40 Stories

As part of Whitman-Walker’s 40th anniversary, officially January 13, 2018, we’re sharing 40 stories to help tell the narrative of Whitman-Walker in community.

Please join us in recognizing, and reflecting upon, the life of Jim Graham.

Grayson & Christine, I See the Real You

We’d like to formally introduce you to Grayson and Christine, two compassionate individuals and partners in life. They inspire us to love harder and pursue our passions.

Kermit Turner, Music Notes and the Many Faces of Healthcare

Please meet Kermit Turner, a patient, supporter and friend of Whitman-Walker. Partly growing up in the “Shell Pile” of New Jersey, and partly in Annapolis, MD, Kermit was the first Black page at the Anne Arundel Public Library. He composed music throughout high school and college and got his first HIV test at Whitman-Walker. Kermit’s journey with healthcare includes holistic healing, lymphoma, mistreatment and finding a partnership with his doctor that worked for him. Kermit has served on the Ryan White planning council, worked in housing advocacy, and provided condoms and informal sex education to young people in his community.

Madison Chambers, Growing & Educating with Real Talk DC

Please meet Madison Chambers, former member of Whitman-Walker Youth Services’ Real Talk DC program and Miss District of Columbia Teen USA 2018! On Friday, February 2, 2018, Whitman-Walker recognized its 3-year anniversary of providing Youth Services to community after collaborating with Metro TeenAIDS in 2015.

Joanne Sincero, Serving Empathy

Please meet Joanne Sincero, a veteran employee of the Whitman-Walker family. Joanne began working with people experiencing homelessness in DC at N Street Village in the late 1980s. Her innate empathy and dedication to serving others led her to work at Whitman-Walker’s Bill Austin Center Day Treatment program in 1994. Now the Wellness Coordinator at Whitman-Walker, Joanne shares her personal and professional journey.

Chris Straley, Understanding Us as People

We’d like you to meet Chris Straley, an individual who transformed his personal life lessons into his passion and career. Originally from West Virginia, Chris is a psychotherapist, former Whitman-Walker Health employee and forever Whitman-Walker family!

Richshaad Ryan, Marking Each Birthday with an HIV Test

We’d like to formerly introduce you to Richshaad Ryan. Richshaad is a DC-based artist who uses his art to spread good energy, peace and love to his community. He’s a firm believer that we all have something to learn from each other. Richshaad uplifts the idea that we should, “love and live every day to fullest because we don’t know when the end is. Be kind. We all human.” 

Carl Corbin, Whitman-Walker Makes Me Feel Like a Person

Please meet Carl Corbin, former Patient Advisory Committee member at Whitman-Walker Health! Originally from Virginia, Carl has helped Whitman-Walker adapt its care practices and priorities from a patient’s point of view. Carl never fails to support a client in need around the health center and ensures their care needs are being met. After recovering from open-heart surgery and becoming disabled, Carl came to Whitman-Walker for Public Benefits and Insurance Navigation services to enroll in public assistance and insurance coverage. 

Gerard Tyler, Disco & Getting Friends Tested

This week meet Gerard Tyler! In 2017, Gerard hit the 15-year milestone of volunteering his time, energy and empowering authority to the Gay Men’s Health & Wellness Clinic. This is Whitman-Walker’s walk-in sexual health clinic and our longest running program, originally started in 1973 as the Gay Men’s VD Clinic. A native Washingtonian, Gerard shares his story about growing up in DC, life at the height of the AIDS crisis, and his own experience with HIV care. Gerard continues to volunteer his time and mentor ship.

Barbara Lewis, Empowering Women through Healthcare

This week we bring you, Barbara Lewis! Barbara’s journey with Whitman-Walker began in 1979 when she worked with the Washington Free Clinic to start a weekly Lesbian Health Night. Now a physician’s assistant at Whitman-Walker, Barbara celebrated her 20th anniversary as an employee this past March 2018! Barbara shares her journey and perspective on the history of Whitman-Walker, as well as how her work in lesbian and women’s health inspired aspects of the care we provide today.

Bianca Rey, Advocating for Myself and My Community

We’d like to formally introduce you to Bianca Rey, an influential woman in DC’s LGBTQ community. Growing up in the Philippines with a supportive and accepting family, Bianca recognized her authenticity and decided to live her truth.

After years of volunteering and demonstrating leadership, Bianca serves as chair of the Capital Trans Pride planning committee. Bianca works and advocates for a world that doesn’t see the transgender community as a political platform, but just “transgender as human-beings.” She envisions a world where healthcare and insurance policies are competent and inclusive of the health needs of transgender and non-binary people.

