Inviting the community to drop in for an open-house event may have been a fairly regular offering at Whitman-Walker Clinic. In its new incarnation as Whitman-Walker Health, following a springtime name change to better reflect the health provider's mission, it's a first.
''Back in January, we started the renovation of the patient-waiting area,'' says Chip Lewis, deputy director of communications at WWH. ''This is a chance to come in and see the new lobby. It's more open, more welcoming. The lobby itself has been greatly expanded. A lot of offices have been taken out. There's some natural light. It's lighter and brighter.''
The Oct. 21 open house will also offer tours of the facility, along with refreshments donated by Whole Foods Market. Lewis says much of the emphasis in opening the 14th Street facility in such a way is to showcase the myriad services on offer. Most people are aware of the HIV/AIDS and STD services available, which is no surprise considering its start in the 1970s as the Gay Men's VD Clinic.
''There's a lot more that we do here,'' says Lewis, ticking through the mental health services, legal services and dentistry, for starters.
There will also be a tie-in to the Oct. 29 25th AIDS Walk Washington, a fundraiser for WWH. Those interested in participating will be able to register at the open house. Those who have already registered for the fundraiser will be able to pick up their AIDS Walk T-shirts at the open house. And, says Wells, it's an opportunity for them to see some of the fruits of their labors: ''They can see what their support does in a concrete way.''
The Whitman-Walker Health open house is Friday, Oct. 21, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., at 1701 14th St. NW. For more information, call 202-745-7000, or visit whitman-walker.org.