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Research & Breakthroughs

Windfall: Big City HIV Health Center Getting New Research Facility

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A government grant will fund an HIV-focused biomedical research space at Whitman-Walker Health.

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of AIDS Research awarded Washington D.C.'s Whitman-Walker Health group a $2 million grant to construct a research space for HIV.

The community-centered clinical and transitional HIV research facility is headed for the upcoming Max Robinson Center on the St. Elizabeths East Campus redevelopment, which just began construction in 2021.

The grant pays for an additional 10,000 square feet of space added on to the 8,000 already under development. The clinic will also have its own state-of-the-art lab and pharmacy.

Whitman-Walker’s senior director of research, Dr. Jonathan Rendina, said, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dramatically expand our capacity to conduct cutting-edge HIV research in a space that centers on community and fosters cross-institutional collaboration.”

With more than 200 new HIV diagnoses every year in D.C., Whitman-Walker diagnoses more than one-third of new infections.They bring advancements in treatment and prevention to Wards 7 and 8, which have the District’s highest rates of HIV. Overall, it is estimated that 1.8 percent of D.C. residents are currently living with HIV.

The 118,000 square foot Max Robinson Center will also provide primary, behavioral, and dental care with pharmacy needs, insurance services, education and training. It’s expected to triple Whitman-Walker’s current research capacity, which runs as a nonprofit that specializes in HIV health care. The headquarters for the Whitman-Walker Institute, its branch for policy and advocacy, will also be included.

The new facility is set to debut in 2024.

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