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On Life and Meaning

Feb 7, 2019

Debbie Warren is president and CEO of RAIN, formerly the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network. RAIN provides access to personalized care to individuals and their families who are living with HIV and associated chronic conditions so they may live healthier, fulfilled lives. Debbie founded RAIN, a non-profit organization, in 1992. She is also a founding member of the North Carolina AIDS Action Network and has been active in state and national advocacy efforts on behalf of HIV+ patients. She has taught at the US Conference on AIDS and joined experts on HIV/AIDS at The White House as part of a dialogue on the role of public-private partnerships in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Debbie has received numerous awards for her work, including the Human Rights Campaign Charlotte Legacy Award. She is an ordained Baptist minister. She is a graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in helping people living with HIV/AIDS, pastoral care, the maturing of faith, and finding one’s identity in service and love.  


  • Debbie describes RAIN and its core work of delivering services to those people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • She identifies the HIV/AIDS population that RAIN is serving and the extent of HIV/AIDS as a public health issue.
  • She discusses the number of people living with HIV/AIDS and the disproportionate effects of HIV in Mecklenburg County.
  • She addresses whether the LGBTQ community has moved on from prioritizing HIV/AIDS intervention.
  • Debbie considers whether communities of color are accepting the fact that HIV is impacting them to the extent that it is.
  • She explains how RAIN integrates the voices of people living with HIV in its programs and services.
  • She answers how a person gets HIV and prospects for health after a diagnosis.
  • She talks about what gives her hope in the work she does.
  • Debbie describes signature events of RAIN including Gay Bingo, AIDS Walk and annual World AIDS Day luncheon.
  • She shares what draws her in to helping people living with HIV and AIDS.
  • She remembers growing up in Jackson, Tennessee, her father, mother and grandmother, and what set the stage for the work she is doing now.
  • She discusses the role West Jackson Baptist Church played in her life and her time attending Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Debbie remembers the early days of AIDS, coming out as a lesbian, and a conversation with her mother.
  • She recalls two men who were instrumental in the start of RAIN.
  • Debbie shares how she manages the loss of people she loves, how her faith has changed, her feelings about her own death one day, and what matters most.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: The Best of Who We Are

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning