WINTER NEWSLETTER – FEBRUARY 2021
PROGRAM AIMS TO SUPPORT INCREASED VIRAL SUPPRESSION AMONG HIV+ TRANSGENDER WOMEN OF COLOR
In recent years, population health – defined as the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group – has taken center stage, with an increased focus on the social determinants of health that drive disparities within groups. Callen-Lorde and other community health centers across the country are rooted in addressing and acknowledging inequities in health outcomes, and through the lens of population health, can help design and implement health interventions to ensure that certain groups – especially those who are further marginalized and oppressed – are not left behind.
Callen-Lorde is home to one of the largest community-based HIV primary care programs in the country, with over one-quarter of our 18,000 patients living with HIV. People living with HIV significantly reduce the risk of disease progression and eliminate the risk of sexual transmission of the disease when they achieve and maintain viral suppression – also known as being “undetectable.” Achieving viral suppression or being undetectable means that the amount of the virus in the blood is so low, it cannot be detected or passed onto others.
According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, viral suppression among HIV+ patients engaged in medical care increased in New York City from 79% in 2013 to 85% in 2017. Likewise, at Callen-Lorde roughly 86% of HIV+ patients are virally suppressed. However, there are still disparities in care, particularly among HIV+ transgender women of color. Only 70% of HIV+ transgender women of color are virally suppressed compared to over 90% of the general population. Callen-Lorde’s own clinical data highlights similar disparities. In 2019, only 77% of HIV+ transgender women of color seen at our Manhattan clinic were virally suppressed, compared to 86% clinic wide.
Thanks to a $75,000 grant from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, Callen-Lorde launched a program to conduct in-reach to our own patient populations with the aim of increasing viral suppression among HIV+ transgender women of color. The grant also supports our HOTT (Health Outreach to Teens) program to ensure that viral suppression is increased among trans and non-binary women of color at any age, as well as youth more broadly.
“We are honored to help support the efforts of Callen-Lorde in improving healthcare outcomes for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Andrew Bregenzer, Regional President, Metro New York. “Through the TD Ready Commitment, we aspire to help create a better future for all through better health, a sustainable environment, economic opportunities, and inclusive communities where all can succeed.”
The advent of COVID-19 has hit people living with HIV – particularly the communities that Callen-Lorde serves – especially hard. As we know, early detection is a key element in stemming the transmission of the disease and ensuring that patients are quickly engaged in care. With the decrease of in-person services across the city, new HIV infections have been less likely to be captured quickly, and many patients who were already engaged in care have become disengaged due to stay-at-home orders, an increase in unstable housing, a rise in unemployment, and a number of other destabilizing forces. These circumstances have created additional challenges for our staff and patients, the impact of which has yet to be fully assessed.
Funding like this is critical to improving health outcomes among the most vulnerable of our communities. Our aim is to re-engage patients in care and match viral suppression rates among these key groups to that of our clinic wide rates, by focusing on increased health outcomes through self-empowerment, education, and support. We will continue to monitor the progress of these efforts in the weeks and months to come.
SATCHEL LEE, DAUGHTER OF SPIKE LEE, CHOOSES CALLEN-LORDE AS PHILANTHROPIC PARTNER
In January, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) named Satchel and Jackson Lee, children of legendary filmmaker and three-time Golden Globe nominee, Spike Lee, and producer and philanthropist, Tonya Lewis Lee, as the 2021 Golden Globe® Ambassadors. Representing Hollywood’s next generation, the ambassadors will assist with duties during the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony and work to raise awareness around philanthropic causes of their choosing. Satchel chose Callen-Lorde as her philanthropic partner, and Jacksonfocused on youth mentorship in underserved communities by selecting Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer-supported mentoring network. Both organizations will receive a grant from the HFPA for $25,000, totaling $50,000 made on the Lees’ behalf.
“We’re proud to carry our father’s legacy of storytelling to bring attention to communities close to our hearts,” said Satchel, who was the creative director of DRØME, a queer and intersectional arts and culture magazine. “This year has illuminated just how disproportionately Black and Brown people and the LGBTQ+ communities are affected by pre-existing conditions, so it’s an honor for me to be able to shine a spotlight on the heroic doctors and nurses at Callen-Lorde who work tirelessly to care for some of the most vulnerable people in New York City.”
