Oral history interviews were conducted by Michael Brown, Lawrence Knopp, and David Reyes—volunteers with the Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project—and by former AIDS Prevention Project Program Manager Tim Burak.
Tim BurakTim Burak served Public Health – Seattle & King County for 35 years, beginning in 1974 as Dental Program Coordinator. In 1985, Tim was hired as Program Manager for the AIDS Prevention Project, and then from 1995 through 2006, he worked as Community Health Center Program Manager. In 2006 Tim became Program Manager for HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Grants and retired in 2010.
Ann DownerAnn Downer has worked as a public health professional in domestic and international settings for more than 35 years. She began her public health career as an educator with Planned Parenthood International and later worked as a trainer, curriculum specialist, and manager in public and private schools, clinics and hospitals, non-profits/NGOs, health departments, and with Ministries of Health and Education around the world. Dr. Downer was a member of the original team that founded the Seattle-based Committee for Children in 1981. Committee for Children is a non-profit organization based in Seattle that has taught millions of children the skills needed for managing their emotions, problem solving, and seeking help if they are being hurt. Teachers in schools all over the world now use the social and emotional learning materials of Committee for Children. Dr. Downer joined the Seattle-King County Dept. of Public Health (SKCDPH) in early 1986 as the first Health Educator on the CDC-funded demonstration project called The AIDS Project. Dr. Bud Nicola led the well-regarded SKCDPH at that time, and Ann reported to Dr. Bob Wood, a pioneering HIV/AIDS specialist. Ann and her team supported development of behavioral research protocols and produced some of the first AIDS prevention campaigns in the state of Washington. Many of those mass media campaigns, curriculum products, and behavioral interventions are still in use today. Dr. Downer left the health department in 1989 for an appointment on the faculty of the University of Washington (UW), Department of Health Services. She transferred into the newly formed Department of Global Health when it was established in 2007. During her many years at UW, Dr. Downer has taught courses on mass media in health, educational theory, health promotion planning, and management and leadership. She founded two centers at UW during this time, including the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) that now employees more than 600 people worldwide and operates 12 offices outside the US. I-TECH, the second largest program in the history of UW’s external funding, provides technical assistance to strengthen national healthcare systems and increase human capacity for health throughout the developing world. Much of its work is focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment. Dr. Downer holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Education and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.
Frank ChaffeeFrank Chaffee joined the AIDS Prevention Project in 1986 and currently serves as Manager of Public Health – Seattle & King County’s HIV/STD Program. He plans to retire soon, after 30 years with King County.
Gary GoldbaumTrained as a physician, Gary Goldbaum joined the AIDS Prevention Project in 1989 as Assistant Medical Director after earning his Master of Public Health from the University of Washington. In 2007, Gary moved to his current position as Director of the Snohomish Health District in Snohomish County, Washington. Gary also served as Associate Professor with the University of Washington from 1996 through 2013.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MDDr. Handsfield is Professor Emeritus of Medicine, University of Washington Center for AIDS and STD. From 1978 through 2005, he directed the Public Health – Seattle & King County STD Control Program, and for the first three years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic was the main public face of AIDS prevention and public education in Seattle and King County. He also was among the national experts first consulted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to formulate HIV prevention strategies and the national response to AIDS. During four decades of research, clinical services, and education on STDs, Dr. Handsfield has authored or co-authored over 200 research papers, monographs, reviews, chapters, and a book, Color Atlas and Synopsis of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, currently in its third edition. He continues to consult frequently for CDC on STD prevention and treatment and twice served CDC as a visiting scientist. In 2010 Dr. Handsfield received the American STD Association’s Distinguished Career Award (formerly known as the Thomas Parran Award), the nation’s highest accolade for lifelong contributions to STD research and prevention. He remains active as an Associate Editor of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the main journal for STD research, and as an attending physician at Harborview Medical Center.
Karen HartfieldKaren Hartfield joined the AIDS Prevention Project as HIV Prevention Planner in 1988 and worked in that capacity for 15 years. Prior to joining Public Health, she worked for the Seattle Urban League as a sex educator for parents and their children. Karen was also a founding board member of the People of Color Against AIDS Network. Her current role with Public Health – Seattle & King County is as Health Services Administrator for the Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunizations Section. Karen has been a lecturer with the University of Washington School of Public Health since 2001. Karen obtained her Masters in Public Health, Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Harvard University.
Sharon HopkinsSharon Hopkins was Senior Epidemiologist for the AIDS Prevention Project from 1986 to 2003. After 17 years with the APP, she returned to her original professional field of veterinary work and served the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health as Public Health Veterinarian from 2003 to 2014. Sharon is now retired.
