In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Healthcare Georgia Foundation has been shining a spotlight on organizations across Georgia that are working to raise awareness of mental health issues, provide services, and advocate for fair and equitable access to mental health care.
The Foundation’s final organization to be highlighted this month is The Equality Clinic of Augusta, and below you’ll find the contents of our recent interview with the group.
When was The Equality Clinic of Augusta founded?
Our organization was founded in 2014.
What is the mission of your organization? What are some of your goals?
An interprofessional endeavor dedicated to abolishing barriers to health care, serving the health needs of the underinsured LGBTQ community, and educating current and future providers on cooperative, compassionate patient care. Some of our goals include:
- Create an interprofessional, LGBTQ-focused space to provide compassionate healthcare and engender well-being in the CSRA LGBTQ community
- Provide those seeking gender transitioning therapy with the medically-necessary treatment they deserve
- Establish a referral network of culturally-competent providers in the CSRA
- Establish an interprofessional learning environment for students to learn how to maximize the skill sets associated with their profession and to promote cooperativity between health professionals
- Expose health students to the health needs and disparities in the LGBTQ community in order to foster cultural competence in future health care providers
What services does your organization provide?
The Equality Clinic is proud to provide free health care to our patients, including the following services:
- Primary care services for uninsured patients Gender transitioning support
- Rapid HIV screening in partnership with the Augusta University Ryan White Program
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV-1 prevention
- Free blood work with the generous support of Augusta University Medical Center
- Free clinical pathology tests
- Oral health screenings
- Mental health support
Which area(s) of Georgia do you service?
What is your fee structure for services provided?
We are a free clinic, so we provide care to patients who are both:
- Uninsured or under-insured
- Below 200% of the federal poverty level
Our target population within those parameters range across the spectrums of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. All are welcome to receive care in an open friendly environment.
What is the one thing you wish more people understood about mental health and mental health services? What is your hope for the future in terms of mental health access and care?
“My hope for the future of mental health care and access is that more people understand that mental health is indivisible from physical health. It impacts our everyday lives and many individuals, especially those in vulnerable communities, are affected by many systemic barriers that further impact mental health and wellbeing. Mental health care services are one opportunity to heal, but every interaction with health care services, and services overall is an opportunity to connect and practice trauma-informed care that is mindful of people’s backgrounds. While increasing specific mental health services, especially for vulnerable communities, is important, acknowledging the problematic history that the healthcare community has with vulnerable communities and rebuilding that trust in every setting is extremely important. Our hope for mental health access and care moving forward is that every encounter an individual has with the health care system, their mental wellbeing is addressed and the barriers impacting that wellbeing are given room to be discussed.” -Navya Ravoori, Medical Student Coordinator
How can individuals reach out to your organization to learn more about your work?
Check out our website: equalityclinicaugusta.squarespace.com
And check out our socials @equalityclinicaugusta!