� 1999 Medical Tribune News Service
A medical and research clinic in Cleveland has had success treating people
with HIV/AIDS in a decidedly unconventional way.
Over the last 20 years, Ron Rooy has reinvented himself several times by
founding and managing everything from a printing shop to a radio
production company and a commodity brokerage. But when he decided to
change professions again several years ago -- this time to the chief
executive of a Cleveland alternative medicine and research clinic catering
largely to people with HIV -- career fancy had little to do with the job
"It all started as a treatment program to help me," explained Rooy, who
was diagnosed with HIV nearly 12 years ago. In the process Rooy, along
with co-founders Charlie Dale and Joe Quarterson, created a grassroots
movement in the Cleveland area devoted to helping HIV-infected patients
live better by combining the worlds of allopathic medicine and
complementary holistic treatments.
Since opening in November 1997, New Hope's client list has risen from a
group of three, including Rooy and Dale, to more than 130.
One patient, after years of being bedridden by neuropathy, is walking
again without even the help of a cane. A pregnant woman experienced a
substantial jump in her blood cell count, even though women without the
virus tend to experience a drop in cell counts during pregnancy. Then
there's the countless reports of renewed energy and vitality as a result
of therapy received at New Hope.
Clients are offered a mix of therapies, including not only counseling on
dietary habits and vitamin/herbal supplements, but also massage,
channeling, hypnotherapy and programming, acupuncture and psychosocial
counseling, plus programs in music and exercise therapy, which includes
body building. "Our whole program is designed to show that the
conventional medical approach and the complementary therapy can work even
better together," said Rooy.
Embodying this philosophy is New Hope's full-time physician, Harry
Simmons, M.D. Simmons, a career pathologist before joining the clinic,
doubles as a massage therapist when not monitoring the status of patients
enrolled with the clinic. (All clients are also required to have outside
The New Hope staff is now 25, including four physicians, a social worker
and an employment counselor. Funding has always been in short supply for
New Hope. Most clients are on Medicaid or Medicare and some don't have any
But perhaps the biggest success story is Rooy himself. He was given just
over a year to live after being diagnosed with HIV. That was 1989. After
spending a tumultuous two years preparing for death, which included the
loss of his life-partner to an AIDS-related illness; the dissolution of
the executive search firm he owned; and the depletion of most of his
money, Rooy rethought the direction of his life.
"At the end of the two years when I had gone through my savings and I was
still here, I said to myself, wait a minute, what do I do now?" Today Rooy
runs the business operation and Quarterson oversees programming.
New Hope is now expanding its offices. More work needs to be done to help
people with HIV achieve a better quality of life. "If I had to just live
on the pills with the side effects, I wouldn't want it. I'd rather have
more quality than a longer quantity of time," Rooy said. That, he added,
is true living.
June 16, 1999
� 1999 Medical Tribune