Pride Community Clinic Opens Its Doors
A new local clinic fills the gap in healthcare access for underinsured and uninsured members of
the San Antonio LGBTQ community
Students in orange scrubs and white coats scurry between clinic rooms in preparation for the first patient of the night while faculty rehearse the clinic protocol with new trainees. The first patient arrives at the Alamo Area Resource Center’s Health Equity Clinic building, located downtown. The Health Equity Clinic serves insured LGBTQ patients by day, but one evening a month it houses the Pride Community Clinic. After students greet the patient and confirm their appointment, they are welcomed and given a brief run-down on the nature of the clinic.
“The Pride Community Clinic is a Student-Faculty Collaborative Practice meant to provide access to healthcare for self-identified members of the LGBTQ community”, states one student leader. The name, Student-Faculty Collaborative Practice (SFCP), is a reference to a program within the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics (CMHE) of UT Health San Antonio. Students in medicine and nursing, under the constant supervision of faculty, work together to provide care free of charge to underserved LGBTQ residents of Bexar County. For years, other SFCPs such as the San Antonio Refugee Clinic have been lauded for their success at directly serving at-risk communities such as refugees, people experiencing homelessness, and women recovering from addiction.
The idea to begin an LGBTQ-focused clinic began years ago when students at the Long School of Medicine within UTHSA saw a need in the local LGBTQ community. As in most cities, a substantial percentage of homeless youth in San Antonio identify themselves as LGBTQ. In addition, local access to hormone replacement therapy for uninsured or underinsured transgender individuals is very limited. To further quantify the need for an LGBTQ-oriented clinic, medical students conducted a community needs assessment in the form of a survey, discovering that most participants were not satisfied with their healthcare coverage and many were not adequately tested for STIs. Further, most LGBTQ people did not share their sexual histories with their PCP and the vast majority stated that they would be more likely to go to an openly LGBTQ- friendly healthcare provider.
Around the same time, the Alamo Area Resource Center (AARC), an organization devoted to providing resources for LGBTQ individuals and individuals at-risk for HIV, opened a new Health Equity Clinic for insured LGBTQ patients. When UT Health San Antonio students started the search for a clinic space, the leaders at AARC graciously offered their clinic space to house the new Pride Community Clinic. Through the hard work of the CMHE, its medical and nursing student leaders, and leaders at AARC, a collaboration was born. The Pride Community Clinic (PCC) will provide essential primary care to the local community, including sexually transmitted infection screenings, hormone replacement therapy for transgender patients, and HIV Pre- Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Linkages to vital mental health, sexual health, and substance abuse services are also available.
The PCC currently operates one Wednesday evening per month between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm and potential patients must make an appointment over the phone to secure one of the limited time slots. LGBTQ patients can be assured that all volunteers within the clinic are trained to be sensitive to LGBTQ issues and anyone 18 years of age or older can schedule an appointment. Those interested in the PCC can find out more on the AARC website: https://www.aarcsa.com/pride-community-clinic/