Your Care, Your Community.

The mission of Fenway Health is to enhance the wellbeing of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and all people in our neighborhoods and beyond through access to the highest quality health care, education, research and advocacy.

Healthcare is a Right, Not a Privilege.


Motivated by the belief that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, politically active Northeastern University students open a one-day-a-week drop-in center in the basement of a building owned by the Christian Science Church. The center is staffed by volunteer medical students dedicated to serving the diverse Fenway neighborhood—a neighborhood that includes many seniors, gays, low-income residents, and students. Reflecting this mission, the founders name the center Fenway Community Health Center.

Fenway's Original Founders

Two of Fenway’s original founders

Fenway's Original President

Board of Directors Chairperson Stewart Landers stands in front of Fenway’s original entrance on Haviland Street.


To accommodate an increase in demand for services, the Center moves into a larger space in the basement of 16 Haviland Street.

Fenway incorporates as a freestanding health center and elects a volunteer governing board.

Three separate collectives take root at Fenway Community Health Center: Women’s Collective, Gay Men’s Collective, & Elders’ Collective.

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“Whatever you can pay.”


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Fenway Community Health Center conducts anonymous STD testing at gay bathhouses in Boston as part of a joint effort with the Department of Public Health to reduce the spread of STDs and hepatitis.

First paid medical director hired.


Fenway Community Health Center is fully licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.


Health care providers in New York and San Francisco begin observing a pattern of cancer-like symptoms among gay men. The National Center for Disease Control names the syndrome Gay Related Immune Deficiency (GRID).

Fenway opens a laboratory on site.

Volunteering his time, Dr. Ken Mayer initiates the Center’s earliest infectious disease research.

The New England Conservatory becomes the first area college to contract Fenway’s mental health services for their students.

Fenway introduces mental health services as a satellite site for Mass Mental Health.

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Fenway makes the first diagnosis of AIDS in New England.


Fenway’s Board of Directors creates an ad hoc committee charged with developing a series of AIDS Forums to address the medical and psychosocial implications of AIDS. The committee later evolves into the independent Boston AIDS Action Committee.


Fenway pioneers the first home-based Alternative Insemination (AI) program in the nation.

Fenway launches AIDS hotline.

First Fenway AIDS outreach conducted at Boston’s annual Gay Pride celebration.


Fenway opens anonymous HIV testing program.

Collaborating with Harvard Medical School, Fenway becomes one of the first medical facilities in the US to culture HIV from blood and semen samples. This project marks the beginning of a long-term collaborative relationship with both the medical school and Harvard’s School of Public Health.

Fenway’s Dr. Ken Mayer begins searching for antibodies to HIV.


Fenway's First AI Baby

Cambridge Women’s Health Collaborative becomes part of Fenway Community Health Center.

Massachusetts bans gays and lesbians from becoming foster parents.

First baby is born from the Alternative Insemination program.


The AIDS Action Committee incorporates as an autonomous nonprofit agency.

Mission statement revised to reflect Fenway’s commitment to the gay and lesbian community.

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Second full-time physician hired.


Fenway is the first medical facility in the state to offer the experimental HIV treatment Aerosol Pentamidine, prior to its approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

First full-time nurse hired.


Fenway’s Victim Recovery Project, later known as the Violence Recovery Program (VRP), established. Data collected from the program plays a significant role in efforts to pass the statewide Gay Rights Law and Hate Crimes Statistics Act.

Alternative Insemination program advocates within medical community for broader access to insemination services for single women and lesbians.

Fenway initiates its first Lesbian Health Task Force and first Lesbian Health Day.

Fenway’s Substance Abuse Counseling Program formed.

Gay and Lesbian Helpline established at Fenway.

Holistic health services instituted at Fenway. Fenway becomes one of the first medical facilities in the state to utilize acupuncture as a pain management treatment for people with HIV.

Upon completion, Fenway’s garden is dedicated as Goosebump Park—a reference to the one-woman show “Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe”—in honor of Lily Tomlin’s and Jane Wagner’s continued support.

Fenway recognized in The Boston Globe Magazine for organizing the Community Research Initiative (CRI), which will later become an independent agency.

Boston Mayor Ray Flynn honors Lily Tomlin at a Wang Center
The Good Fight - Boston Globe 1989

LEFT: Boston Mayor Ray Flynn honors Lily Tomlin at a Wang Center reception after her benefit performance nets more than $63,000 for local organizations,including Fenway’s Capital Campaign & Building Fund. Pictured are Mayor Flynn, Ann Sanders, Mayor Flynn’s liaison to the gay community, Lily Tomlin, and Fenway Executive Director, Dale Orlando.


