About Us

Our History

In 1987, after losing her husband and 3-year-old daughter to AIDS within six months of each other, Patricia Nalls, Founder and Executive Director of The Women’s Collective, learned that she was HIV positive. At the time of her diagnosis, there were few, if any, services designed specifically for women living with HIV/AIDS in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Patricia found herself repeatedly trying to receive support and services in an environment that catered mainly to gay men. As a single mother, her family’s needs were different and distinct from those of men. Like many women, she frequently found herself in situations where she faced enormous challenges as a single head of household trying to make ends meet. Patricia worried about how to disclose her HIV status to her children, how to deal with the grief her children were experiencing, and who would take care of her children if she got sick or died. It was a time fraught with anxiety, but what began as intense feelings of despair ultimately turned into determination to live to see her children grow and thrive.


In 1990, Patricia decided to take action to provide support to other women in her situation. She set-up a private phone line in her home for women living with HIV to share their struggles and concerns. This phone line, which she advertised through flyers in her doctor’s office, gave her and other women strength and hope. Patricia kept the phone line secret because of the HIV stigma that existed back then and continues today. As the number of women increased, she transformed the group into a confidential support group for women. The women named this haven the Coffee House, a place to come together to laugh, cry, share resources, and gain strength from each other.

Pat found herself repeatedly trying to receive support and services in an environment that catered mainly to gay men. As a single mother, her family’s needs were different and distinct from those of men. Like many women, she frequently found herself in situations where she faced challenges, not only as a woman, but also as a single head of household. While the men in the support group were having conversations about their single lifestyles, Pat worried about how to disclose her status to her children, how to deal with the grief her children were experiencing, and who would take care of her children if she got sick or died. It was a time fraught with anxiety by the secret of her diagnosis, which began as despair yet ultimately turned into the determination to live to see her children grow to adults.

Five years later, a volunteer supporting the Coffee House, suggested that the women incorporate into a nonprofit organization. The Women’s Collective was born. A Board of Directors was established bringing together new energy and skills. Our mission remains to equip women, girls, and their families with skills and connections to meet their self-defined needs. This includes increasing access to healthcare and other support systems, ensuring all basic needs are met (housing, clothing, food), improving quality of life, and protecting rights. Partnerships were forged with local healthcare providers, social support services, and the District of Columbia Department of Health.


Over the next 30 years, The Women’s Collective evolved from the single vision of one woman running a phone line to a successful nonprofit focused on HIV care. Our five main goals continue to be: 1) prevent new infections, 2) identify HIV-positive individuals sooner, 3) bring newly identified HIV-positive individuals into high quality care as quickly as possible, 4) support retention in care, and 5) reduce disparities among women and girls who are disproportionately affected by HIV via advocacy. In 2009, The Women’s Collective Toolkit: Women Taking Power Over HIV/AIDS, was created with funding from the Ford Foundation. The kit highlights a successful model centered around a blueprint for agencies to adopt strategies from the toolkit, including HIV Care Management, Prevention, Policy, Advocacy, and Administration. For a PDF of the full kit, please click here.


Patricia Nalls, Founder and Executive Director


Patricia is the Founder and Executive Director of The Women’ s Collective, a unique community organization providing prevention, care, advocacy, and support services to girls and women living with HIV/AIDS in the DC metropolitan area. Diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, after the death of her husband and three-year-old daughter within six months of each other, Patricia has been recognized for her heroism, strength, and determination. She has been a vocal community activist on local, national, and global levels. Patricia is the recipient of prestigious awards, such as, 2010 Washingtonian of the Year, The NAACP Youth Council Award, The Gloria Steinem Award, Heroes in the Struggle 2005 Award, the Caribbean People’s International Award, and WJLA Channel 7 Tribute to Working Women among others. Patricia has been featured in Essence Magazine, People Magazine, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and she has appeared on national and local television. Under her leadership and guidance, her team is working towards a future of no new transmissions and a cure for HIV/AIDS. She is the mother of three children, and she has two grandchildren.

Jacquelyne Conley, Nonprofit Management Consultant


Jacquelyne is an experienced international development program manager and consultant with 30 years of experience coordinating, designing, managing, monitoring, and implementing US government-funded programs. She is a seasoned HIV/AIDS program manager, grants manager, and operations professional for a range of HIV/AIDS and educational programs in the US, Africa, and Caribbean. She is a compassionate manager of multicultural programs focused on high-risk populations. She has worked specifically with women living with HIV, their children and families in Nigeria and South Africa, where she co-managed HIV/AIDS care, treatment, and prevention projects under the US Agency for International Development (USAID). She has consulted on HIV programs and activities for the American College of Nurse Midwives, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ford Foundation, International AIDS Society, and the World Bank’s Global HIV/AIDS Program. She is a graduate of Grambling State University in Louisiana.

