Westside Family Medicine (219 Driggs Avenue) recently opened a new branch in Greenpoint. As a primary care clinic, it serves the needs of all locals, providing annual physicals, vaccinations, gynecological care, and more. But a particular focus of the clinic will be on the health of the LGBTQ community, thanks to James Lauren, a nurse practitioner at Westside. Lauren worked first as an RN before he was awarded the inaugural Keith Haring Nurse Practitioner Postgraduate Fellowship at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center.
“The idea of the fellowship is to train primary care providers for this type of care, and then send us out into the world to make sure there are places for LGBTQ people to be cared for besides ‘specialty’ clinics,” they told Greenpointers.
Even in a city as open minded as New York, trans individuals face particular challenges when trying to access healthcare.
“There’s this thing we call ‘trans broken arm syndrome’ where no matter what your issue is, people blame the fact that you’re trans,” said Lauren. “Like you’ll go in for arm pain and the provider stops your hormones, as if that’s the problem. Sore throat? Stop the hormones. Slightly elevated cholesterol? Must be because you’re trans. So basically the way I provide care is by looking at the WHOLE person.”
Studies show several barriers to trans individuals accessing quality affirming care. Trans people are generally more likely to be uninsured, frequently mistreated by medical providers, and our increasingly hostile and discriminatory political climate detrimentally affects the mental well-being of the community. The impact of gender-affirming health care — which can include services such as hormone therapy and surgical procedures — cannot be overstated.
While Westside Family Medicine is still finalizing its hours, the clinic will generally be open from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.