Recent Criticism of Washington, D.C.’s Whitman-Walker Could ‘Undermine’ Clinic, Editorial Says
Washington, D.C., Council Member David Catania's recent criticism of the Whitman-Walker Clinic could "undermine the very institution he says he's trying to save," a Washington Post editorial says. According to the Post, Catania has "embarked on a destructively aggressive campaign to oust [the clinic's] leadership." Catania has "accused the agency of financial mismanagement" and "alleges" that the clinic is "getting away from its core constituency."
The editorial adds that although there are "legitimate questions about what's happening with the 31-year-old clinic," the "clinic's efforts to branch out beyond serving gay men and lesbians are both an economic necessity and an appropriate response to the changing nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic" in the district. In addition, the clinic has been able to "secure additional federal financial support" by "[p]romising to serve as a primary-care health center open to all, while continuing to offer HIV/AIDS services." Although Whitman-Walker was "created by the gay community for the gay community," as the "demographics of the disease have changed, so must the clinic, if it and the critical services it provides are to survive," the editorial says. Catania's "efforts to hound out" the clinic's chief financial officer, who was hired last month to "put Whitman-Walker on a more secure path only undermine the institution's stability," according to the editorial. The editorial adds that it "took three years for the organization to find a chief financial officer who wasn't spooked by its shaky financial infrastructure," concluding, "Imagine how long it would take to find a new chief executive willing to endure a torrent of abuse that distracts from the clinic's important mission" (Washington Post, 5/5).