of Alameda County) in Oakland, was on the board of directors for AIDS Project of the East Bay (Oakland), and has served on numerous community advisory boards, both locally and nationally, regarding research with African American MSM. He was the supervisor and coordinator of an NIH-funded research project to adapt and evaluate the Mpowerment Project with young, African American MSM in Dallas, TX, as well as supervised a research study in Houston, TX that adapted the Mpowerment Project to mobilize young black MSM (both HIV+ and HIV-) to support their HIV+ brothers to engage in HIV care. He was centrally involved in the adaptation of the MP for young black MSM. He is also closely networked with a variety of advisory committees and organizations focused on black MSM around the U.S. and was invited to advise the National HIV/AIDS Strategy team on issues about black MSM.