Welcome to the May issue of OUT & About, Callen-Lorde’s Community Health Education newsletter! This bimonthly newsletter highlights the external impact of the many conferences, trainings, workshops, and outreach events in which Callen-Lorde staff members are involved. In this issue, you’ll read about events from March and April. During this time, Callen-Lorde staff members provided health education, outreach and trainings spanning from New York to Florida, California, Texas, the UK and beyond! Read on for more…
BronxCareIn March, Julie Novas, Mental Health Coordinator, presented at the 2015 Social Worker Recognition Awards at Bronx Lebanon Hospital.  This event took place in honor of National Social Worker Month.  Julie presented to social workers who work at Bronx Lebanon providing direct services to patientsOut. This event took place in honor of National Social Worker Month. Julie presented to social workers who work at Bronx Lebanon providing direct services to patients. The topic of Julie’s presentation was “Self-Care: Social Workers at Peace.” After the event, she stated, “The topic is one that is near and dear to my heart. I’m glad to serve in this way and to get the word out about HOTT and C-L.”
On April 20 and 21, Asa Radix, MD, Senior Director of Research & Education presented at the 21st annual conference of the British HIV Association (BHIVA.)  This event took place in Brighton, England. BHIVA is a national advisory body that deals with all aspects of HIV care. At the conference, Asa spoke about the HIV continuum of care. In a nutshell, the HIV continuum of care is a healthcare model which outlines sequential steps that people living with HIV can go through when receiving care. These steps begin with receiving an HIV test and end with achieving the goal of viral suppression. By tracking patients’ progress (or lack thereof) along the HIV continuum of care, we are able to see where improvements are needed.
VogueIn April, Tim Tobias, HOTT YMSM Project Coordinator, was a presenter at the 2nd annual New England Queer People of Color Conference (NEQPOCC.)  This event took place in Providence, Rhode Island, and was hosted by the Queer Alliance at Brown University.  Tim presented along with Tarik Sprigs St. Clair, Steven Martinez, and Martez Smith Lanvin. The team of four gave a presentation called “The Ballroom Institute,” which explored the history and culture of LGBTQ people of color in the house and ball scene. The four also provided information about HIV prevention efforts that have been made within this unique community. In addition, they provided an interactive lesson on the art of vogue.
On March 18, Nathan Levitt, Community Outreach & Education Nurse, provided a presentation at Community Healthcare Network (CHN.)  The topic of the presentation was transgender sensitivity, and it was geared toward staff who work in CHN’s call center.  Former Callen-Lordeian Lissa Southerland, who now works at CHN as a Center Director, is the person who reached out to Callen-Lorde in order to arrange this training.
rentUJeff Huyett, FNP, taught at class through Rent University, also known as Rent U.  Rent U is a series of workshops designed to help men in the sex industry to stay safe and make informed choices.  All classes are offered free of charge.  Jeff presented “Ass Class: Anal Health 101.” This class covered basic anal anatomy, STIs that can affect the anus, anal hygiene, and the prevention of fissures and hemorrhoids. Jeff also discussed ways to explore anal penetration that are safe and pleasurable.
On April 1, Uri Belkind, Clinical Director, HOTT, provided a presentation at grand rounds at Albany Medical Center. He spoke to the Department of Pediatrics on the topic of “Providing Competent LGBTQ Care.”  The goal of the presentation was to provide clinicians with a better understanding of LGBTQ youth and the barriers that they often face when attempting to access healthcare.  Uri also spoke about strategies for providing LGBTQ- and youth-competent healthcare, as well as best practices for wellness and prevention in this population.  As per Uri, the presentation “was very well attended and received.”
On March 27, Jules Stracquadanio, RN, provided a presentation at the Metropolitan Community Church of New York (MCCNY), an LGBTQ church.  She spoke to a group of girls and young women between the ages of 13 and 24.  Half of the attendees were clients from Sylvia’s Place, an emergency shelter for LGBTQ youth. The other half were clients from SMART Youth, an organization for young people who are either HIV-positive or “HIV-affected,” meaning that they have a close friend or family member who is HIV-positive.Jules spoke about sexual health for girls and young women, transgender and cisgender alike. She shared information about safer sex, STIs, reproductive health, what to expect from a visit to a gynecologist, and how to access sexual healthcare. In addition, she answered the attendees’ many questions about sexuality and sexual health.
