Tagline: Until the Work Is Done
Equality California Launches Fresno Health Care Action Team
August 17, 2016 at 5:21 pm

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By: Estrella Lucero, Program Associate


On a sweltering July evening in Fresno, LGBT community members and healthcare professionals gathered to launch the Fresno Health Care Action Team (HCAT). The Fresno HCAT is one of three action teams currently organized by Equality California (other locations include San Bernardino and Bakersfield).  The HCATs provide a space for community representatives to identify and address local health care issues affecting the LGBT and undocumented communities.

The LGBT and undocumented populations face significant barriers to accessing quality, culturally-competent care. LGBT folks are less likely to have health insurance, often turn to risky health behaviors as a coping mechanism, and face discrimination in the clinical care setting, among other factors. Adults in the undocumented community often pay for health care services out of pocket and communities still lack substantial resources to enroll undocumented youth into Medi-Cal. In rural communities, folks must find the time and means to travel to health care providers.  Belonging to two or more minority groups only compounds barriers and results in negative health outcomes.

While Equality California serves as the primary HCAT convener, it is the local communities who are best able to articulate the distinct needs of the region. In discussing the healthcare needs of the LGBT and undocumented communities in Fresno, three main themes arose: 1) lack of culturally competent healthcare providers, 2) lack of availability of healthcare services, especially for the transgender community, and 3) insufficient accessibility to healthcare (financially, geographically, or otherwise).

Almost 20 individuals attended, including representatives from the local transgender education and advocacy group, Trans-E-motion; Fresno County Public Health; Community Medical Centers; Positive Life, an organization dedicated to empowering those living with HIV; and My LGBT Plus, a local LGBT resource organization.

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