9 results for author: Leah Serinsky


Hilda Meza uses art to heal

Hilda Meza joined Harlem United in 2006, when our El Faro Health Center opened, and has been our east side art therapist ever since. Hilda is an avid a painter herself—she makes time to paint everyday—and knows the important role art plays in helping us connect to our emotional experiences. “For the clients, art becomes the language. The best part is seeing the range of talent, and seeing that creating is a beautiful process.” Indeed, art therapists are trained to follow the patterns in their clients’ creations. For example, water often signifies depression or alcoholism. Hilda runs a self-directed, open studio where clients chose what ...

After building a better life for herself in Harlem, this Côte d’Ivoire native is helping others build their own

Shortly thereafter, she opened a restaurant on 128th St. specializing in West African cuisine. She started at Harlem United 15 years ago as a volunteer, at the urging of a friend, who told her Harlem United needed women who spoke French. She worked with the African women program, BONDALA, and the Immigrant Women Program, reaching out to sexually-active African American women, many of whom did not speak English. “I immediately loved taking care of people. I started working five hours per week, then it turned into 10. Finally, it made sense to give up the restaurant. Money is one thing, but knowledge is another.” Today, Aicha—quite rightf...

7 Facts You Need to Know on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

In honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7, 2015, we put together a list of seven surprising (and humbling) statistics and facts about the impact of HIV and AIDS on Black Americans, especially in Harlem. 1. The rate of HIV infection in Harlem is 4-5 times higher than the national average Central Harlem and East Harlem have the second and third highest infection rates in New York City. The age-adjusted death rate for people living with HIV is nearly 50% higher in Harlem than for the Manhattan borough as a whole. 2. Harlem has one of the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) in New York ...

Harlem United Names Jacqui Kilmer as New CEO

Harlem United announced today that its Board of Directors has named experienced attorney and non-profit executive Jacquelyn (Jacqui) Kilmer as the organization’s next Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2015.

NYC Makes Birth Certificate Gender Correction Easier

There's good news for New Yorkers this week! On December 8, the New York City Council voted to end the discriminatory policy requiring transgender people to undergo surgery before being issued a birth certificate with their corrected sex. The new legislation comes after Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a lawsuit against the city on behalf of three transgender people who were refused an accurate birth certificate four years ago. Now, the process will be significantly easier.  The city will require only a statement from a licensed health care provider indicating that an individual’s true sex is not accurately recorded on their ...

On World AIDS Day, a look back at 2014

What an incredible year it's been in the fight against AIDS! On World AIDS Day, we're looking back at the successes of 2014 and celebrating. What was your favorite moment this year?

Running for a Reason: Alison Desir

Want to run the NYC United Airlines Half Marathon? Learn more about how you can get guaranteed entry to the race and a customized training plan at harlemunited.org/running Alison Desir is probably superwoman—in running gear. She arrived to our meeting early, dressed to run, (of course), and was totally calm, despite being somewhere in the middle of her four-career day. “Everyone thinks I’m always about to go running,” she laughed.  “This time of year, I usually am.” Alison is one of thousands of runners who run the New York City Marathon for charity. Each runner picks a charity and commits to raising $3,000 by race day. Lucky for ...

Douglas M. Brooks, White House Director of Office of National AIDS Policy visits

Yesterday, Harlem United was honored to host Douglas Brooks, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. We are one of just a few agencies that Mr. Brooks is visiting during his regional listening tour and he's looking to us to learn from our success and challenges to inform his work nationwide. While he was here, Mr. Brooks and his team met not only with senior staff who shared the details of our work--including housing as healthcare, our work to improve the HIV/AIDS treatment cascade, and our Ryan White funded program—he also spoke directly with clients to hear their stories, and to share his own as a person living ...

Governor Cuomo’s Plan to End AIDS

On behalf of the thousands served by Harlem United, we applaud Governor Cuomo’s bold endorsement of the Plan to End AIDS in New York State, announced yesterday, just hours before the 45th annual Gay Pride Parade. The Plan, called ‘Bending the Curve,’ aims to identify, track, and treat people with HIV, with the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic in New York State by 2020. This announcement makes New York State the first jurisdiction in the world to commit publicly to the effort to end AIDS. “While we are heartened by the progress we have made in confronting AIDS in New York State, we know that we still face an epidemic of unacceptable ...