NIH Awards $2M to Whitman-Walker to Develop State-of-the-Art HIV Research Space at the New Max Robinson Center

October 7, 2022

WASHINGTON (October 3, 2022) - Whitman-Walker, a leader in LGBTQ health, research, and policy with special expertise in HIV care, today announces a $2 million dollar construction award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of AIDS Research to build a new state-of-the-art HIV-focused biomedical research space.

As part of a growing partnership between George Washington University and Whitman-Walker, the new and expanded research facilities will be jointly used by HIV investigators at both institutions, with a long-term goal to expand its capacity to include other researchers from the DC Center for AIDS Research. Whitman-Walker and GW have already collaborated on successful joint ventures in the past, including the District of Columbia Clinical Trials Unit joint partnership and Whitman-Walker’s involvement in the DC Cohort Longitudinal HIV Study. Both ventures aim to end the HIV epidemic in the nation’s capital. 

The research facilities will be a part of the new Max Robinson Center, Whitman-Walker’s future flagship building, which will be located on the St. Elizabeths East Campus redevelopment project in DC’s Ward 8. The construction grant will enable Whitman-Walker and GW researchers to bring cutting-edge advancements in HIV treatment and prevention science directly to DC’s Wards 7 and 8, which face the District’s highest HIV burden.

The grant represents a historic investment by NIH to strengthen infrastructure among institutions with a demonstrated mission to serve communities underrepresented in research. The location of the research facility will be on the 2nd floor of Whitman-Walker's new 7-story health care home currently under construction at 1200 Sycamore St. SE in the Congress Heights neighborhood.

The award will fund the addition of nearly 10,000 square feet of biomedical HIV research space to the approximately 8,000 square feet of research space already under development by Whitman-Walker. This research facility will support clinical and translational research with the addition of a state-of-the-art lab and dedicated research pharmacy. Overall, the added facility will more than double the available research space in the new building and serve as the primary collaborative hub for community-centered HIV research in Southeast DC.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dramatically expand our capacity to conduct cutting-edge HIV research in a space that centers community and fosters cross-institutional collaboration,” Jonathon Rendina, Senior Director of Research at Whitman-Walker Institute, Associate Research Professor of Epidemiology at  GW’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, and Principal Investigator on the new award, said. “The research space in the new Max Robinson Center will not only link researchers across institutions, but also across research methodologies, which we hope will lead to the scientific breakthroughs necessary to end the HIV epidemic and eradicate the intersectional inequities that have become a hallmark of HIV and more recently emerging pandemics, such as COVID-19. What is discovered in this new space will have implications broader than just HIV, and the next generation of scientists trained there will influence public health for decades to come.”