Patricia McInturffPatricia McInturff received her MPA in 1977 and was hired by the Seattle King County Department of Public Health in the same year. She began her career as a public health administrator in charge of grants and contracts and risk management. In 1982 she moved into the program side of the organization and became the Section Administrator for TB, Epidemiology, Sexually Transmitted Disease, and AIDS. In 1986 she was promoted to Director of the Regional Division which included the AIDS Services and Prevention Program, Sexually Transmitted Disease Control Program, Tuberculosis Control Program, Epidemiology Program, Public Health Laboratory, Vital Statistics Program, and Jail Health Services. She was a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University Washington Department of Health Services, School of Pubic Health and Community Medicine from 1994 to 2000. Patricia co-chaired the Ryan White Title I Council and was a member of the National Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS for the Centers for Disease Control. She was the Principal Investigator for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Health Resources and Services Administration grants for AIDS Services. In her volunteer life she was a founding member of the Board of AIDS Housing of Washington, which built Bailey Boushay House, and a Trustee of Harborview Medical Center. Her awards related to her work in HIV/IAIDS included the Governor’s AIDS Service Award for Public Service (1992) and Public Employee of the Year Municipal League of King County—Civic Awards Recipient (1994). After leaving the Health Department she was Visiting Scholar at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and finished her career as Director of the City Seattle Human Services Department. In addition to funding and operating program and services to meet the basic need of the most vulnerable in our community, the Department directed the City’s investment in public health and provided public health policy direction to the Mayor and City Council.
Robert WoodDr. Bob Wood, a native of central New York State, is an academic general internist educated at Hamilton College, the University of Rochester School of Medicine (’70), Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and the University of Washington, after which he joined the University of Washington faculty as an assistant professor of medicine. Initial research involved using computers in medicine, and to investigate cost-effective standards of care for common clinical problems as used by mid-level medical practitioners. In 1986 he became an associate professor based on his health services research. He is now a UW Clinical Professor of Medicine. A gay physician leader of a local group of about 100 LGBT physicians in the late 70s and early 80s, Bob became involved in AIDS medical care in 1982, with an early case of extensive lymphadenopathy and then taking on the care for one of the region’s first AIDS cases. In 1983 he joined the first board of the NW AIDS Foundation, and became its second board president. In May 1985 Bob tested HIV seropositive. In 1986 he was appointed Director of the HIV/AIDS Control Program for Public Health – Seattle & King County. Bob was appointed to the Governor’s Council on HIV/AIDS in 1987 and was its chair for 4 years in the early 90s. He remained a member until retirement in 2010. From 1994-1999 Dr. Wood was a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS & STD Prevention, and he twice represented US and Seattle model AIDS prevention efforts to the World Health Organization. Before AIDS work Bob was the Principal Investigator (PI) for a 6-year grant from the US Army, and an NIMH grant studying depression among emergency room patients in Seattle. His AIDS work included being PI for several CDC AIDS Community Demonstration Projects (“Be-A-Star” Study targeting men who have sex with men, and harder to reach targets, 1986-1994), NIDA’s National AIDS Demonstration Research targeting injection drug users (1987–1991), and for the Viral Hepatitis Integration Project (2000-2004). In 2006, he became Deputy Director for the Sociobehavioral Prevention Research Core (SPRC) of the UW’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). He has authored or co-authored nearly 100 papers and chapters on such topics as management of upper respiratory infections, cough, and back pain, on HIV/AIDS clinical care, epidemiology, and prevention, and on end of life options. He has also helped mentor 18 medical and masters in public health students. Since retirement from his Public Health post in early 2010, Dr. Bob remains a very part-time on the faculty of the CFAR’s SPRC, provides HIV/AIDS lectures both at the UW and Seattle University, and has been volunteering as the lead medical advisor for End of Life, Washington (formerly Compassion & Choices of Washington) a non-profit community organization which provides education about end of life planning to the elderly and personal assistance to terminally ill persons who seek the option of using the state’s “death with dignity” law, enabling qualifying persons to obtain physician prescriptions for life-ending medication. Bob is now involved in educating physicians and other providers nationwide about this new option available to the terminally ill.
Tim Burak interviews Robert WoodIn this follow-up interview, Dr. Bob Wood and Tim Burak discuss the work of colleagues Ann Collier, King Holmes, Pam Ryan, Wayne McCormick, Mark Dion, Andy Krusich, Jane Crigler, and Carol Wood, among others. They discuss how Public Health supported local doctors who were treating AIDS patients through training and sharing of best practices, ensuring safety and quality care; the meaning of “the community”; the AIDS Planning Council; the impact of effective AIDS treatments that became available beginning in 1994; and the impact of the AIDS epidemic on LGBT rights in the United States. [Airplane noise in audio.]
Additional oral histories
Carol DunphyCarol Dunphy was the first nurse practitioner for the AIDS Prevention Project, where she served in that capacity for 20 years. Prior to joining the APP, Carol worked as a nurse practitioner in various contexts, including in the King County Jail in downtown Seattle. Oral history interview transcription (PDF)
Anne BremnerAnne Bremner worked the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office from 1983 through 1988, including two years in the Special Assault Unit, which was one of the first such units in the nation. Anne served as prosecutor for the initial case against Steven Farmer (see section in The AIDS Omnibus Act: New Mandates). Oral history interview transcription (PDF)
Michael BrownMichael Brown is Professor of Geography at the University of Washington. His research is on urban politics, sexuality, and public health. His early research was on the local responses to AIDS in Vancouver, Canada.
Lawrence KnoppLawrence Knopp is Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator for the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (University of Washington Tacoma), Adjunct Professor of Geography; Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies (University of Washington Seattle), and Affiliate Professor, Comparative History of Ideas (University of Washington Seattle).
David Reyes is Assistant Professor, Nursing & Healthcare Leadership Program at the University of Washington Tacoma.