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 and at risk for HIV/AIDS in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. In fact, at the time, few people understood or acknowledged that women could be, and were being, infected with HIV.

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.

Patricia Nalls

How the Women's Collective was founded

Eventually, in 1990, to receive and give support to other women in similar situations, Pat set-up a private phone line in her home for women living with HIV to share their struggles and concerns. The phone line, which she advertised through flyers in her doctor’s office, gave her and the women she spoke to strength and hope in knowing that other women in their community were in similar situations, dealing with similar worries.

pat and aletaIn 1992, the phone line, kept secret because of the stigma that existed, transformed into a support group as the number of women affected by the epidemic increased. The group called itself the Coffee House to allow women to freely participate without having to worry about disclosing their HIV status. It provided a safe space for women to come together and laugh, cry, share resources, and gain strength from each other. The group proved to be a powerful vehicle for women. As their numbers grew, so did their knowledge of HIV care and services.

In 1995, a friend involved as a volunteer supporting the Coffee House, suggested that the women incorporate as a non-profit organization. The Women’s Collective was the name stated on the application to the Internal Revenue Service. A Board of Directors was established and new energy and skills were injected into the Coffee House. The goal was to support women and their families and to realize a vision of creating a full-fledged, woman-focused organization. Board members organized events, set up training sessions, and slowly began to identify funding sources, enabling support group members to realize their vision. Women in the Coffee House also began advocacy efforts with local providers, policymakers, and the District of Columbia Department of Health.


new homeOver the course of 20 years, The Women’s Collective has evolved from the single vision of one woman to the collective vision of many women. Because of the efforts of committed women, coupled with support from community allies, volunteers, and funders, the organization has transformed itself from a dining room support group to a full-fledged 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Through grants that focused on institutional strengthening, a strong administrative and programmatic infrastructure was created to support a growing number of HIV care and prevention services. Advocacy projects were initiated that focus on influencing HIV policy in the United States and globally by mobilizing women living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS to give voice to their concerns.


More details on our history can be found in our Sisters Helping Sisters to Thrive: The Women’s Collective Model.


Patricia Nalls, Founder/Executive Director

Patricia Nalls is the Founder and Executive Director of The Women’ s Collective (TWC), a leading community health and human service agency in Washington, DC; TWC provides prevention, care and support services, and advocates for the health and human rights of girls and women. TWC stands alone in D.C. region as the only agency dedicated to meeting the needs of women and girls in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic and protecting their rights.

Pat has been a vocal community activist, locally, nationally, and globally for the rights of women, girls and their families living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS. She was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, after the death of her husband and three-year-old daughter within six months of each other. After years of frustration of not finding appropriate support for women, girls and their families she founded TWC with a simple and powerful mission: to equip women, girls, and their families by providing them with the skills and linkages to meet their self-defined needs, increase their access to care and support, and engage them so that they are best equipped to ‘own’ their health outcomes, improve their quality of life, and protect their rights.

Patricia has been recognized for her heroism, strength, and determination Locally and Nationally in the media and with many prestigious awards, such as, 2010 Washingtonian of the Year, The NAACP Youth Council Award, The Gloria Steinem Award, Heroes in the Struggle 2005 Award, and the Caribbean People’s International Award, among other. Patricia was also featured in Essence Magazine, Peoples Magazine, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and on National and Local television, including an award from WJLA Channel 7 Tribute to Working Women. Under her leadership and guidance, TWC continues to work towards a future of no new transmissions and a cure for HIV/AIDS. Pats Vision is to create a Center of Excellence for Women’s Health.

Patricia Nalls is the mother of two children and has 2 grandchildren.