Fenway’s anonymous testing program performs 40% of all anonymous HIV tests in the state.

After completing a successful $4 million building campaign, Fenway moves out of the basement at 16 Haviland Street into a new state-of-the-art facility at 7 Haviland Street.

Fenway’s HIV caseload reaches 500, second in the state only to then Boston City Hospital.

Construction at 7 Haviland
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 7 Haviland Street

Opening New Doors: LEFT: Interior construction at 7 Haviland Street. RIGHT: The ribbon cutting ceremony to dedicate the health center at 7 Haviland.


Fenway throws its first annual Women’s Dinner Party, a fundraiser for Fenway Women’s Health that will soon become the largest event of its kind in the nation.

Fenway’s Color Me Healthy program initiated to provide HIV education and outreach to men of color.

Lesbian Health Research Subcommittee formed.

Fenway Forums established to train credentialed mental health professionals how to identify and respond to gay, lesbian, and HIV/AIDS health issues.


Alternative Insemination program makes office-based services available to clients.

Lesbian Health Series launches, providing outreach and education to lesbians at high risk of developing breast cancer.


Alternative Insemination program makes office-based services available to clients.

Lesbian Health Series launches, providing outreach and education to lesbians at high risk of developing breast cancer.

Kenneth Mayer in 1995

Medical Research Director Dr. Ken Mayer announces Fenway’s distinction as one of eight national sites chosen to conduct HIV vaccine trials. Also pictured are Executive Director Deborah Ruhe and Medical Director Dr. Stephen Boswell.


Riders embark on the first Boston to New York AIDSRide, kicking off the largest single AIDS fundraiser in the country.

Boston Conservatory of Music contracts with Fenway to provide primary health care services for its students and employees.

Fenway initiates at-home care program for neighborhood seniors.

FDA fast-tracks availability of protease inhibitors for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

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Fenway celebrates 25 years of operation.

Viral load testing offered as a new HIV/AIDS treatment service at Fenway.

Fenway institutes the use of acupuncture as a viable practice in the treatment of substance abuse.

Fenway patients who receive free care become automatically eligible for free care from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Our Names - The Plaque

LEFT: Fenway staff member John Lowe celebrates with one of Fenway’s senior patients at the 25th anniversary celebration. RIGHT: The son of one of the countless men lost to AIDS makes a rubbing of his father’s name from the “Our Names Wall” during Fenway’s 25th anniversary dedication. (Photo: Marilyn Humphries)


Fenway increases number of holistic medical providers on staff.


Living Well series initiated to educate community about the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

The Russell-Harris medical practice, located in the Back Bay/South End, merges with Fenway Community Health.

Fenway produces first Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health Research Forum in New England.

Fenway provides more than 800 free hepatitis vaccinations to the community.


Fenway holds first annual Audre Lorde Women’s Cancer Awareness Brunch.

Fenway completes “HIV Prevention for Infected Males: A Needs Assessment” identifying the needs of HIV infected men in Massachusetts.


Nationally recognized researcher Dr. Judith Bradford joins the Fenway staff as Director of Lesbian Health Research.

Healthy People 2010 - Logo

Fenway convenes panel of experts to brief members of the press about the historic significance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services implementing new objectives related to sexual orientation in their public health plan “Healthy People 2010.”


Fenway launches The Fenway Institute, a national interdisciplinary center dedicated to ensuring cultural competence in health care for the GLBT community through research and evaluation, training and education, and policy and advocacy.  Dr. Ken Mayer and Dr. Judith Bradford named co-chairs of The Fenway Institute.

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HIV prevention research studies begin at Y.R. Giatonde Centre in Chennai, India through the NIH-funded Fenway HIV Prevention Trials Unit.


The Fenway Men’s Event draws a record 1,500 attendees and sold out for the first time. More than $250,000 was raised to help support Fenway’s programs and services.


Fenway opens an onsite pharmacy that offers prescription medications to Fenway patients.

In response to legalization of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, Fenway begins offering same-sex marriage clinics. More than 1,000 patients came to Fenway for pre-marital screening appointments.

Fenway launches the Transgender Health Program to help provide health care to this often underserved population.

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The Fenway Institute completes Phase I of its rectal microbicide acceptability study for men. The study hopes to provide information on developing additional methods to reduce HIV transmissions.

Fenway becomes one of the first organizations nationwide to participate in an experimental preventive vaccine trial for Human Papilloma Virus for men.

