Willy Wilkinson, MPH is a writer and public health consultant who has worked extensively with health service providers, educational institutions, and social justice organizations to develop culturally appropriate service approaches for marginalized populations, with an emphasis on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations. Willy provides customized LGBT and Transgender-specific cultural competency trainings throughout California and beyond, and helps organizations more effectively meet the needs of underserved populations through educational materials, organizational development, and needs assessments. Over the past three decades, he has worked on a number of public health research projects and community programs serving the LGBT community in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has provided consultation and technical assistance to hundreds of organizations. Willy earned a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Education from UC Berkeley, and a BA in Women’s Studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Willy’s work with marginalized communities began in the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, while providing street-based HIV prevention education and crisis intervention in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. The lessons of street-based community health outreach inform his work to this day: be down, be neighborly, build trusting relationships, and have good follow-through. As a trainer, Willy employs a welcoming, interactive, non-punishing approach that honors participants’ expertise and welcomes all questions, at all knowledge levels.
Willy’s award-winning writing has appeared in various anthologies and periodicals. His essay on social and policy change as an outcome of participatory action research in marginalized communities can be found in the Lambda Literary Award finalist Transgender Rights (University of Minnesota Press, 2006). In 2004 Willy received an excellence in writing award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his San Francisco Chronicle article on the social, political, and personal intersections between his parents’ interracial marriage and his own same-sex marriage.
Nationally known for his expertise in transgender public health issues, Willy also has extensive experience with the following populations:
• Asians and Pacific Islanders
• African Americans
• Latinos (spoken and written fluency in Spanish)
• Native Americans/American Indians
• substance users and their partners
• sex workers
• lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex populations
• youth, and
• people with disabilities.
Willy lives in Oakland with his beautiful, irreverent wife Georgia Kolias and their inventive six year-old son, fiery three year-old daughter, and sweet newborn baby boy.