Chosen by the HFPA, the honoree(s) is traditionally the child or children of one of the industry’s most respected actors/actresses/directors/producers of our time. In 2017, the HFPA announced the honor’s new title, Golden Globe Ambassador, to better reflect the role, express inclusivity, and highlight philanthropy.
“We are honored and humbled to have the opportunity to work with Satchel over the next year to bring awareness to the health disparities that LGBTQ+ communities face,” said Wendy Stark, Executive Director of Callen-Lorde. “With her support and the generous financial support of the HFPA, we will continue to fight for health equity and racial justice – which we know are inextricably linked – to improve the health and wellness of LGBTQ+ people and communities of color in New York and beyond.”
In addition to the $25,000 grant, Satchel will embark on a year-long partnership with Callen-Lorde, participating in various volunteer roles and opportunities. She kicked off her ambassadorship with a roundtable discussion on Storytelling as Activism at our 2021 Advocacy Day on February 2. We look forward to continuing to partner with Satchel to raise awareness about issues that affect the health and wellness of our communities!
Tune into the 78th Golden Globe Awards at 8:00 PM EST on Sunday, February 28th on NBC.
Like many community health centers across the state, Callen-Lorde has been playing a critical role in vaccination efforts to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Since receiving our first shipment? in December, Callen-Lorde has provided roughly 1,200 doses to our staff and patients. While supply shortages remain, we continue to advocate for widened eligibility requirements that slowed early efforts. At this time, we are reaching out to our highest-risk patients who are eligible by medical criteria only, as additional vaccines become available to us. For more information, please read our vaccine FAQ.
Recent vaccine media:
VIRTUAL ADVOCACY DAY
On Tuesday, February 2, Callen-Lorde held our annual Advocacy Day – a day to promote our policy agenda and to meet with legislators to help advance policies that impact the health and well-being of the communities we serve. For the first time, the event was held virtually, presenting new opportunities to engage those who might otherwise be unable to attend.
We had a great day starting with a powerful roundtable discussion on Storytelling as Activism with Satchel Lee followed by six productive legislative meetings. The day ended with a poignant conversation about Health, Art, Activism with Gil Vazquez from The Keith Haring Foundation. The afternoon included a Community Expo with sessions on the campaign for comprehensive sex ed, medical coverage for TGNB care, and dispatches from the Capitol.
Shortly after the close, we were thrilled to celebrate the signing of the ‘Walking While Trans’ Repeal! We were so proud to play a small role in getting this done, and we owe a debt of gratitude to all the Black, Brown, TGNB grassroots activists and leaders who have been leading this charge for years.
To learn more or sign up to attend future advocacy events, email email@example.com.
SAVE OUR SAFETY NET!
Over the past year, Callen-Lorde has helped lead the charge to save the 340B drug discount program in New York.
The 340B program allows organizations that care for underserved communities – like Callen-Lorde – to purchase discounted medications and use the savings to provide care that would otherwise be unreimbursed. This plan will slash upwards of an estimated $250 million dollars annually from organizations who provide essential services to the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Callen-Lorde alone stands to lose 14% of our annual budget if the cuts go through.
The changes are slated to take effect on April 1, leaving organizations like Callen-Lorde scrambling. These cuts are unconscionable amidst a pandemic, hampering vaccination efforts and reversing strides to end the HIV epidemic, and undoubtedly, they will deeply impact communities that have already been hardest hit by COVID-19.
Save New York’s Safety Net is a statewide coalition of community health clinics, community-based organizations, and specialized HIV health plans committed to serving vulnerable New Yorkers across the state, ending the epidemic, and saving the 340B drug discount program.
SAVE THE DATE FOR CALLEN-LORDE’S 6TH ANNUAL RAINBOW RUN!
Taking place virtually, Callen-Lorde’s Rainbow Run is a 5K or 10K fun run/leisure walk promoting health and wellness while supporting the lifesaving work of Callen-Lorde Community Health Center! This year, the Rainbow Run will take place wherever you are, anytime between May 8 and May 15.
