our history

Our history stems back to Nantucket AIDS Network (NAN) founded in 1989, at the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis. In fact, one of our founders, Cheryl Bartlett, is now the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. So we had pretty good bones from the start!

In the early years, our services centered on intensive care for those dying from HIV/AIDS, supporting each individual’s journey of becoming aware and getting connected, creating a safe haven for people who were sick and had no-where else to turn, their individual stories bringing out the compassion that lies within each of us. We turned our offices into a trust-worthy environment for families with questions and struggles of their own, our work focusing on mitigating the tragedy of loss and despair.

After many years, medical advancements thankfully changed the nature of the disease from acute to chronic. HIV/AIDS was no longer a death sentence. Individuals living with HIV/AIDS had the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives if given access to appropriate services and proper care.

To meet the changing landscape, NAN evolved to designing effective systems, programs and services that integrated referrals, information and case management, allowing us to provide comprehensive care for and help prevent HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted infections.

identifying a new need on the Island

In 2009, the Community Foundation for Nantucket sponsored a Human Service Delivery Study. Findings indicated that providers are:

  1. Not as knowledgeable as they would like to be about other human services
  2. Concerned about their futures due to the economic climate
  3. Interested in having closer working relationships with other providers.

Based on this information, it became apparent that the Nantucket community needed a centralized host that would provide information, referrals and case management for all the Island’s human service needs. Since NAN has almost 25 years of experience doing just that, we had the foundation to take on this new role as well as the approval and support of leaders in the community . However, even though we have taken a giant step forward in meeting the needs of a broader population, we remain dedicated to our work in HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C prevention, education and care. We will continue to offer free testing services, case management, counseling, risk reduction support, community trainings and youth education in Nantucket High School.

what island leaders had to say in march, 2013:

“NAN has a proven track record in knowing how to successfully connect people to the services they need. We look forward to working together as they develop a system that organizes information on the services being provided by the island’s human service providers and supports people in connecting easily. The Town’s Human Services department will continue to offer services currently in place – oversight of Our Island Home, Saltmarsh Senior Center, Veteran’s Services, Commission on Disability and all services related to these entities.” ~ Pam Meriam, Director of Human Services for the Town of Nantucket

“I see great value in NAN’s decision to expand their mission in this way. A centralized resource for all human services will not only support those individuals and families in need of services, but also those providing such services, including the hospital.” ~ Dr. Margot Hartmann, CEO of
Nantucket Cottage Hospital

“At the Community Foundation for Nantucket, we are very excited about NAN’s expanded direction. There is clearly a need for a central resource to learn more about the myriad of helpful services available. We applaud NAN for stepping up to handle this important initiative.” ~ Margaretta Andrews, Executive Director of the Community Foundation for Nantucket


we care …because your health & wellness is our priority.

Have more questions? Want to help?

Please contact us directly. Remember, on Nantucket, it doesn’t take a village – it takes an island.