“Daphne was an absolute dynamo, she was visionary, inspirational and above all else, genuine. Daphne told it like it was, unapologetically, in a way that so many of us admired and will never forget.” - Jamal Peterkin, Associate Vice President of Project Street Beat
It has long been the tradition of Project Street Beat to welcome people who lacked access to compassionate, nonjudgmental health care in traditional medical settings. As such, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York’s new fully integrated HIV health care and harm reduction program, The Daphne Hazel Achievement Project, honors the legacy of the person who shaped PSB’s traditions and values more than two decades ago. Daphne S. Hazel, Project Street Beat’s former Vice President was known among patients and colleagues alike to go above and beyond the call of duty to improve health outcomes for people living with HIV and at high risk of HIV infection by tending to their physical, emotional, social, and economic well-being.
Under Daphne S. Hazel’s leadership, Project Street Beat intentionally centered the needs of communities of color, young people, people experiencing homelessness, and LGBTQ+ individuals living with HIV, who faced rampant discrimination in health care settings, and are regularly denied access to life-saving treatment. Daphne S. Hazel passed away on May 1, 2017, but through The Daphne Hazel Achievement Project her memory lives on.
Ms. Hazel, as she was called by PSB’s staff, was a Harvard graduate and a fierce advocate for education and quality care services for anyone who came to Project Street Beat looking for support. During her 20 years of service at Planned Parenthood, Ms. Hazel was responsible for growing Project Street Beat into the flourishing program it is today. Going from “Harlem to Harvard” gave her a sympathetic edge and the unique ability to make PSB the reliable neighbor, the support system, and the friendly ally it is known as by people in the PSB ecosystem.
From its inception, Daphne S. Hazel’s vision of the program was one in which a person’s entire experience and history was considered when measuring care - she valued individualized quality services and did whatever it took to make sure everyone who walked into any of the mobile health clinics felt seen and cared for. She made sure the PSB community had access to the best products, the best services, and when food was involved, the best catering she could get her hands on. Being aware that many of the folks who are part of the PSB community were people whose power had been taken away from them, she always made sure she provided the type of quality experiences she knew they deserved.
Whether it was HIV testing and counseling, education and STI prevention services, PrEP and PEP care, hormone replacement therapy, or emergency contraception, Ms. Hazel went the extra mile to offer a client-centered, affirming, non-stigmatizing, high-quality and anti-discriminatory environment for PSB’s patients. All the qualities that Ms. Hazel aimed to provide are now enhanced and realized through the Daphne Hazel Achievement Project, which will take Project Street Beat’s HIV services to the level it has always aimed for. The program is the first fully integrated HIV prevention and care program in both PPGNY’s Bronx Health Center located at 349 East 149th Street Bronx, NY 10451 and PSB’s mobile health center. Services for the program will be available at both locations Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
From her beginning as an Outreach Coordinator to her position as Project Street Beat’s Vice President, her career and success have been invaluable to the thousands of lives she touched and improved during her years of service. Naming this new initiative after her is PPGNY’s way of carrying her efforts forward and embodying everything that she once represented.