Congress Heights residents, District leaders, and the family of the late Max Robinson celebrated a major milestone for the Ward 8 community, officially opening the new Whitman-Walker Max Robinson Center.
The expansion is an essential piece of the St. Elizabeths East campus development plan, also slated to open a new hospital in 2025.
The collective of partnerships between the mayor’s office, District leaders, and the Whitman-Walker team have invested roughly $900 million in the St. Elizabeth’s campus since 2015, ensuring that developments enhance the livelihood of Ward 8 residents, and fill the gaps of health inequities that exist across the East of the River.
During Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser shared that the state-of-the-art research and healthcare facility comprises a transformational space intended to incubate local businesses as it grows to become a mixed-use development.
“We know the critical role that Whitman-Walker played in fighting the horrible AIDS epidemic that ravished our communities, and we know that the work continues. For all of us to make sure that we are lowering barriers to healthcare, the Max Robinson Center is a critical part of that work,” said Bowser.
The latest expansion of the Sycamore and Oak complex Whitman-Walker Max Robinson Center will provide primary and HIV care to residents, behavioral health services, substance use counsel
Robinson’s family was present for the groundbreaking event, sharing their praise for the longstanding work of the Whitman-Walker team and joy in what their brother’s legacy has inspired so many years after his passing.
“I’ve been involved with Whitman-Walker and the cause of the Max Robinson Center since its beginning. When Max was infected, we didn’t have medicines and people didn’t know much. There was such a stigma that we thought it was important to ignore all of these issues about why [he or anyone] had it and to make him the leader [of the cause]. It’s really important that we continue with that,” said Jewell Robinson, Max Robinson’s sister. “The new building is fantastic, it’s hard to believe. It’s so grand but still modest. Still able to reach the people and that’s what’s important. Max would be so proud.”
The continued investment toward the city’s health technology and life science sectors plans to host more than 40 clinical trial labs that will further advancements in HIV treatment and prevention, along with cancer research.
Ward 8 resident and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Deborah Wells was a proud witness to the commemorable work of Whitman-Walker over the years, as she has an extensive history of getting her healthcare with the renowned medical team since 2008.
“The Max Robinson Center didn’t just offer me support. The medical assistance that I received from the team was nothing short of a miracle,” Wells said. “They didn’t just treat my illness, they treated me with dignity, compassion, and respect. Today, I stand before you as a living testament to the power of this center. Thanks to the dedicated team at Max Robinson, I’ve been given a second chance at life.”