In recognition of Pride Month, Mount Saint Mary College’s Desmond Center for Community Engagement and Wellness hosted a discussion on the health disparities of the LGBTQ community in Orange County on Wednesday, June 21.
Part of the Desmond Center’s ongoing Health Equity Talks series, the presentation was the first to be held in the college’s newly renovated Guzman Hall. It was co-sponsored by Cross Valley Health and Medicine and the Orange County Human Rights Commission.
The event was presented by Cross Valley Health and Medicine’s co-founder and Mount alumnus Christian Plaza, MBA MSN, FNP-C, PMHNP. Plaza and his husband, Cross Valley Health co-founder Dr. Paul I. Saladino, M.D., established the mission of providing care for diverse Hudson Valley communities.
With a focus on preventative medicine, medical services, and engagement with the LGBTQ community in terms of medical care, Plaza explained how the audience can implement the information from the presentation, focusing on experiences he’s had in both his professional and personal life.
“Even though we may identify ourselves as LGBTQ+, we don’t necessarily have the same priorities, the same values, or the same belief systems,” Plaza said. “Even though we may be one voice, we still have so much work to do in our communities. And so, we cannot make an assumption and just say that even though we’re still part of this community, that we are just all this, or all that, but that we vary.”
Taking all of this into account, Plaza noted that there is a variety of terminology and individual experiences that healthcare providers should be aware of, acknowledging that terminology they may have learned in the past may no longer be valid today.
He added, “There’s so many subpopulations to work with, and really being on top of their care and understanding, you can really provide the best care possible.”
The Mount’s Desmond Center shares the goal of improving public health outcomes. The center provides health, wellness, educational, and professional services for underserved individuals and families in the local area, including the uninsured. It also offers educational workshops, family counseling services, fitness checks, immunizations, professional development events, and more for the local community.