Providing Care With Pride

Providing Care With Pride

Posted in Health & Wellness, LGBT Health, Meet our Care Team, Uncategorized on September 28 2017    |  View All Posts

As a medical center that serves a large LGBTQ patient population, we’re highlighting some of the LGBTQ individuals on staff who wish to share their experiences at Whitman-Walker Health and what it means to ‘Provide Care with Pride‘ within our diverse communities.

“We serve you because we are you and want to provide the same safe space for health care that we’d personally want.”


“I wanted to be an LGBTQ therapist because I identify as gay. I faced struggles when I was younger regarding my sexual orientation. Therapy helped me and continues to help me live my life and manage life challenges. Connection is important in the work that I do, and I want clients to know that I am here for them and that they are not alone.”


 – Adam Bloom, LPC, NCC, MAC, Addictions Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health


“I work at Whitman-Walker Health because this is where my heart and my head can work together to support a common goal: to help others. In the WWH Legal Services Program, my lesbian and lawyer hats fit together perfectly to serve others. Fighting discrimination and pursuing social justice are exactly the reasons I went to law school nearly 20 years ago, and I consider myself lucky to be here. My colleagues and clients share invaluable wisdom with me every day. Thank you to the WWH community for making me a better person.”

 – Amy Nelson, Esq., Director of Legal Services, Legal Services


“As an LGBTQ-identified person, I’ve hoped to use my communications role to help raise others’ voices whether they be patients, clients, staff or community members. Here at Whitman-Walker, I have gained so much more in working and serving our diverse communities. I experience something new about our internal culture and about the culture we share outside of work each day. There isn’t a moment where I feel I have learned “enough” in my role. This is thanks in large part to my team, and I think it’s one of the things I love most about my job and about the way in which we approach care for our patients. We recognize our weaknesses, and never stop trying to be better; better employees, better caregivers, better people.”  

– Bryan Blanchard, External Affairs Assistant, External Affairs


“I got into this work because I believe that there is something really powerful that happens when we help one another in our community. When I have sought help from other Trans and Queer professionals, I have felt more at ease knowing that they share some aspect of my experience and it’s that much easier to place my confidence in them. As an attorney serving the LGBTQIA community, my goal is to show my clients the respect and compassion they deserve, and I hope that my being Trans is one ingredient that allows my clients feel seen and cared for.”

– Connor Cory, Skadden Legal Fellow, Legal Services


“As a gay man who came out in the 1970s, I lived through many years of shame and silence as a boy and young man.  I remember fears of losing my job, or being evicted, in the 70s; the terror and grief of AIDS in the 80s; the anger and frustration when the Supreme Court contemptuously dismissed our right to love in 1986 (in Bowers v. Hardwick).  I want to do everything I can to protect the rights, the dignity, and the health of sexual and gender minority folks at every stage of their lives, and to continue the fight against HIV for as long as it is still a reality and a threat.”

 – Daniel Bruner, Esq., Senior Director of Policy, External Affairs


“I found not only a job at Whitman-Walker but a home, a care team, and a community of individuals that just love each other and constantly work to make and hold space for anyone that walks in the door. I wasn’t out at my previous job and I grew up in a rural town, so I know how it can feel to hide part of your identity. I wanted to help others navigate a healthcare system that is daunting to so many LGBTIA-identified and to be here to validate and support folks through the hardships but also to celebrate victories with them.”

–  Erin Keefe, Manager of Public Benefits and Insurance Navigation, Public Benefits & Insurance Navigation


“I was born in Cameroon, where homosexuality remains illegal, and LGBTQ people live under constant threat of jail or death. While we have more legal protections in the United States, being black, gay, and an immigrant in this country fuels my passion for health equity and social justice. Whitman-Walker’s integrated care model and long history of providing health and legal services has enabled me to not only learn from brilliant individuals, but to become a better advocate for vulnerable populations.”

 – Guillaume Bagal, Public Policy Associate, External Affairs


“Growing up in rural Virginia at the height of the AIDS crisis, even before I had the words to describe myself as gay, I remember seeing Whitman-Walker in the news and I imagined wanting to be connected to this place and its work; I knew it had something to do with me. Fast-forward to toady: being a therapist and community-builder within my own community continues to be incredibly rewarding.

I saw a quote one time that said something like, ‘gifts I give to others, are also gifts to myself.’ This sums up beautifully the reward of working with and serving my community in all its delicious and beguiling diversity.”

 – Josh Riley, Director of Community Commitment, External Affairs


“I grew up on the west coast and was raised free to express who I wanted to be and I was never forced to define who I was. Then I moved to a conservative city in Louisiana for college. I was forced to name the box society put me in, and was judged for who I was, how I dressed and how I styled my hair, and who were in my social circles. I was misgendered on a daily basis and would be stared at constantly. I had many friends who were shunned from their families simply for being part of the LGBTQ. After this experience, I knew I wanted to work for an organization that would not only see me for my authentic self, but also provided a safe space for others like myself.  I not only wear my WWH badge with pride because of the amazing work we do, but also because I see it as a symbol to our LGBTQ patients that “I am one of you and I’ve got your back.”

 – Katie Nicol, Senior Manager of Public Benefits and Insurance Navigation, Public Benefits & Insurance Navigation


“As a black person living with HIV, specifically a queer person, I have witnessed firsthand the effects of stigma in my community. Stigma is REAL.  For years the stigma of being both queer and HIV+ caused me to neglect my health and embrace a state of denial. I wanted to work at Whitman-Walker to provide the support system that I know I would have benefited from. My goal everyday is to provide the education, compassion, empathy and affirmation that I would want someone to provide for me.”


 – Malachi Stewart, Mobile Care Navigator, Retention and Engagement in Care


“In serving the LGBTQ community, I’m serving my community… It’s who I am and where I belong.”




 – Patrick Hughes, DMD, Dental Director, Dental


“I knew I wanted to take care of the LGBTQ community after I came out during medical school.  So many people were there to affirm my self-identity and now I want to give back to the wonderful LGBTQ community that was there for me. Nothing gives me more happiness than to see my patients leave the office proud of their identity, accepted, loved,  and feeling healthy.”


 – Ray Martins, MD, Senior Director of Clinical Education and Training, Medical


“Growing up I always thought that being gay/different  was wrong. As I became older I realized it was my way of life. Today I stand before you as a PROUD TRANSGENDER WOMAN!  Strong, Educated, and Happy with the person I’ve become FREE!”




 – Sherri Meeks, Care Navigator, Retention and Engagement in Care


“Going through my own gender transition in the late 90’s felt lonely, scary and overwhelming at times. As I met more and more people in community though, I felt that perhaps I could help others who might be feeling the same way and saw no other way.   Working at Whitman-Walker has enabled me to listen, support, encourage and sometimes even challenge folks to be their best selves. It’s a privilege to work in community and I’m continually amazed and grateful for the opportunity to do so.”


 – Thomas J. Coughlin, LPC, NCC, Director of Gender Affirming Services, Behavioral Health


“As a lesbian healthcare practitioner, I hope that I can provide a safe, judgement-free space where patients feel understood and well cared for. I have always wanted to work in a queer space and feel so fortunate that my first job out of college was at Whitman-Walker where I have had the honor to work with wonderful colleagues and patients since 1999.”


 – Tina Celenza Remillard, PA-C, MPH, Physician Assistant, Medical