Adisa Bakare, A Helpful & Passionate “Leader of Many”

We’d like you to meet Adisa Bakare, an individual who co-started Whitman-Walker’s East of the River Fall Festival – a school supplies drive and community block party now entering its 3rd year.

Born in Nigeria, raised in DC and educated in Maryland; Adisa is a natural leader and advocate for his community. Adisa serves as Whitman-Walker’s Operations Manager at Max Robinson Center and Youth Services. He strives to make every client and patient visit a memorable experience with only the highest of customer service.

Winifred Quinn, Advocating for LGBTQ Seniors through Policy

Please meet Winifred Quinn, a patient and board member with Whitman-Walker. Winifred fights for LGBTQ seniors’ right to age in place and age in their homes. She envisions a future Whitman-Walker where LGBTQ families can come in for healthcare whether for the parents, grandparents or children!

D. Magrini, A Washingtonian & What She Wishes She'd Known Before the HIV Epidemic

Please meet D Magrini! Today, D is the Community Commitment and Training Coordinator at Whitman-Walker Health. D tells her story of first learning of HIV/AIDS as GRID from a gay man in Michigan who had come home to die. A native of Washington, DC, D describes her childhood in the city, her service with the military and her time working at Lambda Rising – an LGBT bookstore in DC from 1974-2010.

Lili Leonard, The Strength of Being a Lifelong Learner

Please meet Dr. Lili Leonard, Director of Development and Major Gifts at Whitman-Walker. A Salisbury and Frostburg State alumna, competitive athlete and parent to chickens, horses and a pup named Ruby — Lili has the ability to walk into any room and fill it with her good energy. She believes in the strength of being a lifelong learner and that how Whitman-Walker practices lifelong learning by adapting its care model to the needs of its’ patients. Lili earned her doctorate in education in April 2018.

Derrick "Strawberry" Cox, Spreading Joy & Love to My Community

We’d like to introduce you to Derrick Cox, affectionately known as Strawberry. An actor, model, dancer and activist in DC, Strawberry enjoys spreading as much great energy as he can. A native Washingtonian, Strawberry shares his story of being positive in the age of one-pill-a-day HIV treatment.

Joe Izzo, Re-Defining Safer Sex in the Age of HIV/AIDS

Please meet Joe Izzo, a 32-year veteran employee at Whitman-Walker Health. Joe was first hired at Whitman-Walker to lead the Sunnye Sherman AIDS Education Project. In this role, Joe coordinated HIV/AIDS prevention and education outreach to high risk populations of male, female and transgender sex workers, intravenous drug users, recently incarcerated individuals and homeless populations. Since August 1991, Joe has served hundreds of clients in Whitman-Walker’s Behavioral Health department as an individual and group psychotherapist. Joe has walked in all 31 Walk & 5K to End HIV events, formerly AIDS Walk Washington, to date.

Ahmed Alibrahim, Gaining Strength & Living Each Day Like It's Your Last

Please meet Ahmed, an individual who believes in the power of politics for positive change. A native of Baghdad, Ahmed moved to the U.S. with his family seeking safety and acceptance. Safety, from the Iraq civil war and acceptance for his identity as a gay man and a person who didn’t believe in God. Ahmed was first introduced to Whitman-Walker after Googling “HIV testing” in DC.

Tony Burns, Learning and Living with HIV in Washington, DC

Please meet Tony Burns! A native Washingtonian, Tony shares his memories of growing up in Northwest and Southeast DC, in the aftermath of the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He highlights his journey of care with Whitman-Walker’s Austin Center and becoming a peer mentor with the +1 Peer Mentor Program.

Whitman-Walker Health, We See You

We’d like to re-introduce ourselves. We are Whitman-Walker Health, a federally qualified nonprofit health center serving the greater Washington, DC community. Aging back to 1973, Whitman-Walker started as a Gay Men’s VD Clinic in the basement of Georgetown Lutheran Church and offered alcohol substance abuse services specific to gay men. We incorporated as Whitman-Walker Clinic in 1978 and were mildly prepared for the HIV/AIDS epidemic to come.

During our 40+ years of fighting stigma and saving lives, one component has stayed the same — you. You have been the reason we exist. You have been our communities and our family.

You deserve a healthcare home where you can be you and be treated with dignity, respect and love. Serving you is our privilege.