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Dr. Gloria Jackson Bacon

Dr. Gloria Jackson Bacon has made a career out of caring for the health and welfare of those less fortunate. Bacon was born on September 21, 1937, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father, Henry Johnson, was a postal clerk and her mother, Vina V. Johnson, was a schoolteacher.

Bacon earned a B.S. from Xavier University in New Orleans in 1958. She moved to Chicago to attend medical school, attending the University of Illinois School of Medicine, graduating in 1962. Bacon did not intend to stay in Chicago for an extended period of time. However, the inner-city patients she saw reminded her of the people she knew growing up in Louisiana.

In 1968, Bacon was fired from a publicly supported medical facility at the Altgeld Gardens' Murray Homes on Chicago's South Side for making her views on the need to improve the meager care provided there known. In response, Bacon opened the Clinic in Altgeld, Inc., a not-for-profit agency offering total health care and serving as the primary medical resource for the Altgeld Gardens area. The facility handles 15,000 patients a year. The center was funded out of her personal savings and Medicaid reimbursement until 1991, when it began to receive federal funding. The clinic has greatly improved the health of Altgeld Gardens community residents. When Bacon first opened the clinic, the infant mortality rate was 50.2 per thousand, in 1990 this number was reduced to 9.2 per thousand. In 2001, Bacon retired as medical director of the clinic.

In 1992, Bacon returned to singing. Singing had played an important role in Bacon's early development. She performed in many recitals and concerts throughout her youth and college years, but the demands of practicing medicine took precedence. She has been a featured soloist at Chicago Orchestra Hall, ETA Theater and numerous churches.

Bacon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 10, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.129

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/10/2002

Last Name

Bacon

Maker Category
Middle Name

Jackson

Schools

Xavier University of Louisiana

University of Illinois College of Medicine

McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Gloria

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

BAC01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/21/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Orleans

Country

USA

Short Description

Medical director and physician Dr. Gloria Jackson Bacon (1937 - ) dedicated her life to providing health services to the underprivileged housing project Altgeld Gardens. Dr. Bacon founded the Clinic in Altgeld, which reduced the infant mortality rate in Altgeld Gardens from 50.2 per thousand to 9.2 per thousand.

