Updated: Mar 22, 2021
While RI has among the highest rates of health insurance coverage in the nation, there is still a disparity in access to care and healthcare utilization for the RI LGBTQ population. RI has among the highest percentage of LGBTQ individuals, yet this population disproportionately experiences poor health outcomes for many chronic and infectious diseases, and mental health. Discrimination and stigma, along with inequitable access to culturally competent care services, cause many LGBTQ individuals not to seek care, to receive inadequate care, or to travel out of Rhode Island to seek care.
Located at 7 Central Street in Providence, Open Door Health (ODH) is a program of the RI Public Health Institute (RIPHI) that aims to be an LGBTQ Center of Excellence, providing high-quality, culturally congruent healthcare to RI’s LGBTQ population. ODH’s work is driven by RIPHI’s approach to integrating efforts to advance community health, reduce health disparities, develop innovative programs, and train the public health workforce.
ODH will begin by offering express HIV, sexually transmitted disease (STD), and hepatitis C (HCV) screening, given the disproportionate burden among this community. This express screening model is informed by the Dean Street Express Clinic, an LGBTQ health center in London. Patients will receive timely preventative health screenings and follow-up. Patients who require follow up will receive priority appointment slots, as will members of priority populations with greater disease burden. ODH will also provide an important gateway into primary care services and substance use treatment for LGBTQ populations.
RIPHI’s team has a strong background in program development, evaluation, and providing clinical services for LGBTQ clients. Both Dr. Amy Nunn, RIPHI’s Executive Director, and Dr. Philip Chan, RIPHI’s Medical Director, have local and national reputations for their novel work with the LGBTQ community. They also have extensive experience conducting research and training health professionals, two services ODH will offer with the goal of improving LGBTQ health.
For more info about Open Door Health, visit odhpvd.org. For more info about the Rhode Island Public Health Institute, visit riphi.org.