TrainingOn March 19, Nathan Levitt, Community Outreach & Education Nurse, presented at Services for the Underserved (SUS.)  SUS is a nonprofit agency which supports individuals and families who are affected by mental illness, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and HIV/AIDS. Many of the people who receive services at SUS also have histories of homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, and unemployment.Nathan provided a presentation about LGBTQ sensitivity. After the presentation, we received the following feedback: “Nathan delivered an excellent training! We are actually in the process of making all our intake documents inclusive, and updating clinic policies, so training was timely. Staff starting discussing ideas this afternoon about literature/posters, etc. for the waiting room and therapy rooms. All good!”
AsaRadixMDIn April, Asa Radix, MD travelled to Oakland, California, where he presented at the National Transgender Health Summit.  This conference was organized by the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health (CoE), a program of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF.) Asa provided three presentations at the conference. His topics were HIV, PrEP, and bone health. Recently, the CoE offered Asa a position on their medical advisory board (which he gladly accepted.) We congratulate Asa on this prestigious achievement!
NWGHAADIn March, Callen-Lorde observed National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD.)  This day was created in order to highlight the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls, both cisgender and transgender.  Although HIV/AIDS is frequently perceived as a disease that only targets MSM, the truth is that one in four people living with HIV in the United States is female.  Only half of these women are engaged in HIV care, and of those, less than half have the virus under control.  It is also important to note that African American, Latina, and transgender women are disproportionately affected by HIV. In observation of NWGHAAD, Miasha Forbes, MMI Coordinator along with Gia Love and Nora Douglas, Prevention & Outreach Providers, tabled in the first floor lobby on March 9.  Then, on March 10, with oversight from Makada Bernard, Prevention & Outreach Manager, they presented an evening program for patients and staff in the boardroom.  The program included a spoken word performance by artist/activist Linda La Montanez and a screening of the documentary “We are Empowered.”  This documentary, which focuses on five women who are living with HIV, was produced by the organization Greater than AIDS in collaboration with musician Alicia Keys.The program also included a round-table discussion.  Attendees shared their reactions to the film and discussed the many issues that can prevent women from protecting themselves against HIV.  Conversations like these are a vital component of HIV prevention.  As Makada put it, “To help engage and reach women in the clinic and offer ways to be empowered… is to change the course of this disease though everyday actions.”
On March 6, Nathan Levitt, Community Outreach & Education Nurse, was a panelist at an event called “Trans Health Care from the Inside Out.”  This event took place at Columbia University and was moderated by Laura Erickson-Schroth, Mental Health Provider.  Nathan was joined by psychiatrist Jack Pula as well as psychotherapist Laura A. Jacobs, a member of Callen-Lorde’s Board of Directors.  All three panelists were contributors to the landmark health compendium Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, which was edited by Laura Erickson-Schroth.
On March 18, Finn Brigham, Director of Care Coordination, provided a presentation at a homeless shelter operated by the Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS.)  This presentation was the last in a series of trainings for four local shelters.  As you may recall, Callen-Lorde was commissioned to provide transgender sensitivity trainings for four women’s shelters that had been selected to be safe havens for homeless trans women.  We hope that the trainings have made a significant impact on the four shelters, so that they will be genuinely safe spaces for all.
In March and April, Callen-Lorde provided a series of three trainings for Lutheran Family Health Centers: Sunset Terrace. This health center is located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and it is operated by Lutheran HealthCare.For the first presentation, Nathan Levitt spoke to the entire staff and provided an overview of LGBTQ sensitivity, with a focus on meeting the needs of transgender patients.  For the second presentation, Asa Radix, MD spoke to the medical providers and went into detail about medical treatment for trans patients, hormone therapy, and screenings for LGBTQ patients.  For the third presentation, Nathan returned and spoke with the front desk staff as well as those who work in medical records and billing.  He spoke to them about how to establish an LGBTQ-sensitive environment, how to create an LGBTQ-inclusive intake form, and more.