Employment

Clinic in Altgeld Gardens

Chicago Department of Health

Cook County Hospital

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2714">Tape: 1 Slating of Gloria Bacon interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2715">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon's favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2716">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon describes her mother's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2717">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon discusses her father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2718">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon explains how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2719">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon describes her two siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2720">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon recalls her earliest memory, learning her ABCs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2721">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon describes her greatest familial influence</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2722">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon remembers the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2723">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon describes her response to being the oldest child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2724">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon describes activities in her childhood neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2725">Tape: 1 Gloria Bacon describes her childhood personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2726">Tape: 2 Gloria Bacon confronts pressure to become a doctor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2727">Tape: 2 Gloria Bacon recalls memorable moments in elementary school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2728">Tape: 2 Gloria Bacon remembers an influential teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2729">Tape: 2 Gloria Bacon discusses her limited early exposure to white people in New Orleans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2730">Tape: 2 Gloria Bacon describes herself as a well-rounded high school student</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2731">Tape: 2 Gloria Bacon chooses to attend Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2732">Tape: 2 Gloria Bacon experiences school life in an all-black environment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2733">Tape: 2 Gloria Bacon describes her experience at Xavier University of New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2734">Tape: 2 Gloria Bacon describes incidents of colorism from her college years</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2735">Tape: 3 Gloria Bacon discusses her coursework at Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2736">Tape: 3 Gloria Bacon discovers her interest in singing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2737">Tape: 3 Gloria Bacon chooses to attend Howard University's Medical School, Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2738">Tape: 3 Gloria Bacon explains her interest in sewing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2739">Tape: 3 Gloria Bacon finds ways to succeed in medical school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2740">Tape: 3 Gloria Bacon considers diversity at Howard University's medical school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2741">Tape: 3 Gloria Bacon describes her interests in the medical profession</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2742">Tape: 3 Gloria Bacon discusses the issues that women in medicine face</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2743">Tape: 3 Gloria Bacon discusses her move to the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2744">Tape: 4 Gloria Bacon experiences a chilling Illinois winter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2745">Tape: 4 Gloria Bacon becomes pregnant during her second year of medical school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2746">Tape: 4 Gloria Bacon describes her first job after medical school at a Medicaid clinic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2747">Tape: 4 Gloria Bacon finds similarities between Altgeld Gardens, Chicago and New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2748">Tape: 4 Gloria Bacon describes her inspiration for opening a new clinic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2749">Tape: 4 Gloria Bacon reflects on the opening of her new medical clinic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2750">Tape: 4 Gloria Bacon discusses the historical and political context of the opening of her clinic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2751">Tape: 5 Gloria Bacon describes patient volume at her Chicago medical clinic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2752">Tape: 5 Gloria Bacon discusses the early stages of her medical clinic's development</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2753">Tape: 5 Gloria Bacon considers the socioeconomic situations of her patients</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2754">Tape: 5 Gloria Bacon considers black self-determination with respect to the healthcare industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2755">Tape: 5 Gloria Bacon discusses the beginning of her involvement with Chicago's Provident Hospital</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2756">Tape: 5 Gloria Bacon remembers the closing of Chicago's Provident Hospital</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2757">Tape: 5 Gloria Bacon discusses lessons learned from managing a medical clinic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2758">Tape: 5 Gloria Bacon describes her experience on the University of Illinois's Board of Trustees</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2759">Tape: 6 Gloria Bacon speaks to her love for the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2760">Tape: 6 Gloria Bacon describes her concerns and hope for the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2761">Tape: 6 Gloria Bacon discusses elitism in the medical field</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2762">Tape: 6 Gloria Bacon gives advice for those considering the medical profession</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2763">Tape: 6 Gloria Bacon discusses her love of writing and performing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2764">Tape: 6 Gloria Bacon discusses her legacy, showing care for the black comunity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2765">Tape: 6 Photo - Gloria Bacon, valedictorian of her grammar school class</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2766">Tape: 6 Photo - Gloria Bacon poses as part of Xavier University's homecoming court, 1956</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2767">Tape: 6 Photo - Gloria Bacon is sworn in as a member of The University of Illinois Board of Trustees</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2768">Tape: 6 Photo - Gloria Bacon, elementary school spring festival queen</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2769">Tape: 6 Photo - Gloria Bacon with other members of her high school homecoming court</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/2770">Tape: 6 Photo - Gloria Bacon is inducted into the American Academy of Family Physicians</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Gloria Bacon confronts pressure to become a doctor
