Community Organization Middle Management Staff

In March 2020, DC Health staff conducted a two-part, in-person listening session with 40 middle management staff members from community-based organizations in the DC region. The listening sessions were held in the evening at a local restaurant. Middle management staff members tend to have been in the field for many years, considering the long history of HIV in the District.


  • Middle management staff members’ concerns included how they want to do more (such as more programming, outreach, and education), but they feel as if they are not in a position to make changes. They need support and understanding in their work from higher-ups. Participants felt as if the torch was not being passed on to them; many said it can be difficult to work with clients and customers because of the individuals' internalized stigma about some part of their identity.


They shared some of the strengths that they believe many of the clients and customers they have worked with possess:

  • “Living in their truth” – Clients and customers advocate for themselves and encourage their peers to do the same.
  • Prideful – Young clients and customers are vocal about their sexual orientation and open with who they are.
  • Empowered – Clients and customers who qualify are volunteering for studies and drug trials. They see this as a part of their “legacy,” and it gives them hope that they will be able to help the next generation.
  • Resilient – Despite social barriers,  clients and customers are still overcoming many issues and continue to “push through.”
  • Community oriented – Clients and customers  check in on each other and on staff. There is a sense of belonging in the community.

Using Strengths 

Middle management staff wants to do more. Because they are often a part of the front line in providing services, they believe that they should be given a voice in how the health department conducts programming and/or designs and implements programs. Middle management staff can be helpful in the dissemination of public health and health department goals and objectives.

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