More details to follow. We hope you’ll join us!
FALL NEWSLETTER – OCTOBER 2020
As the leaves begin to change and the weather cools, we are working hard at Callen-Lorde to prepare for another potential surge in COVID-19 while doing our part to prevent an uptick in cases. We are continuing to provide care to our patients virtually when possible, and reminding everyone to get vaccinated against the flu! Patients can schedule flu shots online, and we are accepting new patients at all of our locations! Schedule an appointment or register to become a patient at callen-lorde.org.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH
Substance Abuse Awareness Month is a national observance held each October to highlight the vital role of substance abuse prevention in health care, to remember those who have lost their lives to substance abuse, and to support those who are struggling with substance use through treatment.
It is our pleasure to introduce our new Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) in honor of Substance Abuse Awareness Month.
In May 2020, Callen-Lorde was awarded a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) grant to develop, implement, and evaluate a dual-diagnosis program at Callen-Lorde Brooklyn. The program will undertake a wide range of strategies to address substance use disorders and mental health issues.
This is a timely initiative as COVID-19 has had a particularly strong impact on some populations with existing substance use disorders (SUDs). Reports from the National Institutes of Health have suggested that COVID-19 poses an especially serious threat to people who smoke tobacco, marijuana, or who vape. According to the CDC, LGBTQ people, people of color, and people who are economically disenfranchised are more likely to smoke – and people at the intersections of these identities are often most vulnerable. Furthermore, individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) and methamphetamine use disorder may also be at increased risk because of those drugs’ effects on respiratory and pulmonary health.
The CCBHC program at Callen-Lorde will continue to be responsive and focus on active surveillance as we work to understand this emerging health threat to our communities. The aim of our work will be to improve dual diagnosis care and improve health outcomes among the communities we serve. The project has seven specific objectives, namely to:
- Increase access to community mental health and substance use disorder treatment services in LGBTQ+ communities;
- Increase access to integrated services, regardless of one’s geographic location or ability to pay;
- Increase access to supportive services to those assisted by the program;
- Advocate for improving community mental and substance use disorder treatment services and develop policies and procedures that address community-identified needs;
- Collaborate with stakeholders and community partners to facilitate the improvement of services;
- Facilitate the delivery of training on dual–diagnosis care and substance use disorders to adopt effective policies and provide a system-wide care pathway;
- Facilitate the delivery of education programs encouraging evidence-based practices.
At the conclusion we will be conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the project. The review will identify important outcomes, including demonstrable improvement in stakeholder knowledge and awareness of substance abuse related issues. Our aim is to foster the collaborative partnerships that can emerge between service providers, agencies, and the community at large.
PREVENTING A ‘TWINDEMIC’
Each year as the seasons change from summer to fall, we stress the importance of getting a flu shot. This year it’s even more important than ever as health officials fear a potential ‘Twindemic’ – a surge in COVID-19 coupled with a severe flu season. “People who can avoid the flu will help reduce the burden on a U.S. health care system already overwhelmed by COVID-19,” said Mark Thompson, an epidemiologist in the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further complicating matters, the flu and COVID-19 have many overlapping symptoms, including fever, headache, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue, making it difficult to accurately – and quickly – diagnose. Additionally, it is not only possible to get both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time, but one illness may make you more susceptible to contracting the other because of a weakened immune system and reduced respiratory control. Although the impacts are not fully known, both are respiratory illnesses and can have compounding effects on your health.
By getting a flu shot, it will be easier to rule out the flu if you start to develop symptoms. Diagnostic testing is still needed to confirm a diagnosis. The CDC has developed a test that can determine if you have the flu, COVID-19, both or neither.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone over six months of age. They are especially encouraged for people who are over the age of 65, pregnant, have a compromised immune system, or are living with chronic health conditions such as HIV, diabetes, asthma, or diabetes.
Peak flu season typically runs from late fall to early spring, coinciding with a potential surge in COVID-19 cases, so the best recommendation is to get vaccinated early.
Callen-Lorde patients can schedule flu shot appointments at any front desk, online at callen-lorde.org, or by calling 212.271.7200. Additionally, many pharmacies offer free or low-cost flu shots on a walk-in basis.
