Our History

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About / Our History
Our History
Since 1973, Whitman-Walker has been a place where people can just be themselves without fear of judgement or retribution. Learn more about our organizational roots below.
1973
NOVEMBER 197301 November 1973
The Gay Men’s VD Clinic, part of the Washington Free Clinic, begins operating in the basement of the Georgetown Lutheran Church.
1976
197601 January 1976
The clinic hires its first full time staff.
1977
197715 July 1977
Clinic leaders separate from the Washington Free Clinic and begin to develop their vision for a new, diverse healthcare organization.
1978
JANUARY 197801 January 1978
On January 13th Whitman-Walker Clinic is officially chartered. The DC Department of Human Resources provides $15,000, the first city funds to support the organization.
OCTOBER 197801 October 1978
Whitman-Walker Clinic opens a new, rented facility at 1606 17th St, NW.
1980
198013 February 1980

A financial crisis threatens the clinic. The administrator resigns; programs are eliminated. The clinic moves into more affordable space on 18th Street in Adams Morgan. An as-yet-unnamed mysterious new disease begins striking primarily gay men in the nation’s largest cities.
1981
APRIL 198101 April 1981

Board member Jim Graham becomes Clinic president.
JUNE 198101 June 1981
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report contains an account of five young gay men who had an unusual cluster of infections. This is the first medical report on what would come to be known as AIDS.
SEPTEMBER 198101 September 1981
Whitman-Walker hires its first board-certified medical technologist for an in-house laboratory.
1982
JULY 198201 July 1982
The CDC identifies a condition that is later named Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
1983
198301 January 1983
Whitman-Walker launches an AIDS Education Fund to provide information, counseling and direct services to people with AIDS. The first District of Columbia contract for AIDS services is awarded to Whitman-Walker: $17,500 to operate the DC AIDS Infoline. The Clinic begins its first prevention advertising campaign.
1984
198401 January 1984
The Clinic opens an AIDS Evaluation Unit. It is the first gay, community-based medical unit in the country devoted to the evaluation and diagnosis of AIDS symptoms. Fifty-five patients are treated the first year, half have AIDS.
1985
198501 January 1985
Whitman-Walker opens the Robert N. Schwartz, MD, House, the city’s first home for people with AIDS. A second house opens in December. The Clinic begins anonymous testing for what is then called HTLV-III, becoming the largest testing site in the region.
1986
198601 January 1986
Whitman-Walker͛s housing program expands to four more homes. The Clinic opens a food bank; a full-time lawyer, Mauro Montoya, Esq., comes aboard to help people with HIV/AIDS handle legal issues, such as wills, power of attorney and disability entitlements. This is the beginning of what would become Whitman-Walker Legal Services.
FEBRUARY 198601 February 1986
Whitman-Walker launches a Northern Virginia Project to provide services to people with AIDS in Northern Virginia. The Sunnye Sherman AIDS Education Program opens with a $180,000 HIV prevention grant from DC government.
1987
198701 January 1987

Whitman-Walker moves into a larger facility at 14th & S Streets, NW. AZT is approved as the first treatment for HIV, and the Clinic holds its first AIDS Walk Washington.
SEPTEMBER 198701 September 1987
Whitman-Walker begins to offer dental care, making it one of three dental clinics for people with HIV in the nation. The Clinic opens the Scott Harper House for gay men and lesbians in recovery from substance abuse.
1989
198901 January 1989
The Clinic dedicates its Project NOVAA office in Arlington, which provides case management and education.
APRIL 198901 April 1989
The Clinic͛s main facility expands once more, allowing the food bank to move on-site. Whitman-Walker also becomes part of the National Institute of Health͛s AIDS Clinical Trials Program Group.
DECEMBER 198901 December 1989
The Clinic dedicates the Stewart B. McKinney House, its first house specifically for families with HIV.
1990
FEBRUARY 199001 February 1990
Whitman-Walker receives $142,000 from the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) to increase research studies as part of amfAR͛s clinical trials network. Whitman-Walker reaffirms its mission and dedication to lesbian and gay health by hiring full-time paid staff for the Lesbian Services and Mental Health Services programs.
1991
199101 January 1991
Congress passes the Ryan White CARE Act, providing federal funds that allow Whitman-Walker Clinic to add transportation services, interpreting, a Spanish-speaking physician and full-time dentist.
199101 February 1991

The Clinic dedicates a new outpatient care center for people with AIDS, the Bill Austin Day Treatment and Care Center. First Lady Barbara Bush attends the event.
1992
199201 January 1992
The Clinic͛s volunteers receive President Bush͛s Points of Light Award.
199201 February 1992

