As celebrations begin for Pride and the cultural freedom that has come with it, the LGBT+ community must continue efforts to advance equality, especially in healthcare, said leaders of social justice organizations.
“Stigma is preventing access to healthcare for many who are LGBT+, and we have to remove these barriers to provide essential services,” said Marjorie Hill, PhD, the Chief Executive Officer of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center. “We care for the whole individual and for all individuals.”
Dr. Hill spoke at “Out of The Shadows,” the Addabbo Family Health Center’s first LGBT+ event to remove stigma around expressing sexual identity and accessing care. The event was hosted by the center’s Special Care Department, dedicated to sexual health and social services.
Special Care has provided health services to the LGBT+ community for decades and wanted to show that the center has more to offer than free condoms, testing for HIV and PrEP. “The center supports the LGBT+ community”, said Jennifer Stultz, the Director of Special Care Department. “People can be themselves”, she said at the event, “and trust the staff to provide the care that’s right for the individual patient.”
“Out of the Shadows” included a roof-top party, refreshments and guest speakers: Mohamed Amin, founder of the Caribbean Equality Project; LaTravious Collins and Giana Manmade, co-executive directors of Brooklyn G.H.O.S.T.; and Jim Burke, a founding member of Out Rockaway. The three discussed how they are working to improve inclusion of the LGBT+ community and access to care.
Staff from Ocean Bay Development Corporation and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital also participated in the event, part of an ongoing series at Addabbo Family Health Center to help patients living with chronic conditions. The Addabbo Family Health Center is launching more initiatives to provide the LGBT+ community and all patients with resources and information needed to reach health care goals.
“This is only the beginning,” Dr. Hill said. “The Addabbo Family Health Center will also host a block party for the LGBT community on Saturday, July 13. Participants can expect giveaways, refreshments, music, free HIV and Hep C testing and more information on PrEP, a prevention medication to help people contracting HIV.“
To join the Center’s next public health event or for information about HIV testing and PrEP, please call the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center Special Care Department at 718-945-7150, ext. 3225.