Allies for Health + Wellbeing to present 2024 Kerry Stoner Award to Dr. Daphne Curges

Curges, a public health and nonprofit consultant and former Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force staff member and Allies board member, will be presented with the annual Kerry Stoner Award at the Free for All on Friday, May 3

Photo courtesy of Allies for Health + Wellbeing.


Dr. Daphne Curges was living in New York City amidst the AIDS epidemic when she noticed that a neighbor wasn’t doing well. “My next-door neighbor, Penny – she aged overnight,” Curges said. “No one knew what that was about.” 

Penny had AIDS, and soon after, one of Curges’ cousins was diagnosed with the disease as well. “I realized, ‘Wow, it is in my backyard,’” she said. “And I woke up. I wanted to do something about it.” 

She decided to pursue a career in case management and public health. After moving to Pittsburgh in 2004, Curges accepted a job as director of CDC programs at the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. 

“I never looked back after that,” she said.  

Twenty years later, Curges is being honored with Allies for Health + Wellbeing’s annual Kerry Stoner Award for her work with people living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS. Stoner was one of the founders of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force and its first executive director. He died of complications of AIDS in 1993.

Since 2001, the Kerry Stoner Award is presented annually by Allies for Health + Wellbeing to someone who has shown commitment to Stoner’s legacy and vision. The award will be presented to Curges as part of the Free for All, Allies’ annual benefit gala, on Friday, May 3, at the Children’s Museum.   

“We are honored to present Dr. Curges with this year’s Kerry Stoner Award,” said Sean DeYoung, CEO of Allies for Health + Wellbeing. “Dr. Curges has been part of our organization as both a staff member and a board member, and her work has been vital to making Pittsburgh a healthier place for all its citizens, including people living with and at risk of HIV, hepatitis C and sexually transmitted infections. She is truly deserving of this recognition.” 

Pamela Smith, senior health advocate at Allies for Health + Wellbeing, worked with Curges during her time at the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, and the two remain good friends. 

“If something wasn’t right or I personally felt uncomfortable about it, she sat and worked through it with me and helped me through it,” Smith said. “She was just a very good, supportive leader.” 

Curges left PATF in 2010 to further her education. She received her PhD in public health from Walden University in 2016, focusing on HIV in Nairobi, Kenya, for her dissertation. She stayed involved in HIV work and eventually moved back to Pittsburgh, working as an independent nonprofit consultant before joining the team at Allegheny Health Network’s Positive Health Clinic.  

“But I still stayed connected to Allies,” Curges said. “That was my baby.” Curges served on the board of Allies for Health + Wellbeing from 2018 to 2023. 

Today, Curges is the director of Project Destiny Inc., operating a social determinants of health initiative through Highmark Health/Buhl Foundation.  She also is an entrepreneur, with one of her businesses offering nonmedical home care to residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. 

“We make sure people are safe and sound but able to live independently,” she said. 

Curges said that receiving the Kerry Stoner Award is “truly an honor. 

“As I collect this award, I’m collecting it for all those behind me,” she said. 

According to Smith, Curges is more than worthy of this recognition. 

“To me, the Kerry Stoner Award is for someone who has worked in this field and has gone above and beyond,” Smith said. “[Curges] has been in this field for so long. Not only has she worked at PATF, she’s been on the state planning committee for HIV. She’s been in collaboration with other organizations doing what’s needed. She kept the agency, as far as the prevention part, abreast of what we needed to do about HIV and AIDS. I’m glad she’s getting the award.” 

Curges lives in Avalon with her husband, Tim, who retired from the Allegheny County Health Department. She enjoys spending time with their grandchildren. 

About the Free for All

Registration for the Free for All, kicking off at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 3 is now available. The event will take place at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 10 Children’s Way, on the North Side. Club access includes complementary valet parking, the cocktail reception, dinner in one of four unique dining rooms, exclusive entertainment by GLO-TREE and the Kerry Stoner Award presentation.

The Free for All also is open to the public for free. Free admission includes the Free for All party, entertainment, dancing, and an open bar. Musical guests include Eagleburger Band, Paladin, Shay Park, Joey Young, Sherry CD-ROM, Manny Dibiachi and Formosa. Food trucks from Street Fries and Millie’s Ice Cream also will be available. Registration is required.

Guests are invited to join the afterparty at the Allegheny Elks Lodge, 400 Cedar Ave., at 10 p.m., with entertainment from DJTAYWAITS and Swampwalk.