We’re wrapping up a busy summer of outreach in the Central Valley to ensure everyone in our community has access to quality, affordable healthcare. That includes the 250,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants who are part of our community.
Before a healthcare provider can offer someone competent medical care, though, they have to understand who they are and the special concerns and needs they have. That’s why Equality California Institute (EQCAI) has been conducting free cultural competency trainings across the Central Valley to create an inclusive healthcare environment for LGBT people, with emphasis on the LGBT undocumented community.
Clínica Sierra Vista, a network of 35 Central Valley clinics that serve low and moderate income residents, has worked with EQCAI all summer to conduct cultural competency trainings in Fresno and Bakersfield. On September 10th, EQCAI staff members Doug Greco and Justin Flores trained the network’s clinic managers and HIV/STD program staff in Fresno. The sessions included basic LGBT terms and concepts, the education about the intersection of the LGBT and undocumented communities, and how to help LGBT patients feel comfortable about discussing their sexual orientation or gender identity.
That same night, EQCAI co-hosted a town hall with Gay Central Valley at The Painted Table in Fresno’s Tower District. EQCAI led a conversation about the factors that combine to leave the LGBT undocumented community doubly disadvantaged in healthcare. Gay Central Valley’s Chris Jarvis and Kayleia Southard spoke about local issues facing the LGBT community. Attendees included leaders from LGBT organizations, immigration organizations, and healthcare providers. Nineteen attendees signed up to participate in a newly-formed Healthcare Action Team to address healthcare disparities affecting the LGBT and undocumented communities.
In Bakersfield, EQCAI’s Doug and Justin teamed up with José Granados of the Bakersfield Gay and Lesbian Center to train 40 staffers of Clinica Sierra Vista’s Adolescent Family Services, including the organization’s social workers, program managers, and health educators. EQCAI has begun expanding is cultural competency training beyond clinics to include mental health organizations and social service agencies.
Advancing the health and well-being of everyone in our community is very much a part of Equality California’s mission, and that includes the quarter million LGBT Californians who are undocumented. At Equality California, immigrant rights are LGBT rights.