December 2, 2019

First Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Training in LGBTQ+ Health Receives $2.5 Million

Stethoscope on surface with rainbow flag attached

By Chaunie Brusie

In a substantial move that is moving modern-day healthcare forward, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center--the first LGBTQ+ centric healthcare center and a leader in HIV and transgender care--has announced the Keith Haring Nurse Practitioner Postgraduate Fellowship in LGBTQ+ Health. The fellowship is the first-ever program of its kind in the United States. 

The fellowship, geared towards new or recent family or geriatric Nurse Practitioner graduates, will offer postgraduate specialty LGBTQ+ training for providers. To help bring this crucial and pioneering program into existence, the Keith Haring LGBTQ+ Health Equity Endowment, established at Callen-Lorde by the Keith Haring Foundation in 2019, has donated $2.5 million to fund it. The donation marks the largest private gift ever made to Callen-Lorde. 

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Why This Fellowship is Important

Unfortunately, the hard reality is that there is a problematic gap in healthcare for the LGBTQ+ population. Not only is the LGBTQ+ population at a higher risk for health issues such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and depression, but they also have less access to high-quality care, thanks to lingering stigmas, lack of awareness, and misperceptions of healthcare providers. 

Because of the risks facing the population, and the lack of healthcare resources available to both the LGBTQ+ community and providers serving them, organizations such as the Institute of Medicine, National Institute of Health, and the American Medical Association have also recently issued calls for increased LGBTQ+ healthcare awareness. According to Callen-Lorde, the fellowship will not only begin the first wave of bringing forth LGBTQ+ trained providers, but it will also serve as a resource for other organizations to build their own population-specific programs. 

“Keith Haring was a visionary in the fight against HIV/AIDS, raising awareness, challenging stigma, and engaging hearts and souls through his art as a person living with HIV,” explained Wendy Stark, Executive Director of Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in a press release. “The Keith Haring Foundation continues his legacy, and this landmark grant to Callen-Lorde will significantly impact culturally competent health care access for LGBTQ people for years to come.”

What the Fellowship Will Do

The fellowship will have its physical home base in a brand-new site--set to open in 2020--at Callen-Lorde in Brooklyn, NY. With the addition, the Callen-Lorde facility will almost double its capacity, allowing access to serve the LGBTQ+ population of New York. Some of the primary care focuses fellows will be trained on include HIV and STI prevention and treatment, anal health, gynecological care for sexual minority women and people of trans experience, transgender health (including hormone therapy, pre- and post-surgery evaluation), and alternative insemination and parenting options.

As the fellowship page explains, the goals of the program are to:

  • Increase the number of LGBTQ+ sensitive primary care providers
  • Increase access to LGBTQ+ sensitive healthcare 
  • Propel organizational change for healthcare systems with LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming care
  • Empower health providers with confidence and increase workplace retention
  • Develop leadership qualities

The fellowship aims to ultimately produce LGBTQ+ trained providers who will:

  • Provide high-quality primary care
  • Work on quality improvement, research, or intervention plans with Callen-Lorde
  • Perform an evaluation and sensitivity program at an outside facility on LGBTQ+ inclusivity 
  • Adequately see 15-16 patients per day 

How the Fellowship Works

The fellowship will be a full-time 12-month program with both precepted and independent sessions, and specialty rotations and didactic portions. The design will follow a preceptor model, and all fellows will be considered employees of Callen-Lorde, with benefits, PTO and a competitive salary.

The fellowship itself is based in New York City but is open to any Nurse Practitioner across the country who would like to apply. Although the fellowship is geared towards new NP graduates, Callen-Lorde notes that any healthcare provider interested in becoming a specialist in LGBTQ+ healthcare should apply. You can follow the fellowship page for updates concerning application information. 

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