WELCOME OUR KEITH HARING FELLOWS
On Tuesday, September 1st, the Keith Haring Nurse Practitioner Postgraduate Fellowship in LGBTQ+ Health welcomed our first cohort of fellows at Callen-Lorde Brooklyn!
Jaime and Brittany were chosen from a competitive national pool of applicants and were ultimately selected for their background, their efforts to expand LGBTQ+ cultural competence in their workplaces, and their tenacity to find formal ways to incorporate education and experience working with LGBTQ+ communities.
Jaime Fried (they/them) is an ER nurse based in NYC. They joined Callen-Lorde from Northwell Health, Lennox Hill Hospital, where they are seen as a leader and have worked to improve staff education and patient experience by setting up the first multidisciplinary LGBTQIA+ “Expressions Council” in the hospital. They are an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and before entering the world of health care, they worked as an artist/bartender.
Brittany Smith (she/her) is an ER nurse hailing from Kaiser Permanente in Atlanta, GA, where fellow staff describe her as a ‘great team player’ and ‘always one to jump in and help’. In fact, Brittany came to NYC in March 2020 as a travel nurse to help with the COVID-19 response at Coney Island Hospital. She is a Family Nurse Practitioner.
For many years, Callen-Lorde has served as a training and education center for students, educators, and other medical and behavioral health professionals seeking to expand their body of knowledge and experience working with LGBTQ+ communities. In 2019, through a $2.5 million grant by the Keith Haring Foundation, we launched the Keith Haring Nurse Practitioner Postgraduate Fellowship In LGBTQ+ Health – a premier LGBTQ+ health care training program to enhance knowledge, increase compassion, and bring awareness to the health care barriers that LGBTQ+ communities face. With this training and experience, the Haring Fellows will bring the skills they learn with them to help close the gap in health disparities for LGBTQ+ people.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD – VOTE!
Election Day is almost here! While much of the focus is on the Presidential Election, please remember that there are many other important races down ballot. For example, there are vital Congressional elections, and all state senate and assembly members are up for re-election in New York. Do your homework to find out who’s on your ballot according to where you live in New York!
Your vote is your voice and – if you’ve tuned in to the news – you know that it’s as important as ever that our voices are heard. There are also more voting options than ever. Read on for a few date reminders about voting in New York.
And, if you’re not in New York, find your local Board of Elections or equivalent to get your relevant dates and deadlines. Don’t delay!
OCTOBER 9th: If you are not registered to vote, you will need to do so by October 9th. Not sure if you are registered to vote? Look it up here Voter Lookup or call 1-866-VOTE-NYC. You should register – or re-register – if you:
- Changed your name or address since the last time you voted
- Turned 18 or will be 18 before 11/3/20
- Changed your political party since the last time you voted
OCTOBER 24th – NOVEMBER 1st: New York now has early voting. If you are registered to vote and want to avoid potential crowds and lines on November 3rd, vote early. During this period, those who opted for mail-in ballots can drop them off at their nearest early voting site. Anyone who opted not to mail-in their vote can visit their designated early voting site and cast their vote in person. Find your nearest voting site.
OCTOBER 27th: If you are registered to vote and wish to submit a mail-in ballot, you must file a request by October 27th. Once you receive a ballot, you’re encouraged to fill it out right away, then mail it back immediately or drop it off at a Board of Elections office before October 24th. Recent cutbacks for the U.S. Postal Service have caused delays in mailing, so keep this in mind if you’re opting for a mail-in ballot. The Board of Elections will accept any mail-in ballot postmarked by November 3rd.
Perhaps you live in Brooklyn and already received an absentee ballot that was addressed to the wrong person. ☹ Refer to this [statement]statement, and check the status of your absentee ballot here.
NOVEMBER 3rd: November 3rd, of course, is Election Day, and polling places will be open citywide. If you haven’t voted by mail or voted early, you can vote in person at your designated polling place. If you received a mail-in ballot and haven’t yet returned it, you can also bring it to your local polling place and submit it there. And, as always, wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between you and your neighbors and fellow voters.