Margaretia Jackson, MD, Pediatrician


Dr. Jackson is board certified in pediatrics and has more than 20 years of experience in medical leadership as a Chief Medical Officer, Medical Director, and Vice President of Health Services in Washington, DC and Maryland.  She has more than 4 decades of expertise providing patient-centered and population-based care in Medicaid Managed Care for all ages, particularly children with special needs (CSHCN), adolescents, and young adults. Her initiatives include corporate restructuring, quality management, staff development, policy development, and direct care coordination. She is currently providing telehealth services aimed at greater access to cost effective and timely quality medical care.

Toni Miles Maloney, PR and Media Specialist


Dr. Maloney is an expert in public affairs and media relations centered on women, health and wellness, youth services, cultural diversity, and law enforcement. As the former Director of Community and Public Affairs for CBS radio in Washington, DC, and President of Just Ask Justine Media Relations, she connects underserved communities with urban radio to highlight health and education concerns. Working with the DC Department of Health, Planned Parenthood, HIV/AIDS Administration, Health and Human Services Office of Women Health, and local police departments. She facilitates HIV support groups to bring awareness on issues affecting women of color. She is an HIV/AIDS Education Program Coordinator for a DC public schools. She was awarded the first Citizen of the Year Award from the DC Metropolitan Police. She serves on the Boards of Damien Ministries and Us Helping Us. She attended the University of the District of Columbia and received her doctorate from CICA International University and Seminary in Texas.

Sohail Rana, MD, Professor of Pediatrics


Dr. Rana joined Howard University’s College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics in 1980. He is a Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health and Director of the Pediatric Hematology/HIV Unit. For more than 40 years, he has cared for children with sickle cell disease, HIV, and other chronic illnesses. Under his leadership, Howard University became a premier site for clinical trials to prevent HIV transmission and to treat children and adolescents with HIV. Through his collaborative work, preventing HIV transmission from HIV-positive mothers to their children, and treating children with HIV, are both realities. Children under his care affectionally call him “dad,” and mothers have named their children after him. Dr. Rana attended King Edward Medical College in Pakistan and completed his residency in pediatric medicine at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, and did a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of Rochester in New York.

Rukia Malepule, Senior Program Manager


Rukia, a youth service provider and senior program manager, brings twenty years of experience in youth development, social services, teen pregnancy prevention, and HIV prevention for black youth in Washington, DC. She works as a senior program manager for Big Brothers Big Siters of the National Capital Area, where she has been managing teen pregnancy prevention programs, HIV prevention programs, and mentoring programs for black youth. She has been a volunteer of The Women’s Collective for more than twenty years.

Help us make this world better


We are woman-visioned, woman and girl-focused, woman-managed and woman-led. This means that we are an organization that has been conceived and brought to life by women, and that our energy and resources are focused on improving and empowering the lives of girls and women. It also means we manage our day-to-day operations, and our programs and services are implemented by women for women whose lives have been dramatically changed by HIV/AIDS.


Our philosophy is that every woman who walks through our door is equal, whether she is a client, staff member, Board member or volunteer. Women are not judged on the basis of their educational achievements or credentials, or their socio-economic background. We are comprised of women from all walks of life who have come through our door to be served as clients, or to serve in the role of staff or volunteer. Whether women have “book knowledge,” “street knowledge,” or both, their contribution to our work is genuinely valued. As a collective, we are motivated by a common interest, and we work together to achieve a common goal of serving the needs of women of color living with HIV/AIDS and their families.


Staffing is diverse in terms of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, social economic status, educational level and professional experience. It includes women with a wide range of life experiences, skills and professional expertise, and includes those living with HIV/AIDS. Staff members possess a mix of technical, administrative, outreach and advocacy skills, as well as first hand knowledge of reaching out to women and girls. It is not unusual to find that women who started out as clients become a part of the staff. This is an example of the self-empowerment theme that we live out each day as part and parcel of our organization’s ethos.




Patricia Nalls

Founder/Executive Director



Tabitha Bennett

Operations/HR Manager



Amandeep Dhindsa

Finance Manager



Ayo Heinegg

Assistant Program Manager





Gwen Parker

Medical Case Manager



Sabrina Heard

Early Interventionist Specialist



Shaquita Miles

Non-Medical Case Manager






June Pollydore

Program Manager




The Women’s Collective (TWC) is a leading community health and human service agency in Washington, DC that provides prevention, care, and support services and advocates for the health and human rights of girls and women. The Women’s Collective meets the needs of low income women, girls and families living with/or at risk for HIV/AIDS and other STDs by addressing the social determinants of health and health disparities they face, reducing barriers to care and services, strengthening networks of support in order to improve health outcomes and quality of life over their lifespan. TWC stands alone in D.C. and the region as the only agency dedicated to meeting the needs of women and girls in fighting the epidemic and protecting their rights. We provide a range of age, gender, and culturally appropriate services and programs across the prevention to care continuum that rely on a model of engaging women and girls ‘where they are’ in their lives and need.