Fall Newsletter

In this issue:
Monkeypox (MPV) Update
Voter Registration Day
COVID & Flu Season
Community Health Awards – Meet the Honorees
The Gay Blood Collection – Tools for a Bloody Change
GAPP Summit – Save the Date
Take Action – Protect Against Discrimination in Health Care
HOTT Gender-Affirming Clothes Drive
Staff Spotlight – Meet Sime Monell
Media Roundup



Since the Monkeypox (MPV) outbreak began in early June, Callen-Lorde has been at the forefront of the response, providing tests, treatment, and vaccines, while advocating in coalition with community partners to urge the federal government to improve their response. On July 12th, we sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling for a more equitable distribution of JYNNEOS™ vaccine. Days later, we co-sponsored a rally in Foley Square with community partners to demand access to testing, vaccines, and treatment. 

On July 14, Callen-Lorde held a virtual panel featuring Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, alongside our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Peter Meacher; Senior Director of Research and Education, Dr. Asa Radix; and Clinical Director of Sexual Health, Dr. Marcus Sandling. Nearly 400 community members were in attendance, contributing dozens of questions for the panelists. 

Callen-Lorde’s experts were sought after by national and local press to share what we knew about MPV and how our communities could stay safe (check out the media roundup below for some of the resulting articles). We also mobilized our clinical expertise to share accurate information through our social media channels and our in-clinic digital signage about symptoms, transmission, vaccines and treatment with our communities as it was becoming available. 

At the same time, cases were sharply rising, and New York was quickly becoming the epicenter of the outbreak. Our call center was flooded with concerned patients, and our triage and nursing teams were inundated with screenings and tests. 

As one of the only research study sites for the investigational drug TPOXX, our research team pivoted entirely to the cumbersome work of enrolling patients, gathering consents, and spending hours on the documentation necessary to help get the medication to patients in desperate need. By early August, Callen-Lorde and our team of researchers were responsible for one in five TPOXX prescriptions city wide. To date, we’ve successfully prescribed TPOXX to over 160 patients. 

Providing vaccines proved to be another challenge. Due to the limited supply, vaccines rolled out slowly and were plagued by the same inefficiencies that came with the early COVID vaccine distribution. After demands for equity and transparency, the NYC Department of Health began to partner with community-based organizations – like Callen-Lorde – to create a referral system for patients to access vaccines. To ensure equity within our referral process, we implemented a model of patient prioritization using health information to ensure those most at risk for poor health outcomes were offered vaccine appointments. As supply increased, Callen-Lorde began to offer vaccines at our own health centers to current patients who are eligible under city guidelines. 

As we look towards the fall, we are beginning to provide second doses while continuing to provide outreach and education to ensure equitable access to the vaccine. Keep tabs on callen-lorde.org/monkeypox for updates. 


Voting time is almost here, and National Voter Registration Day is on September 20! By exercising our right to vote in local elections, we can make our individual and collective voices heard on issues that impact our communities. Callen-Lorde is a nonpartisan organization, and we encourage every eligible person to register and vote!  

Important dates: 

Voter registration deadline:  

  • In-person: Oct. 14, 2022 
  • By mail: postmarked by Oct. 14, 2022 
  • Online: Oct. 14, 2022 

When to vote:  

  • Early voting: Oct. 29, 2022 – Nov. 6, 2022 
  • General election day: November 8, 2022 

How to register:  

If you have a valid ID from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, you can register online here: Register to Vote (ny.gov)  


Pick up a Voter Registration Form at Callen-Lorde, complete it, and mail it yourself.  

Not sure if you’re registered?  

Look it up: https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/  or call 1-866-868-3692 

Attention TGNB community!  

You are eligible to vote if you have changed your name. However, you must re-register to vote if you have changed your name since the last time you voted.   

You are eligible to vote if you have changed your gender marker. If you need to re-register, you will select M or F on the voter registration form. No documentation required. [When you go to vote you may be asked for ID if you are a first-time voter in New York.]   

Who’s on the general election ballot? 

  • United States House of Representatives 
  • Governor 
  • Lieutenant Governor 
  • State Senate 
  • State Assembly 

Go to your sample ballot: 


Where do I vote? 

Find your polling location: https://findmypollsite.vote.nyc/ 


As we head into flu season, we are planning for the ways in which COVID-19 may impact this year’s influenza. Both viruses present with similar symptoms and are transmitted by contact and airborne respiratory droplets, making it hard for people to discern between the two without testing.  

Last year’s flu season was very mild as many people practiced physical distancing and healthy hygiene by wearing masks and washing their hands frequently as we faced the Omicron variant. However, as mask mandates are being lifted in places like the subway and with less stringent social distancing restrictions, health officials are fearing a resurgence and possible “twindemic” of COVID-19 and the flu. This is why it is even more important to get your flu shot. 

Vaccines remain the best way to ensure you and your loved ones are protected. Lower your risk of both COVID-19 and the flu by continuing to wear face masks indoors and practicing physical distancing when possible. Even if you’re vaccinated, breakthrough COVID-19 and flu infections are possible. In addition to getting vaccinated against COVID and the flu, it is important to stay home if you are feeling sick and get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms, such as cough, fever, body aches, sore throat, loss of smell, or taste.  

You can get your COVID-19 booster and flu shot at the same time. Visit vaccinefinder.nyc.gov to schedule your vaccine appointment or call (212) 271-7200 to be seen at Callen-Lorde. 


