At this time of year, our Community Health Educators (CHEs) would usually be gearing up to do outreach at Twin Cities Pride. With the festivities moved online this year due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the team won’t be out tabling this weekend, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be working hard to make high-quality healthcare accessible to all who need it, including our LGBTQIA+ community members, many of whom face barriers to accessing the healthcare services they need.
“Pride has always been an event I look forward to,” says Jeremi Thomas, a CHE based at our Fremont Clinic site whose work focuses on sexual health.
“As a health educator, it’s rare when all the communities [we work with] are together in one place,” he explains. But at Pride, a CHE can expect to talk to people of many ages, genders, sexual orientations, and racial and ethnic backgrounds over the course of the weekend. “We have fun, we meet new people and spread the word about being safe and sexually healthy. This year, Pride will be missed.”
LGBTQIA+ people experience significant health disparities, particularly with mental health, but also with accessing supportive and affirming care more generally. At Neighborhood HealthSource, addressing health disparities in our communities is at the heart of our mission as an organization. Our educators and providers work hard every day– not just Pride weekend, or Pride month– to make sure supportive and compassionate healthcare and education is available for everyone.
For CHEs, that work takes many forms. They host weekly walk-in hours for low-cost/free STI testing, do outreach to connect people with screenings for diseases such as breast and cervical cancer, and offer comprehensive sexual health education for patients of all gender identities and sexual orientations. CHEs also screen for mental health and substance abuse issues, working closely with our behavioral health team to make sure all aspects of health are addressed.
To make an appointment with any of our educators or providers, give us a call at 612-588-9411.