Positive Impact was one of the collaborating agencies in the Emory Center for AIDS Mental Health Services (CAMS—the original SAMHSA mental health project) and was instrumental in encouraging the Metropolitan Atlanta HIV Health Services Planning Council (Title I) to establish the Mental Health Task Force to continue some of the work that the CAMS project initiated. The Chief Executive Officer of Positive Impact, Paul Plate, has served as the Chair of the Taskforce. In 1999, Positive Impact staff worked with the Congressional Black Caucus Atlanta committee to establish funding priorities. The agency has received Minority AIDS Initiative funding to provide counseling services in Spanish, to provide outreach services, and to present trainings to both clients and service providers.
The mission of Positive Impact is to eliminate the risk of HIV transmission and to empower those affected by HIV through culturally competent and inclusive prevention, education, mental health and substance abuse treatment services. Positive Impact is a 501(c)3 non-profit community-based organization that is directed by a Chief Executive Officer and guided by a Board of Directors.
The agency was founded in 1993 in response to the HIV care needs of Atlanta’s highly stigmatized and low-income communities by a group of Atlanta area mental health providers who believed that Atlanta needed a community-based agency dedicated to the HIV-related mental health needs of individuals living with HIV and their affected partners, family members, friends and caregivers. The founding board members made a commitment to enhance the capacity of the metropolitan Atlanta HIV services infrastructure by providing training and technical assistance to other agencies to help them better respond to the mental health needs of their clients. Direct services to Caucasian men who have sex with men (MSM) clients began on April 1, 1993.
In 1994, the agency received funding from Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) to provide mental health case management to homeless people with HIV. This program was designed to assist clients with accessing the services needed to maintain housing, stabilize their lives, and then begin utilizing mental health services. Many clients also needed psychiatric support, including assessment, prescriptions, and assistance with medication adherence. In response to this identified special need, the agency established the psychiatric assistance program in 2000.
In 1998, the agency formalized its training commitment to issues of diversity by establishing the Cultural Diversity Institute, an extensive and comprehensive two-day workshop that is presented on, at minimum, an annual basis. The Institute works in collaboration with mental health professionals in the community to better enable mental health service providers to address the increasingly complex cultural issues associated with this disease.
Positive Impact has a documented history of developing and maintaining long-term relationships with community-based organizations, health departments, academic institutions, and other organizations focused on public health. One of the unique achievements of Positive Impact has been the coordination of a partnership with AIDS Survival Project and AIDS Treatment Initiatives to establish “The 139 Center,” a comprehensive community-services center for people living with HIV.
The agency also has received recognition by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta as a finalist for the 1997 Managing for Excellence Award, and the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta presented the agency with the 2000 J.C. Penny Golden Rule Award for volunteer services. The agency's Chief Executive Officer received the 2000 John Kappers AIDS Community Service Award, one of Atlanta’s most prestigious awards for HIV-related services, and was awarded a Fellowship to the Center for Social Innovation Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at Stanford University in 2002.
In addition, Paul Plate, the Chief Executive Officer, earned a Master's degree in Counseling and Guidance in 1973 and is presently a licensed professional counselor (LPC). For five years, beginning in 1985, he served as the Coordinator of the Child Abuse Recovery Unit at the Bridge Family Center. In 1990, he served as the director of the centralized case management program for AID Atlanta, increasing the staff from six to 26, designed and implemented programs, secured funding, and managed evaluations and reporting. In 1993, he became the founding director of Positive Impact and has served as the Chief Executive Officer since that time.
StoryCorp Interview with Dr. Chris Allers and Paul Plate
The founder of the agency, Dr. Christopher Allers, and Paul Plate, the founding and current Executive Director of Positive Impact, discussing the founding, history and future of Positive Impact. Recorded by the StoryCorp Project on Saturday, September 11, 2010 in Atlanta, GA.
Positive Impact, Inc. | 60 Eleventh Street NE | Atlanta, GA 30309
Phone - 404.589.9040 | MISTER - 678.365.4300 | Fax - 404.589.1615 | Español - 404.523.1171 | to email us, visit our contact page.
General business hours are Monday through Friday 9am until 5pm. For specific program hours, please click here.