BOYS DON’T WEAR LIPSTICK – A REVIVAL BENEFIT
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the release of Boys Don’t Wear Lipstick, Adam Weinstock, Red Spear Productions, and actor, author, activist, Brian Belovitch, are producing a special event reading of the critically acclaimed play on November 9th. Boys Don’t Wear Lipstick tells of Brian Belovitch’s gender journey through a candid and outspoken memoir. The all-star cast includes Stonewall‘s Jonny Beauchamp as teenage runaway Tish, Margaret Cho as Tish the army wife, Drag Race Star Yuhua Hamasaki as Tish the housewife, Lena Hall as Tish in Central Park, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Tish the nightclub diva and addict on the street, and Jacob Tobia as diva on the bus. The event benefits Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and Emerging Artists Theatre, which will host important information and updates about the reading, including ticket sales.
20TH ANNUAL COMMUNITY HEALTH AWARDS
On Thursday, November 5th, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center will host its 20th annual Community Health Awards, our gala honoring the leaders, trailblazers, and visionaries in LGBTQ+ health and wellness. Our top priority is the health and safety of our communities, and it is in this spirit we have decided to make this year’s event virtual. This year we will honor Black queer transgender activist and writer, Raquel Willis, alongside art collective Papi Juice for being voices and champions that uplift and empower trans and non-binary communities, especially communities of color. The event will be hosted by actress, singer, television personality, and activist, Peppermint, and will include performances by RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 contestant, Yuhua Hamasaki. Special guests include advocate, writer, and model, Devin-Norelle, activist and Emmy-nominated celebrity makeup artist, Deja Smith, and more!
Sponsorship opportunities are currently available, and registration for the event is free to all! Join us on November 5th! Visit callen-lorde.org/cha to purchase sponsorships or register.
SPRING NEWSLETTER – MAY 2020
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Callen-Lorde has remained open to serve our communities where they need us, when they need us. From virtual visits to collaborations with the Department of Homeless Services, Housing Works, and most recently The Ali Forney Center, we have continued to care for our own patients while expanding our medical services to care for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness or unstable housing. We are so proud of our staff, and so grateful to our supporters for helping us to continue to provide services to those in need.
However, we also understand that many of our patients do not have access to technology to access virtual visits or safe spaces to talk freely with their providers.
To continue to meet our patients’ needs, we are slowly re-opening additional sites and services. Our Bronx location re-opened this week. We are practicing social distancing and enforcing new guidelines to limit unnecessary interaction. And, on May 14th, we saw our first patient at our new clinic in Brooklyn. After years of planning, fundraising, and construction, we are thrilled to be able to provide care to LGBTQ+ New Yorkers in Brooklyn.
Thank you for being part of the Callen-Lorde community. Please read on, and keep tabs on our website at callen-lorde.org for updates.
After years of planning, last Thursday, May, 14th, we opened our doors and saw our first patients in Brooklyn!
Although we had planned to open our fourth clinical location at 40 Flatbush Avenue Extension on April 1st, 2020, we were delayed due to COVID-19. In an effort to meet the needs of our patients, we immediately pivoted to virtual services to help flatten the curve and promote social distancing. Since mid-March, we’ve had hundreds of telehealth appointments and continue to care for our patients in the safest possible manner.
At this time, Callen-Lorde Brooklyn is providing limited in-person services to current patients only. Patients eligible for Brooklyn in-person appointments must be referred by their current Callen-Lorde provider. The onsite pharmacy will open later this month, but prescriptions can still be delivered directly to patients’ homes.
We can’t wait until we are able to safely expand our Brooklyn services to new patients and welcome you into our new Brooklyn home!
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacted a huge and potentially devastating toll upon the health care infrastructure of New York City. Perhaps no one is more vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic than homeless New Yorkers.
Callen-Lorde has teamed up with Housing Works and the Department of Homeless Services to provide medical care at a temporary homeless shelter for people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. These efforts are helping to lighten the burden on emergency rooms. The first Callen-Lorde Hotel opened on Friday, April 3rd and has provided 24/7 medical and supportive care services to over 200 patients. Many of these patients also have complex co-existing conditions and additional health care needs that we have addressed with case managers on site.
