AIDS Service Association of Pinellas and Francis House of Tampa Become EPIC

Life-changing centers merge to provide growing HIV population with more services and easier access to care

CLEARWATER, Fla. – December 07, 2016 – AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP) and Francis House in Tampa will now be known as EPIC, or Empath Partners in Care, a member of Empath Health. The nonprofits merged under Empath Health to provide support programs and services to those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS throughout Tampa Bay. EPIC will strengthen and expand services to a greater number of people in the region.

EPIC will provide a wide variety of services from HIV case management, counseling, to pharmacy services and housing grants from its five locations to more than 10,000 people in the region. Without this assistance, HIV treatment and the other programs would cost individuals thousands of dollars a month or otherwise be unobtainable.

Joy Winheim, a leader in HIV care in the region for many years and the former executive director of Francis House, will serve as the executive director of EPIC. “I’m so thrilled to be a part of the future of HIV care in our community,” says Winheim. “Under one organization, we can reach many more people and continue services for those who have come to rely on the care we offer,” she added.

Winheim has been serving HIV communities since 1997, working as a substance abuse counselor, then program coordinator of HIV services at the Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office (DACCO). She joined Francis House in 2005 and has been acting as its executive director since 2007.

“We’re so proud to have a dedicated, caring leader serve at the helm of EPIC,” said Rafael J. Sciullo, president and CEO of Empath Health. “This is a big day for families impacted by HIV. EPIC will continue the mission started by ASAP and Francis House to offer the support, care and compassion they need,” he added.

The EPIC team and members of the community are coming together to celebrate the expansion of life-saving HIV care and announce the name of its care facilities in Tampa Bay with hopes to reach even more of the population affected by the disease.

The announcement will commence with a celebration at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 7, at AIDS Memorial Park, located at 102 W. Hyde Park Place in Tampa.

About EPIC

EPIC (Empath Partners in Care), a member of Empath Health, is a nonprofit serving those in Tampa Bay impacted by HIV. The organization offers HIV supportive services, such as medical case management, pharmacy services, group and individual counseling, housing assistance, a day center with daily meals and activities and basic need items for clients and their families. EPIC also works to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS through education, free testing and advocacy. Its mission is to encourage and empower those affected to become self-sufficient members of the community. Contact EPIC at (727) 328-3260 in Pinellas County or (813) 237-3066 in Hilllsborough County or

About Empath Health

Empath Health is a nonprofit integrated network of care that provides expert, life-changing health care to those with chronic and advanced illnesses. Empath Health includes hospice, home health and physician services, independent living assistance and day care for seniors, HIV services and advance care planning.