Virginia's free clinics 'really struggling' in the face of growing hurdles

Anna Griswold was about 20 years old when she began looking for medical services. Certain she was not male, the gender she was assigned at birth, she was looking for both a therapist familiar with transgender issues and someone who could start her on the appropriate hormone therapy.  At the time, she could only find two providers in Richmond. She could afford neither. But then a friend introduced her to the Fan Free Clinic — now known as Health Brigade — where she could find a therapist, the hormones she needed and a community. She still goes there today.

“This place pretty much saved me,” Griswold, now 32, said of Health Brigade.

The transgender community is considered an underserved population, meaning available health services are few and far between. It is just one of the many underserved communities that seek care at the dozens of free clinics across Virginia, such as Health Brigade.

But the landscape for the free clinic is rapidly changing. The needs of the low-income populations they serve are becoming more demanding, and many, such as Health Brigade, see themselves as much more than clinics.  As far as Health Brigade Executive Director Karen Legato is concerned, treating patients in an exam room is just one part of the picture. The volunteer providers with the clinic also ensure their patients have adequate housing, clothing, access to food and transportation… To read the full article view link below:

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Richmond Times-Dispatch
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