This article was first published in TAGG and can be read on their site here.
It’s a breath of fresh air to be able to find overlapping interests with someone, particularly with a romantic partner. Even luckier is being able to have a shared interest in serving communities and making a difference in those populations’ health and well-being.
For Janet Redman and Winifred Quinn, working in the health and wellness industry has become a staple part of their relationship. Redman works for Bell Rock Capital, LLC and Quinn works at AARP, additionally serving on the board of directors for Whitman-Walker Health (WWH). The pair share a passion and dedication for health and wellness, specifically focusing in women’s and LGBTQ health.
Their worlds collided at the 2013 Mautner Gala, where Redman was honored as their Volunteer of the Year. Quinn recalls being immediately charmed by Redman’s presence, a Facebook friend request later sealing the deal.
“It was one of the highlights of my life,” says Redman. “And that was before I realized I met the love of my life that night as well.” It wasn’t until 2015 that the two reconnected, with Redman reaching out to Quinn to ask if AARP had any programs that would aid in the caretaking of her parents.
Before meeting, each developed and established their own unique career path in the industry, though remain jointly dedicated to erasing stigmatization of LGBTQ health and wellness, aiming to provide care and programming that advances health care rights and accessibility.
Growing up in a family of nurses, Redman soon became involved in health and wellness within her own life. As a part of a committee at CAMP Rehoboth and a financial advisor, Redman helps the aging population, including the LGBTQ community, plan for healthy retirements while considering the cost of healthcare.
“Health and finances are tied so closely,” says Redman. “Healthcare remains a wild card for so many people, and having access to providers like WWH, who understand the unique needs of the community and offers care without judgment, is critical.”
Quinn shares a similar passion, with almost two decades of experience as a researcher and advocate in the health care sector. She sees herself as a “family caregiver” within the health care policy space, currently working on policies that “intersect consumer needs and nursing and leadership skills.”
Whitman-Walker Health has become a large part of that mission. Quinn began getting involved with WWH by an almost chance encounter; after spotting a rainbow flag above the Elizabeth Taylor Center at Whitman-Walker, she became a patient then became a board member.
“The goal is to provide much better prevention and primary care when people need it – especially at-risk, under-served people,” says Quinn. Quinn emphasizes the importance of nurses within the health industry and how crucial their role is to the quality of care that is provided, particularly those within the LGBTQ community.
Both Redman and Quinn discussed their dedication to advocating for more accessibility and transparency for the LGBTQ community. Quinn has seen WWH specifically expand its footprint in the Washington D.C. area to better serve communities and eliminate stigma and disparity in treatment and service.
“The LGBTQ communities have come a long way over the past 35 years,” says Quinn. “But many in our community are still being left behind. We need to change that and make sure we’re taking care of each other.”
Redman echoes Quinn’s words; being awarded Mautner’s Volunteer of the Year was the “catalyst” for her to continue standing up for those who weren’t always included in health care conversations.
“Win and I both spent many years helping our aging parents and navigating the health care system was challenging, eye-opening, and sometimes infuriating,” Redman explains. “We need to be our own best advocates for health care. We need to be better.”
Beyond a shared passion and dedication to health and wellness, the couple describes themselves as loving, supportive, and fun. Though they are currently based in two different locations (Quinn in Washington D.C. and Redman in Rehoboth Beach, DE) they try to see each other frequently, especially on weekends.
“When I go see Janet, I feel like I can let go of all of the stress from the week and just relax and have fun with her,” says Quinn. Redman agrees, adding that she loves the way they push one another to try new things while still being a strong support for the other. Though living apart isn’t the most ideal situation, the busy schedule of their individual lives allows them to appreciate their relationship and time together more.