In an effort to help medical providers better understand the unique health care needs of gay and bisexual men, Fenway publishes “Preventing and Managing STDs in MSM: A Toolkit for Clinicians,” in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health STD Division.


Fenway Community Health breaks ground in Boston’s West Fen’s neighborhood for its future home. The 10-story, 100,000 square foot facility will be the largest LGBT health care, education and research facility in the nation when complete in 2009.

Ground Breaking of the Ansin Building


Fenway: Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health

The Fenway Institute works with the American College of Physicians to publish The Fenway Guide to LGBT Health, the first American medical textbook to address the specific healthcare needs of LGBT people.

Buy The Book!

The Fenway Institute is the first community-based organization to be funded by the National Institutes of Health as a Population Research Center on LGBT Health. This represents an acknowledgment by the federal government of LGBT people as a unique population with specific health risks and disparities.


Fenway’s South End practice moves to expanded space on the second floor of The Pledge of Allegiance Building at 142  Berkeley Street and adds women’s health providers, Behavioral Health services and a Pharmacy.

Fenway expands its Women’s Health department in anticipation of the upcoming move to 1340 Boylston Street.


Fenway shortens its operating name to “Fenway Health” and debuts a new logo.


On March 30, the doors open on Fenway’s new 1340 Boylston Street home. The 10 story, 100,000 square foot facility is the largest building ever constructed by an organization with a specific mission to serve the LGBT community. The new facility allows Fenway to expand its medical and behavioral health departments and pharmacy and to add family dentistry and eye care services. In addition, Fenway’s Women’s Health program is given dedicated space on the building’s third floor.

Fenway Opens the Ansin Building at 1340 Boylston - Front
Fenway Opens the Ansin Building at 1340 Boylston - Team


The Sidney Borum, Jr. Health Center joins the Fenway Health family on July 1, 2010. The Borum operates as part of Fenway Health with the mission of serving marginalized and disenfranchised young people, including those who are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender); homeless or living on the streets; struggling with substance use or abuse; sex workers; or living with HIV/AIDS.

In November, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) publishes the results of the iPrex study which shows that pre-exposure use of HIV medications helps protect gay and bisexual men and transgender women from HIV infection. The Fenway Institute, under the leadership of Dr. Ken Mayer, is one of only two United States study sites and Dr. Mayer is one of the authors of the NEJM article on the study. The study involved 2,499 people in 6 countries on four continents and the study findings were some of the most exciting news in the battle against HIV in many years, receiving widespread coverage in the world press.


Fenway reopens former 16 Haviland Street space as Fenway: Sixteen, the new home of Fenway’s HIV Counseling, Testing & Referrals Program, Health Navigation Services, Helplines, and gay and bisexual men’s health programs.

Fenway celebrates 40 years of service to the community

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For People, Not For Profit

For People, Not For Profit: A History of Fenway Health’s First Forty Years

Written by former Board Chair, Tom Martorelli, published.

Buy The Book!


The LGBT Aging Project becomes part of The Fenway Institute.

LGBT Aging Project, Old Logo
AIDS Action Committee Logo

AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts becomes part of the Fenway family once again, allowing the two organizations to work more closely together, improving delivery of care and services to people living with HIV/AIDS, and strengthening advocacy, prevention and research efforts.

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Fenway offers Obstetrics as a natural extension of the AI Program – the first in the nation to serve lesbians and single women – and housed within the award-winning Women’s Health Program.

Carl Sciortino, former Massachusetts State Representative, becomes Executive Director of AIDS Action Committee after the successful tenure of Rebecca Haag. Sciortino is the first person living with HIV to lead AAC since its founding in 1982.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issue recommendations on the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for preventing HIV infection. Fenway Health is strongly supportive of the use of PrEP, and biomedical research at The Fenway Institute was instrumental in gaining approval of this crucial new tool in the fight against HIV.

The Center for Population Research in LGBT Health, a program of The Fenway Institute led by Judith Bradford, PhD, hosts the first meeting of the groundbreaking Bisexual Research Collaborative on Health. National experts and activists in bisexual health research and advocacy convene at Fenway’s Ansin Building to set an agenda for cutting-edge collaboration in this understudied field.

The Fenway Institute partners with AIDS United and AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin to launch the country’s first National Center for Innovation in HIV Care. Funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the three partners will travel the country to share best practices for HIV care and prevention with community health centers, AIDS service organizations and other community-based organizations.

The Fenway Institute is awarded $813,000 in funding to study the sexual health of female-to-male (FTM) transgender people. Sari Reisner, ScD, leads the pioneering project focusing on innovations in preventive sexual health screening in sexually-active FTM transgender patients.

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