Gloria Bacon discusses the historical and political context of the opening of her clinic
Transcript
Well, the truth is, my mother [Vina Velma Johnson] made--I, had a challenge. I went to the, doctor's office. I was maybe in my teens and the doctor said, "Oh, I understand you're going to be a doctor." And I said, "That's what my ma- that's what my mother (with emphasis) wants," like the teenager, like the sullen kind of teenager is going to say. So I got home and my mother said, "No, now, that's the last time I want to hear that from you. You don't want to be a doctor. You don't have to be a doctor. You just do whatever you want to do, but I just was trying to give you some--." Basically, "I'm trying to give you a good start on life." You know what I'm saying, "But you don't have to be a doctor for me. I don't need you to do anything for me." (Unclear) so she fronted me off in such a way that it was, "Okay." (Laughs). I'd been getting all my passes based on the fact that I wanted to be a doctor. (Laughs) Now, you know, here I am in high school, you know, getting ready, people know me all around, all the things that I do. "Am I going to back out?" But I'll say it's like at that point, it was at--it was probably at that point that I took it on because, like I say, she threw it back at me, because I had really in a very sullen way, I mean I was a, good--I could--I had a good, some good years of being a really sullen, ugly teenager. Where you just give the really ugly answers. And so she just threw it at me. I mean just up in my face. And from that point on, then I think that having come to grips with the, with the whole piece of choice, then I made the choice.$Now, can you put this in context the, you know, the--you've done a little bit of it, but the Altgeld, you know, The Clinic at Altgeld [Bacon's medical clinic in Chicago, Illinois], can you put in context historical context in terms of what was happening in the medical industry at that time, you know, I mean what changes were happening, how poor people were actually being treated, you know, (unclear).$$Well, you have a lot of things going on, well, in terms of, now remember Altgeld [Gardens, public housing projects, Chicago, Illinois] was isolated altogether. Altgeld was not part even in 1969, '70 [1970], Altgeld wasn't even part of the regular CTA [Chicago Transit Authority] transportation line. So you had the south, we had the South Suburban line which was a, line that ran straight up [Martin Luther] King Drive, separate, which brought people. But that was like once every hour or once whenever it came. And, so you didn't and then you had to pay a separate fee to get on CTA to go from Alt- you know, to go from Altgeld any place else. So, a lot of the people in Altgeld used Michael Reese [Hospital, Chicago, Illinois] and some, to some extent Mercy [Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois] as a, place because you could come directly on the line, get off on King Drive [Chicago, Illinois] and be by Mercy or be by, Reese. So that going out and going some place else was very difficult. I mean it was two or three bus lines, trips. It was two or three bus fares. It was a lot of time. So that's, one, that's part of what the impetus was in the, in writing of the, of the proposal because it was so difficult. It was not any place easy. Plus, the people in Altgeld basically had been from the projects as we all--it was sometimes in quotes and basically were not reasonably well accepted outside. Many of them did not venture outside. Many of them lived almost like insular lives inside of Altgeld. There's a school. There's a grocery store. There's a church. There's whatever else you basically, the kind of things you need inside. So many of the people lived inside and so going downtown to Marshall Fields [department store] was like going to New York [New York] on a (unclear). It was like, it was like really going away. So that part of it we're looking for was trying to figure out how to bring better quality care inside a development since a large percentage of the people were going to use the services inside and not outside. So that's part of, what's going on. The other piece that I alluded to in the beginning was just, Medicaid [federal medical insurance program] was beginning to evolve. So if you're talking about a population of people in public housing by and large a large percentage of them would be, would be eligible for Medicaid. We're now talking about increasing the access that's available for them to be able to use medical and health care services. So that's, really, what I had in mind. I, like I say, when I'm, I'm trying probably got caught up in the whole, you know, in much more a social, in much more a social, sociological model, rather than me being caught up in medicine. Medicine was like the, sticker. It was like the lost leader piece almost in terms of how you got people in that came for, services. But it really was looking at the total, the total life that was the, and, and some of the things that were missing and, and beginning to try and think about how to do that. And that, that's how, that's really what, the, what the clinic was. It was, it was always more than just a medical facility.$$Were, politics, Chicago politic, did they enter in at all in this? Or was that a factor? Are you--?$$You know, I kind of it's like I, I'm not, I don't read the newspaper daily during the last twenty--most of my life because I, initially, I was getting children ready in the morning and I didn't have time. And then after that, I never got to it. So in, there are a lots of things that I do sometimes which are good and sometimes are bad, where I live my life like separate from whatever the rest of the world's doing, what the rest of the city's doing on that day. And most of the time we didn't really have a lot of fights, and we didn't--I, didn't get into it too much in the way of many problems from time to time. I had good relationships with most of the commissioners of health, you know, basically, either who knew me or who knew what we were doing. And so we could make that kind of contact. I knew [Mayor] Jane Byrne just in terms of mayors by name, and I knew [Mayor] Harold [Washington]. I know the mayor, and, and I think he knows basically the as in--I didn't know, I just met briefly senior, [Mayor Richard J.] Daley. I know Mayor [RIchard M.] Daley at this point, but, not a lot of, interaction. You know, but we pretty much have been my job was to take care of my own business to try to make sure I'm not we didn't get in, we didn't we have not had much in the way of, a fight.

