An EPIC Taking: Joy Winheim now manages the largest HIV/AIDS service provider in the Tampa Bay area as EPIC’s executive director

By : Jeremy Williams
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Sometimes being remarkable can be bittersweet. Francis House announced this year that they would be merging with AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) under the umbrella of Empath Health. This new organization, Empath Partners in Care (EPIC), would be headed by Francis House’s previous executive director Joy Winheim.

“When we were first approached [by ASAP], we thought there is no way we’re doing this, we don’t need to do it,” Winheim says. “We had plenty of grant money. We’re doing well you know, we have 800 clients. We’re not having any issues so why would we think about this.”

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The 13th annual Tampa Bay AIDS Walk is a huge success for newly formed EPIC

By : Jeremy Williams
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Friends, families and co-workers (even Santa!) turned out as more than a thousand people walked in the annual Tampa Bay AIDS Walk at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg Dec. 10.

The crowd was greeted with complimentary coffee for the chilly St. Pete morning before helping walk the newly formed Empath Partners in Care, or EPIC (the merging of AIDS Service Association of Pinellas and Francis House in Tampa) to more than $100,000.

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ASAP and Francis House become EPIC, name new executive director

By : Jeremy Williams
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TAMPA – Empath Health announced Dec. 7 that the HIV service’s providers AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Francis House in Tampa will merge under the new name Empath Partners in Care, or EPIC.

EPIC will become the largest provider of HIV services in the Tampa Bay area, including case management, counseling and pharmacy services, among other programs from its five locations in the region.

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Tampa Bay AIDS Walk & 5K Run is coming to town

By : Chelsea Santiago
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ST. PETERSBURG – It’s that time of the year again – waking up early in the morning for fun with family, close friends and a close community; and cheering for that jolly man in the red suit. A track suit, of course.

The Tampa Bay AIDS Walk & 5k Run is coming to town again Dec. 10.

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ASAP, Francis House merger makes Empath Health largest HIV/AIDS services provider in Tampa Bay

By : Jeremy Williams
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ST PETERSBURG – Empath Health announced that AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Hillsborough County’s Francis House will merge in order to expand the HIV/AIDS services available to the Tampa Bay region.

The two non-profits signed an initial memorandum of understanding and will operate under a newly-named member of Empath Health.

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Tampa Bay HIV/AIDS service organizations ASAP, Francis House to merge

By : Jeremy Williams
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Empath Health announced that AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Hillsborough County’s Francis House will merge in order to expand the HIV/AIDS services available to the Tampa Bay region.

The two non-profits signed an initial Memorandum of Understanding and will operate under a newly-named member of Empath Health.

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Tampa Bay Overheard: Masquerade Ball, Metro grant and the Best of the Bay

By : Anonymous
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The heroes Tampa Bay deserves

After one of the most talked about parties last year, Balance Tampa Bay kicked it way up Saturday night, Aug. 6, for the second annual Masquerade Ball, presented by the AIDS Heathcare Foundation. This year’s Masquerade Ball had the theme “Rio,” and stepping into District 3 in downtown Tampa was like taking a step into Brazil’s Carnivàle. This year’s event benefited Francis House, a Tampa HIV supportive service charity serving about 450 clients each month, and early estimates have the event raising $30,000 for them. The “Masquerade Ball: Rio” was attended by more than 400 people and featured stilt walkers, scantily clad beauties and more feathers than the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony. Once the party cooled at District 3, Balance Tampa Bay took the dancing to Southern Nights in Ybor City for an after-party that went on into the wee hours of the night. But helping the community doesn’t allow for sleeping in, not even on the weekends. A dozen or so of those dedicated Balancers got up at 7 a.m. Sunday morning and took to Hyde Park United Methodist Church to help feed the homeless. Charitable actions all weekend long; the power of Christ compels you!

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Issue 21.24: Mission: Undetectable

By : Jake Stevens
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Mission: Undetectable – Achieving an ‘undetectable’ viral load is as close to cured an HIV-positive person can get—at least for now. Also: World AIDS Day event listings, Francis House expands its services, HIV statistics, Wanzie, Gypsy Productions tackle holiday-themed shows, HRC give St. Pete, Orlando 100% ratings, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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Francis House adds space, expands services in Tampa

By : Daniel Lancaster
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Robert Shelley counts his blessings. As a 44-year-old active member of the LGBT community, the Tampa resident spends a lot of time in the garb of a Tampa Bay Sister of Perpetual Indulgence as Tootie Truly Humble. Out of habit however, he is no less an advocate for human rights and the rights of the HIV-positive community and speaks freely of his 20-year, passionate fight against the virus and the stigma that comes along with it.

But Shelley did not have any such support system in place when he arrived in Tampa five years ago, and it is easy to see why he is so thankful.

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Overheard in Tampa Bay: Mark your calendars for Tampa Pride!

By : Anonymous
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Tampa Pride set for March in Ybor
A version of Tampa Pride is returning to Hillsborough County in 2015! According to Carrie West of MC Film in Ybor City, Tampa Pride will happen on March 28, 2015, along 7th Avenue in Ybor City. The street festival will incorporate a parade along the historic roadway during the afternoon, which gives local bartenders and entertainers time to rest up from the previous night’s activities. Details aren’t finalized just yet, but West was excited to share the news with Watermark during the July 19 NeighBearHood Takeover party at The Social in Ybor City. Expect a lot of details to start hitting the media and soon, ways to register floats and vendor booths will be available online. We’ll keep you posted!

Speedos and bras
While we are still definitely in the dog days of summer (where’s the A/C?), it’s never too early to think about the holidays or, more specifically, fundraising programs over the cooler months. Jay Aller, outreach coordinator for the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas, announced July 27 that this year’s Santa Speedo Run is set to return to Ybor City Dec. 14, and will incorporate Mrs. Claus in Bras. The newly expanded title of the one-mile run, Santa Speedo Run and Mrs. Claus in Bras, will hopefully increase female participation in the fundraiser. Last year, more than 150 people turned out for the run, which begins and ends in Centennial Park in Ybor City. Aller also announced the identity of of this year’s chairperson of the event—Watermark editor Steve Blanchard.

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