Appreciation: Irvienne Goldson, Longtime ABCD Health Advocate, Dies Unexpectedly

Friends, family and colleagues of Irvienne Goldson said to know her was to love her. 

Sadly, Mrs. Goldson, who served as deputy director of Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) Health Services, died suddenly last week. 

Mrs. Goldson joined ABCD in 1992 as manager of education and training and rose to become deputy director of ABCD Health Services department and a powerhouse of healthcare advocacy in Boston. 

Irvienne Goldson, longtime ABCD health advocate, died suddenly last week.

“It is with the deepest sadness that I share that Irvienne Goldson passed away suddenly,” said EBCD President and CEO John Drew in a statement announcing her passing. “Her rare leadership and unflagging commitment to the Boston community made her not only respected but beloved.”

Drew said with more than 30 years’ experience in health education and training, and curriculum and program development, Mrs. Goldson was a trailblazer, teacher, and tireless advocate who saw health equity as a human right. 

“With a passion for reproductive health, HIV and adolescent sexuality, she was an innovator who championed the inextricable link between equal access to health information, education, and care to personal development and empowerment,” said Drew. “Frequently recognized for her work with under-resourced people of color, particularly girls and young women, Irvienne was a woman of vision, determination, and action. We at ABCD mourn her loss as a dear friend and colleague, and we grieve alongside all those who knew her and loved her. Her heart was immense, her impact immeasurable. We will miss her always.”

Director Emeritus of ABCD’s East Boston APAC office John White called Goldson an inspiration to all that knew her. 

“From East Boston to Roxbury to Mission Hill and JP and Dorchester – Irvienne Goldson was there for the young people of our neighborhoods – educating and advocating on health issues and teaching by example how to stand up for what you believe and make a difference for your community and the people who live there,” said White. “For youth in the ABCD SummerWorks program, she gave the gift of empowerment, the ability to take charge of their lives and build careers… to be all they could be. We thank you Irvienne. You will be missed.”

Former ABCD Health Services Director Joan Whitaker, who worked closely with Mrs. Goldson for so many years, said Mrs. Goldson was always a champion of women’s and community health. 

“From the 1980s when Irvienne was part of the founding of the Cambridge Feminist Health Center, she has championed women‘s and community health,” said Whitaker, who retired in June. “She has exemplified empowerment for young people and community building by developing creative programs that have been key to alleviating health inequities. With compassion and wisdom, she has mentored and provided opportunities for countless young women of color. I will miss her kindness, her warmth, and the focused advocacy that have benefited me over the 27 years we worked together at ABCD.”

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