Dr. Beny J. Primm

Dr. Beny Primm was born on May 28th, 1928, in Williamson, West Virginia, the son of an educator and a mortician. He and his brother Jerome were raised in a home in which education was emphasized, and in 1941, Primm's mother, who was the principal of a local elementary school, moved the family to the Bronx, New York so that her sons could attend integrated high schools.

From an early age, Beny Primm wanted to be a doctor, and after four years at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, he received a basketball scholarship to attend Lincoln University. There, Primm was surrounded by bright and driven students, and six of the members of his basketball team would go on to become doctors or Ph.D.'s. He left Lincoln after two years, unable to cope with the school's rigorous academic pressure, and returned to West Virginia where he graduated from West Virginia State University. After several years in the service as a paratrooper, Dr. Primm returned home with an injury, and was unable to get into medical school in the United States. Having studied German in college, he decided to apply to the University of Heidelberg, and was accepted in 1953. After a year at Heidelberg, Primm transferred to University of Geneva, in Switzerland, and received his M.D. in 1959.

In 1969, he helped to found the Addiction Research Treatment Corporation and has been the executive director ever since. A.R.T.C., located in Brooklyn, New York, is one of the largest minority non-profit community-based substance abuse treatment programs in the country, treating over 2,300 men and women from underserved communities.

