Allison Nichol, who is a national expert on disability rights and HIV law, has been appointed the first co-director of the Center for HIV Law and Policy, according to a CHLP press release.

The center is a national resource and strategy center focused on law and policy; it supports lawyers, advocates and legal service providers who battle HIV discrimination issues.

Nichol had previously served as the chief and deputy chief of the disability rights section of the civil rights division in the U.S. Department of Justice. She specialized in issues related to the Americans With Disabilities Act, the law that is often referred to in cases of HIV discrimination. She founded the division’s GLBTQI Working Group, and she’s the author of United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Best Practices Guide to Reform HIV-Specific Criminal Laws to Align with Scientifically-Supported Factors and the co-author of Prevalence and Public Health Implications of State Laws that Criminalize Potential HIV Exposure in the United States.

Nichol will work with CHLP’s executive director Catherine Hanssens in managing the center’s programmatic and financial strategic planning and development.

“It is an honor to be part of this premier organization and their many allies and partners,” Nichol said in the release. “The Center for HIV Law and Policy’s inspired policy analysis and use of the law is informed by a unique vision and a real passion for justice. I admire CHLP’s focus on communities that frequently are overlooked, and look forward to bringing my decades of experience in federal disability anti-discrimination law to advance CHLP’s national advocacy agenda.”

Nichol “is a brilliant lawyer with unique, extraordinary experience and a decades-long commitment to advancing the rights of people living with HIV,” Hanssens added. “She is a sought-after speaker on a wide range of disability rights issues, and a persistent visionary with real compassion for the communities we serve. We are extraordinarily lucky to have her as a leading member of our team.”