New LGBTQ+ health clinic opens
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The LGBTQ+ community has a new nonprofit health clinic that opened its doors last week: the Identity Health Clinic Full Spectrum Health.
Clinic Director Tracey Weise recognizes the importance of this facility.
“A lot of folks in the LGBTQ community are underemployed or under insured and many don’t have the capacity to pay for health insurance,” she said.
The clinic recently conducted a needs assessment that gave them some objective information that this service is much needed.
“Not only are people still not disclosing to their providers that they’re LGBTQ, providers aren’t feeling competent and the community is largely carrying this disproportioned burden of chronic illness and mental health concerns and substance misuse because they’re needs aren’t getting addressed,” Weise said. “So we are here to both educate providers and the community, and also have an evidence based accepting place for people to go.”
Services the clinic offers include primary care, behavioral health, chronic illness management, care for diabetes and hypertension, psychotropic medication management as well as HIV prevention, and STI testing and treatment.
Puberty blocking with a contracted physician is also a service the clinic provides to preteens that are experiencing gender dysphoria, Weise said. All of the clinic’s providers are specifically trained in working with gender diverse individuals.
The clinic is getting calls every day from new clients and have already transferred over about 700 patients, Weise said, and not necessarily LGBTQ people.
“People who may have other intersecting identities or need their gender or sexual health addressed for whatever reason, and there’s a lot of shame around those things in the traditional medical model, so I think we offer sort of a different way for approaching health care,” she said.
A COVID-19 vaccine clinic is in the works with a partnership from the state, scheduled at the end of April. The Identity Clinic will be having an open house at 5:30 p.m. on April 29.
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