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Coronavirus Victims: D.C.'s Legendary Psychiatrist Dr. Alyce Gullatte

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Today we are remembering Dr. Alyce Gullattee, who was a legend here in Washington. Last month, she died after testing positive for coronavirus.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Dr. Gullattee was a professor and psychiatrist who practiced at Howard University Hospital. She was also one of the nation's leading voices on substance abuse, known for her empathetic approach to treatment.

KELLY: Reverend Willie Wilson, a retired pastor at Union Temple Baptist Church here in D.C., told WUSA 9 he remembers hearing stories about how Dr. Gullattee would roam the streets during the crack epidemic of the 1980s, looking for patients who needed help.

WILLIE WILSON: Well, you know, I was working at the bureau rehab at that time, working with a lot of people who had problems with substance abuse. And they were telling me about this doctor who was going up to 7th and T, into the crack houses, pulling people out and taking them to Howard University for treatment.

AISHAETU GULLATTEE: My mom, I could view her as everybody's grandmother.

CHANG: Aishaetu Gullattee said those stories about her mother are true. She treated all her patients like family.

GULLATTEE: She was also known for making sure people were treated right and had the best of care going to Howard Hospital. And she would just say, oh, that's my grandbaby, that's my grandson, that's my - you know, my granddaughter, to just make sure that they were fully, 100%, getting the best care.

CHANG: And that is how Aishaetu remembers Dr. Gullattee best - not as some kind of mythical hero, but simply as Mom.

GULLATTEE: I would have celebrations here at the house, the family house that I was raised in. And we would have big dinners, and we would play the music, and Ma would dance, and everybody would cheer her on. But just to see a smile on her face while she was around her loved ones, it just showed that she was happy.

KELLY: Dr. Alyce Gullattee was 91 years old.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.