HeaL: A Clinic To Help Doctors Better Serve The LGBTQ+ Community

Jul 26, 2019

In early July, a downtown Fresno non-profit called Common Space teamed up with local health organizations to run a mobile clinic designed specifically for LGBTQ+ individuals – a community that’s at elevated risk for HIV, mental health problems and suicide. Patients could gain access to specialized care such as hormone replacement therapy and training for how to self-administer injections, but providers also offered HIV testing and basic preventive screenings. The goal was to reduce disparities between the LGBTQ+ community and other population groups, and to train providers to be more attuned to the needs of LGBTQ+ individuals.

UCSF Fresno emergency physician Kenny Banh runs the mobile HeaL Clinic, and ob/gyn Julie Nicole, who wears her pronouns on her namebadge, is one of the Valley's few physicians to perform gender reassignment surgery.
Credit Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

To learn how providers are working to better serve this vulnerable community, we sat down with two doctors who ran the so-called HeaL Clinic: Kenny Banh, an emergency room physician at UCSF Fresno and Community Regional Medical Center, and Julie Nicole, a private practice ob/gyn who’s one of the few San Joaquin Valley providers to perform gender reassignment surgery.