On Monday, November 14, Callen-Lorde will hold our 22nd annual Community Health Awards. This year’s theme is Deeply Rooted, Holding Strong, and it is in that spirit that we will honor the leaders, trailblazers, and visionaries in LGBTQ+ health and wellness whose shoulders we stand on, while celebrating Callen-Lorde’s unwavering role in our communities.  

We are thrilled to bestow honors upon retired Callen-Lorde provider, Dr. Daniel Bowers; long-time community activist and champion for trans communities, LaLa B. Holston-Zannell; Emergency Medical Physician and ABC News Medical Contributor, Dr. Darien Sutton-Ramsey; and Global Head of LGBT+ Affairs at JP Morgan Chase, Brad Baumol. Click here to learn more about each of our honorees, and visit callen-lorde.org/cha to purchase sponsorships or learn more – early bird tickets are on sale now through 5pm on October 7!  


At the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1983, federal legislation was introduced that placed a lifetime ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood. That law would stay on the books unchanged, until in 2015, the FDA revised the lifetime ban to prohibit donations only from men who had had sex with another man in the preceding twelve months. In 2020, at the height of another pandemic and amid a national blood shortage amounting to a crisis, the ban was further reduced from one year to three months. And now, in 2022, we are calling for the ban to be eliminated – again. 

Callen-Lorde is teaming up with independent creative company Mother New York and artist Stuart Semple for ‘The Gay Blood Collection’ – a comeback on the 2018 campaign urging the FDA to remove the ban altogether. ‘The Gay Blood Collection’ features inks and paints made with trace amounts of the blood of gay Mother employees to be used in “any act of protest to #unbangayblood—from paintings and graffiti to letters to the FDA”.  

Mother will also be partnering with LGBTQ+ notables who will each create their own pieces with the new collection. Each of these items will be auctioned off on Mother Goods. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Callen-Lorde. 


Join us for the Gender Affirming Perioperative Practices (GAPP) Summit on Tuesday, November 15th – a virtual conference to discuss perioperative strategies aimed at improving patient experience with gender affirming surgeries. This virtual conference invites care teams from across the country to come together and discuss best practices around preparing patients for surgery. 

Learn about Callen-Lorde’s successes in supporting patients and hear from others on innovative ways to improve this process for all! 

Click here to pre-register – panelists and agenda coming soon! 


The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a proposed rule that will make discrimination in health care and health insurance settings illegal, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

We  are joining LGBTQ+ advocates across the country in supporting the proposed ruling by HHS, and we need YOU to join us! 

How Can You Help: 

Submit a comment in favor of the proposed rule and share why you support it. If you are comfortable, you could share a story of a time when you were treated poorly by a healthcare provider and how that impacted you. You can also talk about why affirming health care is so important. It’s YOUR story. It takes 2 minutes. Do it today, because we only have a few weeks to voice our opinion and make an impact! 

https://lgbtactionlink.org/submit-your-comment. Official deadline for comments is October 3, 2022. 


Protect trans students! It’s back-to-school season and the Health Outreach to Teens (HOTT) Program is seeking community support to provide gender-affirming wear for TGNB youth. Items include binders, tucking underwear, gaffs, and more. Go to callen-lorde.org/hottwishlist to purchase an item and have it sent directly to our HOTT program! Thank you for supporting NYC youth and empowering TGNB students to live their truth. 


In this section, we’ll be shining a light on our staff! From the call center to our front desk, from facilities to IT, providers, nurses, and more, our talented and dedicated staff are the heart of our mission. Meet Sime Monell, Nursing Operations Coordinator! 

Hi Sime! So tell us, what attracted you to this career path?
Taking care of my grandmother was the beginning of my journey in health care. She taught me selflessness and gave me the passion to want to do more for others. 

What do you love most about working at Callen-Lorde?  

I LOVE being able to serve my community! This is the first time in almost 19 years of health care that I get to do work that is not only rewarding, but matters to the most overlooked community.  

Why are you passionate about LGBTQ+ health?  

Because this is MY community! There aren’t many places for us to receive competent healthcare without stigma or judgment. Some of us are still searching for a safe place to receive care. My passion comes from being a patient, who is a? lesbian, and having to explain why I don’t require a pregnancy test! We need care without the need to educate providers on who or why we are, who we are.  

What is a book, TV show, podcast, or movie you would recommend and why? 
My top movies are – The Neverending Story and Labyrinth. Pretty much ANYTHING 80’s!  

What are you listening to right now?  

Anita Baker radio on Pandora. My absolute favorite radio! You’ll hear everything from the QUEEN Anita herself to Luther Vandross.  

IWhat is a fun fact about you?  

I’m OBSESSED with Raccoons! I LOVE them!! They’re the cutest little creatures EVER! My dream is to have a farm where I can raise them. 

Interested in a career at Callen-Lorde? Check out our Careers page! 

Media Roundup: 

Crain’s: Community health exec on why monkeypox messaging matters 

Gothamist: NYC enlists community groups to help close monkeypox vaccine gaps for Black and brown residents  

TransLash Podcast: Monkeypox and the Trans Community 

Insider: 13 of the most common monkeypox vaccine side effects, from a ‘bleb’ to a hard lump 

USA Today: You have a lump on your arm weeks after monkeypox vaccine. Why it’s a ‘super common’ side effect. 

PBS: What are monkeypox symptoms? Here’s what you need to know 

New York Magazine: There Is a Monkeypox Antiviral. But Try Getting It. 

VICE: Sex Workers Struggle to Get Vaccinated Against Monkeypox