Since 1983, Dr. Primm has also been president of the Urban Resource Institute, an umbrella organization that supports various community-based initiatives and social service programs for battered women, the developmentally disabled, substance abusers, and those infected with HIV and AIDS. A national authority on drug addiction, Dr. Primm has served as an adviser to the National Drug Abuse Policy Office since the Nixon administration.

Dr. Primm is also internationally recognized as one of the world's foremost experts on HIV and AIDS, an area of study he pursued initially due to the disease's intimate relationship with addiction and the epidemic levels of infection among I.V. drug users. He has served on the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic, and has represented the U.S. at numerous international conferences, including the World Health Organization's conference in Geneva and the International Conference for Ministers of Health on AIDS prevention in London.

Widely published, he has written over thirty articles on addiction, which have appeared in numerous medical texts and journals. He has also delivered speeches, lectures and keynote addresses around the world, and has been a visiting lecturer at a dozen different academic institutions, including Columbia University, Harvard University and New York University.

Primm passed away on October 16, 2015.

Accession Number

A2001.060

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/7/2001

Last Name

Primm

Maker Category
Middle Name

J.

Organizations
Schools

Liberty Elementary School

DeWitt Clinton High School

Lincoln University

West Virginia State University

Heidelberg University

University of Geneva

First Name

Beny

Birth City, State, Country

Williamson

HM ID

PRI01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

West Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

When there is a will, there is a way.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/28/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Breakfast Foods

Death Date

10/16/2015

Short Description

Nonprofit chief executive, chief executive officer, and physician Dr. Beny J. Primm (1928 - 2015 ) is a national authority on drug addiction and one of the world's foremost authorities on HIV and AIDS. In 1969, he helped to found the Addiction Research Treatment Corporation and has been the executive director ever since. A.R.T.C., located in Brooklyn, New York, is one of the largest minority non-profit community-based substance abuse treatment programs in the country, treating over 2,300 men and women from underserved communities.

Employment

Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation

Urban Resource Institute

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19125">Tape: 1 Slating of Beny Primm interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19126">Tape: 1 Beny Primm's favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19127">Tape: 1 Beny Primm explains the origin of his unique name</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19128">Tape: 1 Beny Primm details his mother's family origins, her occupation and his father's business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19129">Tape: 1 Beny Primm recalls his mother sending him to New York City to attend integrated schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19130">Tape: 1 Beny Primm discusses his father's background and funeral home business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19131">Tape: 2 Beny Primm talks about his parents' personalities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19132">Tape: 2 Beny Primm talks about the prominent black physicians in his home town</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19133">Tape: 2 Beny Primm discusses his early memories of attending segregated schools in the South</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19134">Tape: 2 Beny Primm describes the culture shock of attending high school in New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19135">Tape: 2 Beny Primm recalls life as a mortician's son</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19136">Tape: 2 Beny Primm describes the family home in New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19137">Tape: 2 Beny Primm details the problems with bullies he encountered at school in New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19138">Tape: 2 Beny Primm talks about the pressure of succeeding academically in college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19139">Tape: 3 Beny Primm recalls his problems at Lincoln University and his transfer to West Virginia State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19140">Tape: 3 Beny Primm details his military service and his medical school education in Europe</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19141">Tape: 3 Beny Primm talks about his experiences in Heidelberg, Germany and Geneva, Switzerland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19142">Tape: 3 Beny Primm reflects on his education at the University of Heidelberg in Germany</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19143">Tape: 3 Beny Primm discusses his family and cultural adjustment upon his return to the U.S.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19144">Tape: 4 Beny Primm talks about shifting his focus from anesthesiology to the study of drug addition</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19145">Tape: 4 Beny Primm details his work with addicts in Harlem in the 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19146">Tape: 4 Beny Primm discusses the origins of methadone and its effects on the brain</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19147">Tape: 4 Beny Primm talks about federal aid to combat substance abuse</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19148">Tape: 4 Beny Primm discusses substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19149">Tape: 5 Beny Primm discusses the facts and myths surrounding HIV/AIDS</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19150">Tape: 5 Beny Primm reflects on his career and gives advice to future African Americans in the medical profession</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/19151">Tape: 5 Beny Primm summarizes his career and his legacy</a>