On April 30, Asa Radix, MD travelled to Dallas, TX, and presented at the 9th annualAmerican Conference for the Treatment of HIV (ACTHIV.)  This conference is geared at frontline providers of care to HIV-positive patients and those who are considered at risk.  Asa’s topic was PrEP.
On April 1, Rachel Bookbinder, Community Health Education Coordinator, took part in a community meeting at Gouverneur Health, a health center on the Lower East Side.  Gouverneur Health organized the meeting in order to gain new insights into meeting the needs of their adolescent male patients.  Young males typically have low healthcare usage rates, along with elevated health risk factors, especially if they are a part of the LGBTQ population. The meeting’s attendees included representatives from the Young Men’s Health Initiative, Grand Street Settlement, The Center, theHealth and Hospitals Corporation, and more.  All attendees contributed strategies that have worked at their organizations in order to create a welcoming, nonjudgmental environment, and to keep young men engaged in health care.  Gouverneur Health is now using this input in order to restructure their services for adolescent males.
epathIn March, Asa Radix, MD travelled to Ghent, Belgium, where she presented at the Transgender Healthcare in Europe conference.  This event was organized by the European Professional Association for Transgender Health (EPATH.) At the conference, Asa co-presented with Maddie Deutsch from the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health (CoE.)  Together, they spoke about the informed consent model of care, which we use here at Callen-Lorde. Under this model of care, if a patient wishes to initiate gender-affirming hormone therapy, we provide the patient with in-depth information about what to expect from the treatment. We start hormone therapy soon after, providing that the patient has received basic medical clearance and given us written consent.This model of care stands in stark contrast to the way in which hormone therapy is typically provided in Europe. European transgender patients often need to jump through many hoops in order to “prove” their trans status. They may also be forced to have gender-related surgeries even if the only treatment they wish to receive is hormone therapy. It is our hope that as we spread the word about the informed consent model, we will greatly improve the healthcare experiences and general well-being of trans patients in other parts of the world.
Recently, Jeremy Lopez, Dental Hygienist, was invited to join the scholarship granting committee of the Hispanic Dental Association Foundation (HDAF.)  The HDAF is a non-profit organization comprised of oral health professionals and students. They are dedicated to promoting oral health and eliminating oral health disparities in the Latino community. In addition, they provide advocacy for Latino oral health professionals across the United States.As a member of the scholarship granting committee, Jeremy will help to review hundreds of applications for scholarships. The applicants are all Latino students in the fields of dentistry and dental hygiene, and the scholarships are valued at up to $4,000. We applaud Jeremy for making a difference in the lives of these students and their future dental patients.
In March and April, Callen-Lorde offered three patient education classes. All classes were coordinated by Sarah Enteen, Health Education Specialist, and offered free of charge.

  • On March 16, Juliet Widoff, MD provided an information session about alternative insemination.
  • On March 19, Aimee Uchytil, Senior RN and Michael Egarr, RN provided an HIV 101 class.
  • On April 1, Naya Rashad, LPN and Jatesha Madden-Wilson, Nursing Supervisor, led a self-injection workshop for transgender patients who are undergoing hormone therapy.
On March 17, Asa Radix presented at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) on the topic of electronic health records.  This presentation was coordinated by the New York LGBT Initiative, a program that CUMC established in 2013.  According to CUMC, the vision of the Initiative is “to draw upon the world-class clinical, research, and educational resources of the renowned medical center to insure the health and well-being of every member of the LGBT community and their loved ones.”  The Initiative works to make an impact on many areas of CUMC, including research, medical and mental health services, training of students and practitioners, and development of outreach strategies.
That’s a wrap for this edition of Out and About! Thank you to Lara Comstock and Remy Lourenco for assistance with editing, and to all who contributed information.The next issue of Out and About will be released in July and will cover events from May and June. Please e-mail Rachel Bookbinder if you have any news to share about trainings, conferences, community events, etc. Thank you!We leave you with some words of wisdom from Audre Lorde, one of our namesakes: “You cannot use someone else’s fire. You can only use your own. And in order to use it, you must first be willing to believe that you have it.”
If you are involved with an agency and are interested in a training, please visit us on the web
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center | 356 West 18th St. New York, NY 10011 | 212-271-7200
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