Kara Eastman is the new CEO of the Chicago-based HIV nonprofit TPAN, effective the end of August, according to a press release from TPAN.

Originally known as Test Positive Aware Network, TPAN offers care and treatment to those living with and at risk for HIV. TPAN publishes Positively Aware, spearheads the anti-stigma campaign “A Day With HIV” and has supported The Reunion Project, a series of workshops, retreats and campaigns geared toward long-term survivors.

Eastman is a Chicago native who moved to Nebraska, where she was a Democratic nominee for the state’s 2nd Congressional District in both 2018 and 2020. According to the press release, she has a master’s degree in clinical social work from Loyola University of Chicago and brings over 20 years of experience leading nonprofits in Chicago and Omaha.

“I’m honored to work with such an important organization and will do everything I can to widen its reach and continue to promote TPAN’s mission of self-empowerment,” Eastman said in the release. “One of the things that impresses me most about TPAN is its legacy of community outreach. TPAN began with a mailing list and a meeting, with small groups coming together to organize and share information. Today, TPAN has grown and adapted holistic measures for its clients, as HIV and its treatment have changed, affecting people in myriad different ways. I’m excited to begin this new chapter in my hometown.” 

“The TPAN board and management team is very excited to welcome Kara Eastman as our new CEO,” added board chair Michael Murphy. “Her experience and leadership are exactly suited to lead TPAN today and into the future.”

Eastman and her husband, Scott, a history professor at Creighton University in Omaha, will split their time between Chicago and Omaha, reports the Omaha World-Herald. “I’m honored to work with such an important organization and will do everything I can to widen its reach and continue to push the mission of self-empowerment,” she told the newspaper.

On her LinkedIn account, Eastman describes herself as the third CEO of TPAN, the founder of We Have the People PAC, a federal multicandidate political action committee focused on supporting candidates and civic education and outreach, and president of Kara Eastman Partners. She served as a vice-chair of the board of governors of Metropolitan Community College and the president and CEO of Omaha Health Kids Alliance.

“I’ve dedicated my entire career to racial, social and environmental justice,” she writes in the About section of her LinkedIn profile. Eastman adds that she is a “demonstrated leader in the nonprofit community with experience in consulting for organizations in high-level fundraising, major gifts programs, strategic planning and creating innovative marketing techniques.”

TPAN was founded in 1987.

In related news, The Reunion Project was nominated for a 2018 POZ Award for Best Media Campaign for People Living With HIV; the winner, as voted by readers, was the “Let’s Stop HIV Together” campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more about The Reunion Project, see “Why We Need to Create a National Coalition of Long-Term Survivors” and “Long-Term HIV/AIDS Survivors Meet for a Summit on Thriving.”