WHC Celebrates One Year Anniversary
Unique model combines services of CIRCLE CARE Center (CCC), Triangle Community Center (TCC) and Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project (MFAP)
(NORWALK, CT - MAY 06, 2014) - When World Health Clinicians (WHC) opened its new doors at 618 West Avenue in Norwalk, CT in June of 2013, it began offering testing services, medical care and ongoing support through the various organizations that are housed under its one roof. CIRCLE CARE Center (CCC) and CIRCLE CARE Center Pharmacy provide medical, prescription and testing services to local, regional and national patients, predominantly people in under-served communities (MSM, HIV-positive, people with STIs, chronic HCV and anyone regardless of their ability to pay) and the LGBTQ Community. The combined services of Triangle Community Center (TCC) and Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project (MFAP) provide support groups, social services and additional support services to local residents.
The model of World Health Clinicians is based off of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, though it is unique in that it has combined the services of local organizations in an effort to expand its resources to clients. The organization also spearheaded various global initiatives such as HIV Equal (www.HIVequal.org) and BEAT AIDS Project Zimbabwe (http://beat.worldhealthclinicians.org) to help bring HIV testing and medical care to communities that need it the most.
The vision of World Health Clinicians has always been to unite the community,” said Dr. Gary Blick, WHC Chief Medical Officer. “Our goals, locally, are to reach out to those individuals who are HIV-positive, but who remain untested and unaware of their status. But, as we continue to grow and accomplish that work, we’ve also sought to expand our mission. Through our HIV Equal testing and anti-stigma campaign, we’re not only reaching those people in our local community, but also people in communities across the U.S.; where in the last six months alone we’ve tested more than 400 people for HIV. We’re also working to expand our messaging and important work across the globe. Through BEAT AIDS Project Zimbabwe and HIV Equal Global we’re providing medical care to those most in need while continually sharing our message that knowing one’s HIV status is one of the greatest forms of prevention.”
Each organization under the WHC provides specific services to residents of the immediate vicinity, while also catering to residents of the Tri-State area, New England and some as far away as Tampa or Palm Springs. Nearly 40% of the patients who receive care from CIRCLE CARE Center require medical treatment specific to HIV/AIDS.
“We’re very proud of the services that we’ve been able to offer patients of CIRCLE CARE Center as well as the wide array of support groups, social services, counseling and other programs made available by TCC and MFAP,” said Scott Gretz, Executive Director of CIRCLE CARE Center. “We have a unique model that’s truly transformed the local LGBTQ Community. Our HIV treatment programs, counseling, primary care, STI testing and prevention services, along with our focus on clinical trials have all established our medical facility as a leader in the community.”
When Triangle Community Center was founded 24 years ago, it provided a safe space for people within the LGBTQ Community to meet and discuss topics related to various groups. And until 2013, TCC was a strictly volunteer organization. Today, in its new location at World Health Clinicians, it has two full-time staff members and is able to provide existing groups with more meeting space as well as to help form new groups that provide support to under-served demographics such as LGBT seniors, LGBT families and LGBT young adults.
“The great thing about bringing TCC, MFAP and CCC under the same roof is being able to provide social services to the entire LGBT Community,” said Anthony Crisci, Executive Director of Triangle Community Center. “We are now able to direct people to any of our available groups, or send them along to MFAP or CCC for appropriate care. The best part is all they have to do is walk down the hall.”
Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project (MFAP) was founded in 1987 in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. It has been a direct and indirect service provider and advocate for those affected by HIV/AIDS through its facilitation of support services, representation, support groups and resource development for prevention and risk-reduction education. The organization’s social services are now better utilized, for patients can immediately be directed to Circle Care Center for testing, care or treatment.
“The chief and most valuable player in the HIV service picture is certainly the medical provider. Medication, doctors signatures, quick diagnosis and prompt information is the reason,” said Stuart Lane, Executive Director of MFAP. “Prior to April of 2013, Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project was providing valuable services to people with HIV/AIDS but we were without a medical provider. We could refer clients to many providers, including Circle Medical, but it took too long and we were slow; like an old car. The new MFAP is like a Ferrari, quick to react with immediate response and a lot of power. Clients are the beneficiaries and we could not be more pleased.”
World Health Clinicians, along with CIRCLE CARE Center, Triangle Community Center and Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project, continues to maintain its high level of health, community and outreach services to the LGBTQ Community in and around Norwalk and the Tri-State Area. It has also developed various other initiatives such as Beat AIDS Project Zimbabwe (BAPZ) and HIV Equal (www.HIVequal.org), while also championing legislative initiatives such as the “Aid in Dying Act” and the “Cure for AIDS Act.” The organization has also recently generated media interest in its clinical trial work.
For more information about World Health Clinicians and CIRCLE CARE Center, or for a list of services, please visit www.worldhealthclinicians.org. For more information about Triangle Community Center, visit www.ctgay.org, and for Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project, please visit www.mfap.com.
ABOUT WORLD HEALTH CLINICIANS (WHC)
World Health Clinicians, Inc. (WHC) is a U.S.-based non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization founded in September 2010 by U.S. HIV/AIDS specialists Dr. Gary Blick and Executive Director Scott Gretz to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases in the developed and developing world.
ABOUT CIRCLE CARE CENTER (CCC)
CIRCLE CARE Center seeks to EMPOWER our community to lead healthy, full, rewarding lives without limits based on sexual orientation and gender identity through: Education to reduce LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS stigma and to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; Medical and psychosocial support; Pharmacy access for all regardless of ability to pay; Outreach throughout the state of Connecticut to unite all members of the LGBTQ community; Welcoming of all members of the LGBTQ community regardless of sexual identity, gender identity, financial ability, and/or psychosocial or behavioral issues; Equality for all regardless of sexual identity or gender identity, and Research opportunities to understand our community’s needs and activities and to further the fields of HIV/AIDS, STD and chronic Hepatitis medicine.
ABOUT TRIANGLE COMMUNITY CENTER (TCC)
Triangle Community Center (TCC) is Fairfield County’s leading provider of LGBT programming and resources to nurture growth and connection within the community. It is the only organization focused exclusively on the LGBTQ community in Fairfield County, which is a community at much greater risk of isolation, discrimination, suicide, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS than its peers. TCC was founded in 1990 and serves more than 100 clients who attend programs and services on a weekly basis. More than 1,000 members of the Fairfield County community attend a TCC program or event at least once each year.
ABOUT MID-FAIRFIELD AIDS PROJECT (MFAP)
The Mid-Fairfield AIDS Projects (MFAP) was founded in 1987 by individuals from a variety of local organizations in cooperation with the Norwalk Health Department and Norwalk Hospital as an initial response to HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, MFAP has held firm to its Mission Statement: To act as a direct and indirect service provider and advocate for all those affected by HIV/AIDS; To enhance their quality of life by developing and fostering the necessary resources to attain this goal; To prevent the spread of HIV disease through: education, The MFAP “Safer Sex Initiative,” grant-funded prevention programs and collaborations with other providers that lead to the successful completion of our stated goals. To develop and operate housing initiatives for the homeless disabled and establish housing as the foundation to increase client competency, autonomy and better health.