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City's Callen-Lorde LGBT health center to open clinic in South Bronx

$650,000 Obamacare grant helps fund Callen-Lorde clinic at Bronx's BOOM!Health.

The new Boom!Health center in South Bronx, which opened Friday in former furnitureGoogleMap, Callen-Lorde (inset)

The city'spremiereLGBT health center will open a clinic in the South Bronx in an effort to keep up with the growing medical needs of critically-underserved gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers.

The Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, based in Chelsea, is expected to open its clinic in the Melrose section in January or soon after.

|<image-caption><p><span style="color: rgb(61, 60, 64)">Outside the South Bronx health center: Jose D|Courtesy: Callen-Lorde

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It's funded, in part, by a $650,000 grant from monies earmarked for community clinics by President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, the center said Monday.

The Callen-Lorde clinic will be in a 3,500-square-foot suite inBOOM!Health’s five-story, 35,000-square-foot nonprofit Wellness Center at 3144 3rd Ave., which celebrated its opening, Friday at the site of the old Brook House Furniture building.

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“We are one of several LGBTQ-focused community health centers nationwide being recognized as an integral part of the health care system that will ensure culturally and clinically competent health care is accessible to all," said Wendy Stark, Callen-Lorde’s Executive Director.

More than a thousand of Callen-Lorde's patients in Manhattan live in the Bronx. Clinic construction starts next month.

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The clinic will offer a safe space for LGBT youth, primary care and behavioral health services, and a special program dedicated to serving people who reside in shelters, officials said. There will be six exam rooms.

Stark said that when the clinic is fully operational, it expects to serve nearly 4,000 people annually.

WHY IS THIS PROJECT SO IMPORTANT?
LGBT people have poorer health outcomes than their heterosexual counterparts. Stigma and discrimination are inextricably linked to poorer health. We are on a path to equality in the realm of policy, but the lived experience of our communities, especially communities of color and people of transgender experience, does not reflect those advancesThe inclusion of Callen-Lorde and several other LGBT-focused health centers around the country in this wave of Affordable Care Act funding is the culmination of a decades-long process of having our communities’ health needs recognized and supported on a federal level.

WHY THE BRONX?
Callen-Lorde cannot meet the current demand for its services in its two Manhattan locations and has been looking for opportunities to expand without putting the organization at financial risk. We were approached by BOOM!Health, an organization already serving the Bronx, to work with them to fill an LGBTQ community need for clinically and culturally competent healthcare. The opportunity to work in partnership presented a perfect path toward critically needed expansion.

WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC NEEDS OF THE LGBT COMMUNITY?
The South Bronx has some of the highest rates of diabetes, asthma, HIV and hepatitis C in New York City and in the nation. There is also a critical shortage of behavioral health services in the South Bronx, and residents face high rates of substance abuse, depression and suicide. Callen-Lorde currently serves over 1,200 people who reside in the Bronx in its Manhattan locations.

(Editor's note: A print version of this article indicated the LGBT clinic had opened Friday. The clinic will be co-located at BOOM!Health's major new medical facility, which celebrated it's partial opening Friday. The Callen-Lorde clinic is expected in January.)


John A. Oswald is editor-at-large at Metro and can be found on Twitter@nyc_oz.
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