News & Politics

Washingtonian of the Year 2015: Dr. Gloria Wilder

Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Growing up poor, Gloria Wilder dreaded doctor visits—clinics were overcrowded and impersonal. So she became a pediatrician. She was director of community pediatrics at Georgetown and chair of mobile health programs at Children’s. But when “Dr. Gloria” decided to open two medical practices in Anacostia, a bank offered to double its funding if she relocated to a different part of town. She refused. In 2005, she founded the first of her Core Heath and Wellness Centers. Many patients suffer from avoidable, treatable conditions; others need a doctor who listens. Recently, a mother brought in her daughter, who’d been in a facility after attempting suicide. Wilder realized the parent also needed care. After talking to the mom about her trauma and fears, Wilder connected her with a psychiatric team, who helped the woman gain strength. Wilder’s goal is that all Washingtonians have wellness choices: “We’re in the best city on earth to demonstrate justice in access to health care.”

This article appears in our January 2016 issue of Washingtonian.