Every day new patients arrive and patients no longer needing support are discharged. Although the number of patients staying in the hotel at any given time fluctuates, we expect the need to grow as COVID-19 testing becomes available in shelters.
Since opening the first Callen-Lorde hotel, we recognized the need to provide care tailored for homeless youth populations infected with the COVID-19. In collaboration with The Door and The Ali Forney Center and other organizations, a youth hotel was opened on Monday, May 4th.
At this time, all Callen-Lorde hotel patients must be referred through the City of New York. If you know someone who would benefit from hotel care, please reach out to our case management team. We are grateful for all of the support and donations from the Amazon Wish List that we have received!
COVID-19 ANTIBODY TESTING
COVID-19 antibody tests are used to identify whether individuals have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in their blood. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system in response to an infection. If someone has antibodies to the virus, it means that the person was previously infected. It can take up to 21 days after an infection for a person to develop antibodies. If a person is acutely sick, the antibody test will be negative, so this test should not be used to diagnose an active infection. For active infections, a nasal swab test is used to detect the virus.
We don’t yet know whether someone who has recovered from the infection and is now antibody positive is resistant to reinfection with COVID-19. The hope is that antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 will protect against re-infection. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 24 stated: There is no current evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.
Antibody testing can help us understand exposure to COVID-19, especially on a population level. These tests provide information on disease prevalence, help us to understand how many people have had asymptomatic infection, and provide a better estimate of the proportion that has experienced severe illness. It also helps to identify individuals who can donate “convalescent plasma” to those who are critically ill or to aid ongoing research efforts.
The presence of antibodies should not change your behavior because we do not know whether this protects against reinfection. You should still practice social distancing, use the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE), and stay home from work if you have fever or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (fever greater than or equal to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell). Do not assume that testing positive for antibodies makes you immune from contracting the virus.
At this time, Callen-Lorde is not providing antibody testing. If it is proven that antibodies provide protection against reinfection, then this would be a reason to move ahead with antibody testing using accurate, reliable, and valid tests. We will also be following advice and recommendations from the CDC and our state and city health departments.
This is a new disease, and there is much we still don’t know. But we do know that the safety precautions we have in place, including social distancing and proper use of PPE, go a long way toward keeping everyone safe.
Callen-Lorde is proud to partner with Between Bridges for 2020Solidarity, a project aimed at helping cultural and music venues, community projects, independent spaces and publications that are existentially threatened by the current crisis.
For every donation of $50, you can select a poster of your choice. Click here to view the posters and make a gift.
VIRTUAL RAINBOW RUN
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Callen-Lorde’s annual Rainbow Run went virtual. On May 9th through 16th, 118 participants completed a 5K/10K walk or run, many of whom dressed up in colorful attire. This virtual event allowed people in New York City and across the country to participate any time during the week and in the convenience of their own neighborhoods while practicing social distancing. Collectively, over $40,000 was raised to support Callen-Lorde’s life-saving work of providing quality health care to LGBTQ+ folks and our COVID-19 response. We are so thankful for everyone who participated and donated!
PRIDE 2.0: THE REBOOT
Join us on Monday, June 1st to kickoff Pride Month with PRIDE 2.0: The Reboot! PRIDE 2.0 is a virtual pride celebration hosted by comedian and King of Showbiz, Murray Hill, featuring performances by Rimarkable, Untitled Queen, Merrie Cherry, and Horrorchata – all to support to life-saving work of Callen-Lorde.
Celebrate queer community while raising funds to support LGBTQ+ health and wellness at PRIDE 2.0!
RSVP: Text CLPRIDE to 76278
WINTER NEWSLETTER – JAN 2020
New year, new newsletter! In this issue, we’re talking about updates on Callen-Lorde Brooklyn, The Keith Haring Nurse Practitioner Fellowship in LGBTQ+ Health, our first ever career fair, and a bill ensuring access to PEP for minors. And, don’t forget to save the date for our upcoming special events!
