So many of you know this Friday, September 16, is the Lesbian Community Care Project’s annual Garden of Eve fundraiser – this year at Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton…I understand the space is going to be quite fantastic and fun! You still have time to get your tickets if you have not already done so here. OK, that was my shameless promo as the co-chair of LCCP’s Advisory Board.
Of course, the question most of us have when asked to donate to events like this is “why?” More importantly, and perhaps less obvious is “what’s in it for me?” I had the same thoughts when I was asked to join the Advisory Board for LCCP. I wanted to write a blog to correspond with this week’s event and wondered what I could tell my 50+ LBT friends that you might not already know. So I decided to ask some questions of Howard Brown’s Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Magda Houlberg, MD:
Dr. Houlberg, I understand you are a geriatrician. What does that mean?
”A Geriatrician is a physician that specializes in older adults and has extra training in this area. It’s usually an internal medicine or family practice physician who has completed a fellowship and board exam in geriatric medicine. The extra training is in areas that are specific to older adults – which might be special issues we see more often in aging, determining what is normal aging and what is not, and also including training in long term care settings, diseases associated with aging, pain management and palliative care, and caregiver support.”
“It’s unique (because) there is a focus on interdisciplinary medicine and approaches that look more holistically. It’s more about health promotion and maintaining and improving function than curative approaches, so it’s very “results” based. The goal is to reach the goals of the patient as opposed to being purely diagnostic. Traditional medical approach assumes that the cause of a symptom is from one or two things, but as we know most processes related to aging are multifactorial so it’s a different approach than standard primary care.”
A friend told me that we are lucky to have you at Howard Brown. Why is that?
“There are about 300 geriatricians trained annually, so there are not a lot of us!”
Before I came to the Advisory Board, I thought LCCP/HB was just paps, breast exams and HIV/AIDS. But you are much more than that, correct?
”We are looking at the care we provide as providing care through the lifecycle. (Therefore) we offer complete comprehensive primary care services which include preventative services such as screening for cervical and breast cancer, screening for cholesterol and diabetes – but we (also) manage chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension and anything else you might think of! We have a vibrant behavioral health program with wonderful providers and support groups. We have the ThinC program which offers informed consent access to hormone treatment for trans identified clients and a range of other services as well. (see ThinC on our website which outlines this amazing program) We offer many services that I think folks may not be aware of.”
Often older members of our community do not get medical care because they are afraid of the discrimination found in traditional medical facilities and practices. Yet, going into a “gay-identified” facility can be just as scary. How can they take advantage of your understanding staff?
“Our Triad office is a site that Howard Brown Health Center provides care at and the beauty of it is that it has the feel of a standard medical practice so many of our clients don’t identify it as “gay identified”. Indeed it serves a whole range of patients from all sorts of backgrounds so that experience for people can be very liberating and the providers are excellent. You can call to specifically make an appointment at Triad by calling 773-296-8400.”
Do you accept Medicare? Other insurances? What if I am uninsured?
“We accept almost all types of medical insurance including Medicare and Medicaid and are on most HMO plans as well – all you have to do is call our main number 773-388-1600 and ask for an appointment. If you are uninsured, we have free access to breast and cervical cancer screening and mammograms through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Programs and can access care by calling our main number.”
Look…I know this started out as my shameless attempt to get you to buy that Garden of Eve ticket…and it still is…but recently I lost my favorite Primary Care doc and I have been wondering about going someplace else…I wanted to know more about what LCCP and Howard Brown had to offer…and thought I’d share the info. Stay tuned. More to come in future blogs!
It’s your health, your life, your choices! Be well.