Jacquelyne Conley, Non-Profit Management Consultant

is an experienced international development program manager, and consultant with 30 years of experience coordinating, designing, managing, monitoring, and implementing U.S. Government-funded programs. She is a seasoned HIV/AIDS program manager, grants management, and operations professional for a range of HIV/AIDS and education programs in the US, Africa, and the Caribbean. She has successfully delivered program, grant-funding, and financial management for projects, achieving high impact and cost efficiencies. Ms. Conley is a compassionate cross-cultural manager of multicultural programs and technical teams for diverse, and most at-risk, population groups. She has worked specifically with women living with HIV, their children and families in Nigeria, and South Africa, where she co-managed major U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded HIV/AIDS care, treatment, and prevention projects. She has consulted on HIV programs, and activities, for the American College of Nurse Midwives, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Botswana, the Ford Foundation, the International AIDS Society, and the World Bank’s Global HIV/AIDS Program.

She is a graduate of Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana.

Margaretia Jackson, MD, Retired Medical Doctor

Dr. Margaretia L. 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 greater Washington DC and Maryland.  She has more than 41+ years expertise providing patient centric and population – based care in Medicaid Managed Care for all ages, particularly children with special needs (CSHCN), adolescents and young adults. She is goal-focused on innovative initiatives to continuously improve operations to achieve objectives, including corporate restructuring, quality management, staff development, policy development, and direct care coordination.

Dr Jackson is also currently providing Telehealth services as well as Utilization Management aimed at greater access to cost effective, timely and quality medical care. She has been a member of the TWC Board of Directors since _________with the goal of optimizing clinical and general resources for women with HIV/AIDS.

Toni Miles Maloney, Retired Radio Personality

provides public affairs and media relations support for the Washington DC community in various areas involving women, health and wellness, youth services, cultural diversity, and law enforcement. As the former Director of Community and Public Affairs for CBS radio, Washington DC, and President of Just Ask Justine Media Relations, she connects underserved, and other communities with urban radio to highlight health and education concerns. Dr. Miles-Maloney collaborates with numerous organizations, locally and nationally, to bring awareness about issues of women of color, and youth, including the DC Department of Health, Planned Parenthood, HIV/AIDS Administration, HHS Office of Women Health, and the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia Metropolitan Police Departments.

A native Washingtonian, her vast community service has included facilitating HIV support groups and she served as HIV/AIDS Education Program Coordinator for a DC public school’s program. Her numerous awards, and recognition include the first Citizen of the Year award from the DC Metropolitan Police. She also serves on the Boards of Damien Ministries, and Us Helping Us. She obtained her B.S. in Health Education from the University of the District of Columbia and her doctorate from CICA, Houston, Texas.

Sohail Rana, MD, Professor of Pediatrics

joined Howard University’s College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics in 1980, and is presently Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health, and Director of the Pediatric Hem/HIV Unit. For nearly 40 years, he has served families of children with sickle cell disease, HIV, and other chronic illnesses. He began caring for children living with HIV from the onset of the epidemic. Under his leadership, Howard University became a site for clinical trials to prevent HIV transmission, and the treatment of children and adolescents with HIV. For over three decades, Dr. Rana has participated in more than 65 HIV, sickle cell, and other chronic illnesses clinical trials. Through his collaborative work with others, today we can totally prevent children born to HIV infected mothers from acquiring HIV, and we have effective treatment for HIV in children. To date, he continues to see many of the children he has treated, many of them calling him dad, have named children after him.

Dr. Rana attended King Edward Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan, and completed his residency in pediatric medicine at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, and a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

Rukia Malepule, Senior Program Manager

Youth Service Provider, Rukia Malipula-Mfinanga joined the TWC Board of Directors two years ago, bringing with her about twenty years of experience in youth development, social services, Teen Pregnancy Prevention, and HIV prevention for black youth in Washington, DC. Mrs.  Rukia Malipula-Mfinanga works as a Senior Program Manager for Big Brothers Big Siters of National Capital Area where she has been managing Teen Pregnancy Prevention programs, HIV prevention programs, and mentoring programs for black youth of Washington, DC. In addition, Rukia has been a volunteer of the Women Collective for almost 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





Gail Smoot

Program Manager/Medical Case Manager



Sabrina Heard

Early Interventionist Specialist



Laquita Felder

Non-Medical Case Manager






June Pollydore

Program Manager



James Duvall

Test & Link to Care Specialist



Paulette Johnson

Test & Link to Care Specialist





Billie Tyler

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.

Supporting women since 1995