With one of those big, friendly smiles that set anyone at ease, Anita Case uses her charm for a purpose — to improve healthcare access for the sake of the communities she serves, and for the uncle whose illness inspired her passion. Case, 42, witnessed the impact of HIV/AIDS firsthand at a young age and has worked for those affected ever since. As executive director of Affinity Health Center in Rock Hill, S.C., Case’s career has transitioned along with her workplace from exclusively HIV/AIDS services, to comprehensive healthcare in a 30,000-square-foot expansion that broke ground in April. She and her Affinity team work tirelessly towards a “vibrant community where all people have access to exceptional care.”

How do Affinity’s mission and programming reflect or influence your own interests and passions?

I joined Affinity when we were an HIV/AIDS service organization because of my passion for and commitment to caring for people living with HIV/AIDS. Over the last 12 years in my role, my passion has grown for others who are underserved and others whose voices need to be heard. As a social worker by training whose career began in direct service, I am still committed to empowering people and communities, to addressing the social determinants of health, and to caring for the whole person.

What led to where you are in your career?

My journey started at age 11 when my uncle was diagnosed with AIDS and his family moved in with my family. At that time, there was only experimental treatment (AZT trials)… Even the medical profession did not understand transmission fully. My uncle and his family chose to become advocates and speak out in our small, southern, rural town. My mother became the “AIDS volunteer” with Hospice and worked with churches to offer “AIDS ministries.” I educated my sixth grade classmates on the importance of using condoms and went with my mother on her hospice visits where we watched people die from this deadly disease. I’m grateful that we have come so far with this disease. I am also keenly aware that so many people are dealing with health issues and have nowhere to turn and not enough hope.

Aside from healthcare issues, what causes are you passionate about on a personal level?

I am a Christian, passionate about people understanding the God I know, one that accepts and loves all people. I am passionate about equal rights for the LGBTQ community. I am passionate about teaching my two girls about God’s love and that no matter who they love, it’s okay with me, as long as that person loves them back.

If you were granted an all-expenses-paid vacation, what would you plan?

My favorite travel centers around great food and great people. I like to experience different cultures and enjoy food from different countries. I would travel the world, staying with local people and sharing meals at their dinner tables. I also love a good camping trip, so maybe the travel would be by camper!

What does your support system look like?

I have a wonderful husband and two feisty, sassy little girls to keep me on my toes at home. I have dear friends near and far with whom I don’t have enough time to spend. I am blessed with passionate and committed coworkers who want Affinity to be the best we can be. I am a member of a church community where we are seeking to be more inclusive and more loving of all people.

Name three things that you could not function without.

This is a hard one without sounding cliché. My life is pretty simple these days — I work a lot, and I spend a lot of time with my family. I love my weekends because it’s uninterrupted time with my girls. I also love to get a phone call in with my best girlfriend who is also a busy mom with a toddler and a demanding job. Great food always makes me happy. And, my parents are amazing — I missed them so much this past weekend that my family loaded in the car for a spontaneous road trip to spend time together.

What kind of TV/movies do you enjoy?

I love almost all chick flicks! I wish Emily Giffin would have more of her books become movies. I love “Something Borrowed” but I’m ready to see the others go to the big screen! I don’t get to watch much TV now that I have two toddlers, but when I do, I love the “The Big Bang Theory.”

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