DR. RON SIMMONS MEMORIAL
March 2, 1950 - May 28, 2020
As the first President and Chief Executive Officer of Us Helping Us for over 25 years, Dr. Simmons served with distinction and honor from his hiring in 1992 until his retirement in December 2016. Under Dr. Simmons leadership, Us Helping Us has become the oldest and largest Black gay-led AIDS organizations in the United States serving gay/same-gender-loving men, heterosexual men and women, transgender persons, and youth. Dr. Simmons was especially proud that in 2001 Us Helping Us was the first black gay organization in the nation to purchase and renovate a building for its headquarters and service facility.
Among his many contributions nationally, he was a founder of the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Black gay men For 11 years, Dr. Simmons was a member of the DC Board of Medicine. He made presentations on HIV prevention and black gay men in a number of distinguished venues including the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. Among his numerous honors include the 2004 Heroes in the Struggle Award from the Black AIDS Institute; the 2010 Life Time Achievement Award from the Black Gay Research Group; and the 2010 Harvey Milk Alumni Award from the SUNY at Albany. He was inducted into the National AIDS Education and Services for Minorities’ Black Gay Men Hall of Fame in January 2013, and selected by POZ magazine in 2010 as one of the POZ 100 most influential AIDS activists.
Us Helping Us began as a self-help group founded in 1985 by Bishop Rainey Cheeks, Prem Deben (deceased), Aundrea Scott (deceased) and Howard Morris (deceased) for HIV-positive black gay men who would meet in their living rooms. Currently, Us Helping Us offers an array of services and programs, including: HIV/STD testing and other sexual health screenings; PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), behavioral/mental health; case management; treatment adherence counseling; support groups; behavioral interventions; and a safe and brave space (drop-in center) for young Black gay men and Black transgender individuals.
Thank you for your support as we remember and honor the contributions Dr. Simmons made to our organization and to our community.