AMSA/GLMA LGBT Health Achievement Award

The founders of Georgia Regents University’s student-run Equality Clinic have been named the 2015 recipients of the American Medical Student Association/Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Achievement Award.

The award, which provides national recognition to medical students who make significant and innovative contributions to the advancement of LGBT health, will be presented at the AMSA National Convention today through March 1 in Washington, D.C.

The Equality Clinic, which is operated by students and supervised by faculty, became the first clinic in the Augusta area to target lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients when it opened in fall 2014. The free, twice-monthly clinic offers primary care services in a culturally competent environment that without judgment or discrimination. While the clinic primarily focuses on LGBT populations, it is open to anyone whose income falls below the 200 percent poverty level and who is uninsured or underinsured.

Recent studies have shown that more than half of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender patients have been refused care, blamed for their health status, physically or verbally abused by a provider, or refused to be touched by medical staff. The Equality Clinic opened to help address and eradicate those barriers.

Student founders include second-year Medical College of Georgia students Lauren Titus, Kyle Friez, Michelle Cohen, Kevin Robertson, Charlotte Ball, and Caleb King; fourth-year medical student, Justin Neisler; and Nicole Mayberry, a first-year physician assistant student in the GRU College of Allied Health Sciences.

Other MCG faculty and staff who have been instrumental in the clinic’s opening and operation, also will be recognized, including Dr. David Kriegel, Associate Professor of Family Medicine who serves as the clinic’s Medical Director; Dr. Bruce LeClair, Associate Professor of Family Medicine; Dr. Lara Stepleman, Professor of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, who is in charge of the mental health services provided in the clinic; and Alexis L. Rossi, Director of Diversity, Training, and Evaluation, who serves as the clinic’s adviser.

The Equality Clinic serves an average of nearly 30 patients each month, some of them from as far away as Charleston, S.C.