DASession

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DATape

4$4

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Beny Primm discusses the origins of methadone and its effects on the brain
Beny Primm discusses substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and the African American community
Transcript
What did you accomplished here sir--you know, with this whole project? And I also want to go back 'cause methadone was very--that was new.$$Very controversial--,$$Very controversial.$$--at that time.$$Right.$$It had only been in five years.$$Who, who where did methadone come from?$$From Dr. [Vincent] Dole and Dr. [Marie] Nyswander. Their picture is on the wall over here. I'm talking to Dr. Dole. He--they didn't like me because I didn't think that methadone was the way to go. I thought that you could do methadone to abstinence and but they thought that you had to have methadone ad infinitum because of the metabolic changes that take place and so forth. And so they called me this program where we said the ten-ton airplane with the Volkswagen Motor and I was the Volkswagen motor. That was printed you know. And I--you know that really challenged me. I was--had to build these four or five different clinics here and then four or five different clinics and I was building them. Well what have I accomplished. I mean I've treated thousands of patients, hundreds of thousands of patients in and out of here. and I've developed a human service conglomerate out of this which was just Methadone Maintenance Treatment programs. I've have five hundred people working here. over the last thirty years. And in you know not just meager paying physicians but in a professional and good, good positions and people are retiring from here. They've sent the kids to college. You know it's, it's, it's it's an institution. I mean it's a twenty-four million dollar corporate conglomerate. I mean you know I think its been one hell of a of an accomplishment in a community where things--you're working against odds all the time. It's not in my back yard, not on planet earth. Do they want any programs like this? And I've been able to do that and to be accepted by the politicians. And by the community in which I serve, so--.$$Now what about your views about addiction and the treatment of addiction?$$Well--.$$I mean they've changed I would say.$$Of course. I think addiction is is a problem that a chronic relapsing problem brought on by any number of different etiological factors not the least of which is disenfranchisement and hopelessness and poverty and all those kinds of things. And genetics susceptibility to addictive behavior. All influence becoming addicted. Because once you begin to take drugs, you really change your body's homeostasis. That is the body's natural chemistry changes to a chemistry brought about by this exogenous substance that you're taking into your body which sometimes mimics those same substances that you have in your body endogenously. And so that exogenous substance tends to suppress the endogenous substance that you have, making you susceptible to a need and to an addiction to the exogenous substance. And sometimes you never are able to recover your normal homeostasis ever again unless you have this exogenous substance. It takes a great deal of will power and sometimes lifelong substitution therapy with a pharmacological agents that bring about a normal feeling of homeostasis in your body because you've effected so many neurotransmitter systems by this exogenous substance that you take into your body. So it changes your brain really. It changes the transmitters the neurotransmitters in your brain, specifically dopamine and your endorphins your. Inside your body morphines inside your brain, neurotransmitters that control somewhat pain and stress and untoward reactions that you may face in--and even your stressful syndrome that you may face. So these permanent brain changes are sometimes irreversible. Sometimes they are moderately reversible and there is some amelioration of the addiction and you can go on and begin to live very normally. But other times, there is no amelioration unless there is some pharmacological substitution therapy.$$And that, that you feel is methadone?$$That's methadone--right now, that's all we have. There is LAM which is a longer acting methadone. L-alphacetamethadol. We have now another substance which is agonist, antagonist. That means it acts like a you know a substance that we have in our own bodies like the endorphins which is bupanorphine. But it also attaches itself to the recetocyte (ph.) and blocks the action of other kinds of agonists or substances that are addictive that are in the same class with drugs. So its--the brain changes. The morphology of the, of the cell and of the axons and the dendrites actually change under the influence of drugs. Particularly over a long period of time.$Now in this whole process of, of treating, you know drugs, you got--you became involved in HIV Once again also very early in the process.$$Sure.$$And I would like, and I would like for you to say what led you into that? You know--.$$Well I, I had a patient in one of my Harlem [New York, New York] clinics that had been sort of baffling to the medical staff there. Because he had this panlymphadenopathy. In other words swollen lymph glands all over his body. They called me in one day to see the patient and I did and I said--I tried to entice him into getting a biopsy of one of the nodes and he wouldn't do that. But he became weaker and weaker and he finally lost weight and he finally died. And the etiology of his death was unknown because this was like, like '82 [1982], '83 [1983] and that's before we had found HIV that causes AIDS [acquired immunodeficiency syndrome]. We were calling it the lymphadenopathy-associated virus, LAV after the Frenchman who discovered it Luc Montagnier. It wasn't until '83 [1983],'84 [1984] when they really discovered the cause of of AIDS or GRID ,gay-related immune deficiency. It was called also GRID. They even had things that were derogatory--that gay meant got AIDS yet, G-A-Y, got AIDS Yet? All kinds of ugly things. And I saw this as a disease entity that was confounding most of us in drug abuse who saw our patients. We were responsible for their primary medical care and saw our patients deteriorating and not knowing what happened to them. And so we began to see more and more association of drug abuse with people who were probably infected with this problem and who had immunocompromised systems and all the opportunistic--opportunistic infections that go along with having an immune-compromised system. And then of course they found out that--they founded HIV, then they found a test for HIV in '84 [1984]. And then we began to put a name to it. So all that time I was working and not being able to solve the problem like in a laboratory or at the bench because I'm not a bench scientist. But seeing what was happening and hoping that something would be found to save some of the lives of the people, particularly in my own program who were becoming infected with this virus that caused this major problem. And so the more and more I delved into it, I began to, to be recognized as somebody who was outspoken about it and somebody who was interested in trying to change the policy so that it would impact my patient population differently that it had been. And I was chosen to go on [U.S.] President [Ronald] Reagan's Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic Commission. And I served three years on that and helped to write the part of that report that talked about how to treat the addicted person who was infected with HIV and AIDS. And its its a great document and can be you know, gotten from the Library of Congress. It's well-published and a well-circulated document. And then after that, one thing has led to another. I have been continuously involved and trying to create policies and--particularly for the addicted who are infected with the virus. And when I was the first director of the Office of Treatment Improvement, I established at the federal level programs that focused on HIV and AIDS in injecting drug users. And then as also director of the national treatment for--National Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, I also focused on this. And of course those programs are still in effect today. And then I have when I began to find out that more and more African Americans are being infected with the virus, I started working very closely with the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] where I'm serving on the advisory committee and have been chosen to work very closely with the Congressional Black Caucus. And particularly [U.S.] Representative Maxine Waters and [U.S.] Representative Donna Christian-Christensen both in--and of course representative [U.S. Representative] [Louis] Lou Stokes and getting money to focus on the problem in the African American community. We were successful in calling AIDS and HIV a health emergency in the African American community in 1998. And then being able to get appropriated in the President's budget for 1999, 156 million dollars that has been spent on this problem in 1999. In 2000, another 234.4 million dollars and now for 2001, 350 million dollars has been appropriated specifically to target the emergency that's going on in communities of color because of HIV and AIDS. So I became more and more engrossed in the problem and now I'm still one of the fighters that are out there and just got the Surgeon General's medal for my work. And I, I'm just so proud of what we've done and what others have done who have worked very closely with me to bring about this impact on the problem in the African American community where three and sometimes four out of every ten people will have this problem in this country now, all African Americans. And out of the forty-five thousand people that are becoming infected every year almost two-thirds of that population are African American. And its particularly rampant among African American women. And so I'm, I'm very much committed to the rest of my life being spent trying to do something about this problem until its resolved.$$What do you think could resolve it?$$Well I think first of all their needs to be massive education, sustained education programs that are targeted to the African American and other communities of color. We don't have that. I mean there should not be two hours of radio admission for a station unless they have a message about doing something to, to thwart or wart off HIV infection in the African American community. I think we need massive billboard coverage of what's happening. For example in east New York and Bed-Stuy [Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York, New York neighborhood] and Fort Greene here in Brooklyn [New York, New York] where we have one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV Infection in the country there ought to be billboards saying this community has so and so, and so and so number of HIV Infections this month. And show the increase in months to follow. And change those numbers so that people--people become cognizant of what's going on. People are not cognizant of what's going on. We don't--we're not broadcasting--adequately enough. If this was in the white community it would be an incredible onslaught of health professionals to do something about this problem. And but since its in our community we have a few fighters that are doing it but that's about it. And the federal government is not doing enough. The state government is not doing enough. The city government is not doing enough. I think they feel in certain cities, if they make it public what really is going on that they would discourage tourism and all those kinds of good things when indeed they ought to be doing something about it in spite of whether it discourages or encourages touri--tourism. That should have no bearing on it whatsoever. What should have a bearing on it is the death of citizens in this country unnecessarily, who become involved ignorantly so in behaviors that lead to HIV Infection. We need massive, massive programs to influence people to change their behaviors because you get this by behavior and not by any conspiracy theory that we have heard people talk about.