Whitman-Walker gets $2M government grant for HIV research space in DC

Whitman-Walker has received a $2 million construction award from the National Institutes of Health’s Office of AIDS Research for the development of an HIV-focused biomedical research space in D.C.

It will be part of Whitman-Walker’s future building, the Max Robinson Center, on the St. Elizabeths East Campus redevelopment, which broke ground in 2021.

Whitman-Walker is building a community-centered clinical and transitional HIV research facility, bringing advancements in treatment and prevention to Wards 7 and 8, which it says face the District’s highest burden of HIV.

The grant will fund an addition of 10,000 square feet of research space to the 8,000 square feet already under development, with a state-of-the-art lab and its own pharmacy.

A rendering of the HIV-focused biomedical research space. (Courtesy Whitman-Walker)

“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,” said Dr. Jonathon Rendina, senior director of research at Whitman-Walker.

Whitman-Walker said there are more than 200 new HIV diagnoses every year in D.C., and 1.8% of D.C. residents are living with HIV. Whitman-Walker Health diagnoses more than one-third of the new HIV infections in the D.C. area.

The new 118,000 square foot Max Robinson Center, like the Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue facility in Southeast, will provide primary, behavioral and dental care, pharmacy needs, insurance services, education and training.

The facility is expected to open in 2024, and will triple Whitman-Walker’s current capacity for research.

It will also include the headquarters for the Whitman-Walker Institute, its policy and advocacy branch.

The St. Elizabeths East Campus already includes the Entertainment & Sports Arena, and will eventually include condos and apartments, a hospital, and additional office and retail space.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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