CONSTRUCTION COMPLETE AT CALLEN-LORDE BROOKLYN
We are thrilled to announce that construction at Callen-Lorde Brooklyn is complete! Over the past two years, we have transformed what was once a parking garage into a state-of-the-art health clinic, where (when fully operational) 14,000 patients will make a projected 62,000 visits each year. Located at 40 Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn, the space will allow us to nearly double our capacity with an additional 25,000 square feet of space to provide critically needed healthcare services to LGBTQ New Yorkers, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the uninsured.
Callen-Lorde Brooklyn will utilize a pod model which includes integrated primary medical care, behavioral health services, and an onsite pharmacy. This method of coordinated care aims to reduce costs and improve health outcomes. Our Brooklyn location will also house The Keith Haring Nurse Practitioner Postgraduate Fellowship in LGBTQ+ Health – the first of its kind in the nation. The Haring Fellowship will address the lack of LGBTQ training for clinical providers at the national, state, and local level.
Although our doors are slated to open on April 1, we are slowly preparing the site with state-of-the-art equipment and furniture, all while securing the necessary regularity licensure to be able to provide healthcare on site. Once open, current patients from our Chelsea clinic will have an opportunity to transfer care to Brooklyn. This will relieve pressure at our existing sites that are filled to capacity. We anticipate accepting new patients for Brooklyn in July.
A Brooklyn needs assessment, which surveyed existing patients and LGBTQ Brooklynites, confirmed the necessity of our expansion. In all, 82.4% of prospective patients said that it is somewhat or extremely important for them to be able to discuss LGBTQ-specific healthcare concerns with their doctor, but only 31% reported that they are currently highly comfortable doing so. Some 10% reported not being out to their doctor, and an additional 12% report that their doctor knew nothing or almost nothing about LGBTQ-specific healthcare. We are listening to our communities and looking forward to opening in Brooklyn to meet these needs. Continue to follow our Callen-Lorde Brooklyn efforts here.
Our annual celebration in honor of our Women’s Health Program, Spring Fever honors those who have positively impacted LBTQ women in New York and beyond. Join us on March 19 as we honor Raquel Willis and Carri Lyon! Learn more at callen-lorde.org/springfever.
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR THE KEITH HARING NURSE PRACTITIONER FELLOWSHIP
On Friday, January 17, we opened the application for The Keith Haring Nurse Practitioner Postgraduate Fellowship in LGBTQ+ Health! Callen-Lorde is proud to offer the first LGBTQ+ health fellowship available to nurse practitioners. Applications are open now through March 31. The inaugural class of Haring Fellows will start in September 2020.
Through this fellowship, we strive to create a premier LGBTQ+ healthcare training program that enhances knowledge, increases compassion, and brings awareness of the healthcare barriers that LGBTQ+ communities face. With this training and experience, our fellows will cultivate their skills and expertise to help close the gap in health disparities for LGBTQ+ people.
Director of the Haring Fellowship, Catherine Trossello, said, “I am so excited for this fellowship! Many healthcare providers are entering the clinical setting without understanding how to best serve LGBTQ+ communities and people living with HIV. Being able to work with nurse practitioners dedicated to spending a full 12 months learning how to best to serve these communities is an honor. This is a huge move toward improving care and access.“
Named in honor of visionary artist and HIV advocate Keith Haring, The Keith Haring Nurse Practitioner Postgraduate Fellowship in LGBTQ+ Health was made possible through The Keith Haring LGBTQ+ Health Equity Endowment, which was established at Callen-Lorde by The Keith Haring Foundation in 2019.
In a country where more than 11 million people identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, health education related to this patient population is surprisingly low. A 2011 study found that 56% of lesbian, gay, or bisexual respondents and 70% of transgender respondents had experienced discrimination in healthcare settings. Another study found that medical students receive an average of five hours of training in LGBTQ healthcare and that 74% of medical students receive less than two hours of training in transgender health. This lack of adequate training contributes to adverse patient experiences among LGBTQ healthcare consumers and often leads to the avoidance of healthcare institutions altogether.
Please join us in spreading the word about this opportunity! More information about the fellowship and the application can be found here. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with further questions.
Join us on Saturday, May 9 for the 4th annual Rainbow Run! A 5K/10K in picturesque Hudson River Park, the Rainbow Run promotes health and wellness while raising funds for the life-saving work of Callen-Lorde! Learn more at callen-lorde.org/rainbowrun.