More than 20,000 walkers make AIDS Walk Washington the city͛s first $1 million AIDS fund-raiser. Donations through the United Way/Combined Federal Campaign top $1 million for the first time.
199201 March 1992
Whitman-Walker Clinic of Suburban Maryland opens in Hyattsville.
199201 April 1992
The first reports of successful combination drug treatments for AIDS are published.
1993
APRIL 199301 April 1993

The Max Robinson Center is dedicated in Anacostia in Southeast Washington, DC.
JULY 199301 July 1993

The Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center is constructed to offer expanded services, including an eye care center, x-ray facilities, an expanded laboratory, a new dental facility and 12 examination rooms.
1994
199401 January 1994
The Northern Virginia AIDS Project of Whitman-Walker Clinic expands and is renamed.
1995
199501 January 1995

President Clinton holds the first White House AIDS Summit.
199501 February 1995
The Food and Drug Administration approves 3TC, an anti-HIV drug, and the first protease inhibitor, Saquinavir. Measuring viral load proves a significant predictor of HIV disease progression.
1996
199601 January 1996

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, National AIDS Policy Director Patsy Fleming, and French First Lady Bernadette Chirac visit the Clinic to participate in a roundtable discussion with women in the Woman͛s Interagency HIV Study.
JUNE 199601 June 1996
The first DC AIDS Ride raises a total of $4.5 million for several AIDS organizations, including Whitman-Walker Clinic. The Washington AIDS Partnership awards Whitman-Walker a grant to begin a needle exchange program. The Clinic launches a needle exchange program the following year.
1997
FEBRUARY 199701 February 1997
The Clinic replaces traditional blood-based testing, with a breakthrough oral HIV test, which is just as effective as blood tests.
199701 March 1997
Whitman-Walker Clinic receives a bequest from the estate of Dr. Richard Karpawich. This $2 million becomes the foundation of the clinics endowment.
1998
199801 January 1998
The Washington AIDS Partnership awards Whitman-Walker a $42,000 grant to expand the Clinic͛s needle exchange program. Later this year, Congress passes a District budget with restrictions on federal funding for organizations conducting needle exchange programs. In response, an independent corporation is incorporated to fill the need called Prevention Works, Inc.
199801 February 1998
The National AIDS Marathon Training Program is launched and raises $2 million for the Clinic.
199801 March 1998
Jim Graham resigns as executive director to serve on the DC City Council.
1999
199901 January 1999
The counseling and testing program goes mobile with a van that provides testing at health fairs, festivals and bars.
199901 February 1999
Whitman-Walker is awarded $1.8 million to pay for increasing drug costs through the Pharmacy Drug Assistance Program. The Clinic also begins to accept Medicaid.
2000
200001 January 2000
A. Cornelius Baker is appointed executive director of the clinic. Nearly all client services in Northwest DC are moved to the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center.
2001
200101 January 2001
Whitman-Walker’s Northern Virginia site dedicates the Healing Garden and Labyrinth. Whitman-Walker partners with 13 other HIV/AIDS service organizations to promote a national education and awareness campaign: 20 Years of AIDS Is Enough. Public service announcements are broadcast on 225 TV stations and 260 radio stations around the country.
2002
200201 January 2002
The Clinic operates the DC Department of Health͛s HIV/AIDS Information line in Spanish and English 24 hours a day. Latino outreach expands with a task force – Spanish Pathways – to ensure that programs and services are serving the Spanish-speaking community. Whitman-Walker also teams up with La Clínica del Pueblo in a new outreach program to the Latino community.
2003
200301 January 2003
Nearly 1,000 people participate in the National AIDS Marathon training program and raise $2.5 million for Whitman-Walker.
200301 February 2003
After a six-year partnership with One in Ten, Whitman-Walker Clinic becomes the sole presenter of Capital Pride.
2004
200401 January 2004
Financial problems lead to the closing of the Schwartz Housing Program and the transition of all housing clients to other providers.
200401 February 2004
A. Cornelius Baker resigns as executive director. Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti, the Clinic͛s managing director of operations, is tapped as interim executive director.
200401 March 2004
The CDC and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield help the Clinic observe World AIDS Day by providing funds for two new mobile HIV testing units, one aimed at African Americans and the other at Latinos.
200401 April 2004
The National AIDS Marathon program raises $3.4 million for the clinic. The Lesbian Services Program moves into new space at 1810 14th Street, NW.

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