Cleveland, OH,
17
June
2022
|
08:45 AM
America/New_York

MetroHealth Pride Network Celebrates 15 Years

Pride Network Providers

Fifteen years ago, The MetroHealth System launched a clinic designed to offer the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex community a safe, affirming place to receive care. What started as a single clinic on Cleveland’s near West Side has since grown to a full network of providers throughout Northeast Ohio committed to the same goal: to treat LGBTQI+ individuals with the humanity they deserve.

"They have a place to go where they're going to be accepted," says Douglas Van Auken, MD, one of the founders of the Pride Network, the first of its kind in Northeast Ohio and among the first in the country.

"They're not going to be confronted with people that use their wrong name or treat them more like a disease than a person,” Van Auken says. “Universally, they will hear something like, 'I'm so glad you're here, and your life is important.'”

Today, the MetroHealth Pride Network includes nine primary care providers at various MetroHealth locations throughout Greater Cleveland and offers telemedicine services for individuals farther away. Since 2019, the Pride Network has also hosted a clinic at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland in the Gordon Square neighborhood.

These providers offer general primary care for all ages. Care includes chronic disease management, family planning and pregnancy care, affirming care for LGBTQ+ kids and the children of LGBTQI+ parents, hormone therapy, testing for sexual transmitted infections, HIV prevention and care, immunizations and other services.

“With our network, the majority of our providers are part of the LGBT community and understand the issues so many of these individuals face,” says Mark McLoney, MD, Medical Director, MetroHealth Pride Network. “People should expect their medical providers to listen to them, make them feel comfortable and encourage them to be their genuine selves – and I’m confident that’s what our team here does.”

Historically, stigma and discrimination have deterred LGBTQI+ individuals from seeking medical care – something MetroHealth’s providers are adamant about addressing. A 2020 national survey, for example, reported that 15% of LGBTQ Americans reported postponing or avoiding medical treatment due to discrimination, including nearly 3 in 10 transgender individuals.

“It really is a privilege to be invited into their lives, and I take that responsibility very seriously in terms of my obligations to them as their provider,” says Meghan Fibbi, DO, one of the Pride Network’s Family Medicine physicians.

Even beyond the Pride Network, MetroHealth is committed to ensuring questions and concerns rooted in historical disparities – like those faced by the LGBTQI+ community – are met by its caregivers with compassion, patience and flexibility.

The Pride Network works closely with specialties across the system, including behavioral health, plastic surgery, gynecology and speech therapy, to ensure individuals receive the gender-affirming care they deserve. In fact, this fall, MetroHealth will begin to offer vaginoplasty and phalloplasty surgeries.

“As a doctor, one of the most important things to do is listen and bear witness to our patients’ lived experiences,” says Vikas Gampa, MD, one of the Pride Network’s newest primary care physicians. “We are here to provide non-judgmental and inclusive care.”

To learn more about The MetroHealth Pride Network, visit metrohealth.org/pride.

About The MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.

The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, three-quarters of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center. 

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.

Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.

The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.

For more information, visit metrohealth.org.