BILL PASSED TO PROVIDE MINORS WITH PEP POST SEXUAL ASSAULT
Thanks to the tireless advocacy of the Ending the Epidemic Coalition, reproductive justice advocates, youth advocate allies, Senator Brad Hoylman, and Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes, New York State passed a bill that will enable a young person under 18 to consent to and access the full 28-day regimen of Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) after a sexual assault.
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a medication regimen that can stop an HIV infection after a possible exposure. PEP works if initiated within 72 hours of the possible exposure and is taken as directed by a medical provider for 28 consecutive days.
Previously, young people under 18 who were sexually assaulted and in dire need of PEP had to choose between seeking reimbursement from the Office of Victim Services, which requires parental consent, paying for PEP out of pocket for $600 to $1,000, or foregoing the full PEP treatment. This left many young survivors unable to access the medical care they needed to avoid contracting HIV, placing an already vulnerable population at greater risk. The additional barriers of accessing PEP were harsh, especially when compounded with the trauma of being assaulted.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the bill on December 18, 2019 after last minute concerns it would be vetoed due to the potential financial impact on the state. Advocacy from our communities brought the Governor back to the table to negotiate. The bill ultimately signed by the Governor included an amendment that will cap reimbursements to hospitals for specified services, but will not allow additional billing of the survivor for these services.
In 2017, over 20% of new HIV diagnoses in the US were among youth aged 13 to 24, and women under 19 are four times more likely to be sexually assault. Adolescents are disproportionately affected by both HIV and sexual assault, while LGBTQ youth carry the brunt of the burden in both instances. LGBTQ folks are also more likely to have estranged relationships with their parents, limiting their ability to apply for PEP reimbursements through the Office of Victim Services. This bill will impact many young people and is momentous in the continued fight to end the HIV epidemic.
If you or someone you know has possibly been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, come to Callen-Lorde’s walk-in HIV service hours in Chelsea Monday through Thursday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Friday from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm, and on Saturdays from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. Anyone can walk in for a PEP consultation. If Callen-Lorde is closed, go to your nearest emergency room. Learn more about PEP here.
Save the Date for The Brooklyn Ball Saturday, April 18 from 8pm-2am at Littlefield in Brooklyn! Presented by Untitled Queen, The Brooklyn Ball is an LGBTQIA+ charity evening of drag, music, magic, costume, dance, and performance, all to benefit Callen-Lorde. The costume theme for this year is Fairy Tale, so come as your favorite witch, knight, toadstool, apple, or princess. This event is community-centered, with tickets starting at $25. Tickets will be on sale next month. Follow @thebrooklynball on instagram for updates.
CALLEN-LORDE CAREER FAIR A SUCCESS!
On January 8, Callen-Lorde teamed up with Workforce 1 to host our first career fair. Over 160 people attended, and the quality and diversity of the candidates exceeded our expectations. Workforce 1, a city agency that prepares and connects qualified candidates to job opportunities, co-hosts career fairs regularly and boasted that this was the largest career fair they have been involved with.
The career fair was designed to prepare candidates for the job application process and to excite them about employment opportunities at Callen-Lorde. Participants first attended a 30-minute orientation about Callen-Lorde and the LGBTQ populations we serve. They then met a Workforce 1 counselor one-on-one to gain interview stills and resume advice. Afterwards, candidates interviewed with Callen-Lorde hiring managers based on the positions they were interested in.
We met with candidates interested in every position we had open and now have a pool of qualified applications that we can continue to call on as we post new positions and gear up to open Callen-Lorde Brooklyn. We have already hired multiple people interviewed at the career fair and are in the process of following up with many others.
One goal of this career fair was to elevate and employ LGBTQ community members and people of color to ensure a diverse staff that reflects our patient population. The majority of attendees self-identified as queer and represented diverse backgrounds. Additionally, people who attended the career fair now have access to the job placement resources Workforce 1 offers and to employment opportunities at city agencies.
Due to the success of the career fair, we are already thinking about hosting another! Learn about the current positions we are hiring for and the benefits we offer here.