For Immediate Release
Credit: APLA Health & Wellness
(Los Angeles, CA; September 29, 2014)—APLA Health & Wellness announces the opening of its new Gleicher / Chen Health Center in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Baldwin Hills.
The expanded and renovated health center, named in recognition of a leadership gift from Board Member Howard Gleicher and Damon Chen, provides much needed free and low-cost services to the community, with a specific focus on low-income gay and bisexual men and transgender individuals. These services include:
The 6,700-square-foot Gleicher / Chen Health Center includes five exam rooms, four dental operatories with digital X-ray capabilities, laboratory, patient vitals station, counseling rooms, as well as administrative space for staff. Prevention services will be located in an adjacent office within the shopping center.
“The fact that we can provide the LGBT community primary medical, dental, and behavioral health services all under one roof is truly fantastic,” APLA Health & Wellness COO Vallerie D. Wagner says. “It’s an exciting next step for us, and an important moment for many in this part of Los Angeles, which has long been chronically and critically underserved.”
One of the highlights of the new services Gleicher / Chen Health Center offers is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, management and counseling through the Pendleton / Goldman PrEP Program, named for donors Brian Pendleton and Chad Goldman. HIV Specialist Christian Takayama, Medical Director Gifty-Maria Ntim, MD, MPH, and Clinical Advisor Raphael Landovitz, MD MSc, oversee the program, which encompasses doctor evaluations, case management, and regular HIV testing, along with Truvada prescriptions for eligible HIV-negative patients. “The goal of the Pendleton / Goldman PrEP Program is to provide education, information, and access to an important tool in the fight against HIV,” says Landovitz, an infectious disease and HIV clinician whose primary research is in HIV prevention, particularly the use of PrEP, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and microbicides.
APLA Health & Wellness Chief Operating Officer Vallerie D. Wagner, M.S., is in charge of day-to-day operations of the Gleicher / Chen Health Center. Joining her are Dr. Ntim and Dental Director Steven Vitero, D.D.S. Ntim most recently worked as a primary care physician in the Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County and is a passionate advocate for eliminating health disparities and empowering patients from underserved communities. Vitero has worked with APLA Health & Wellness and APLA for over 10 years. In addition to overseeing dental staff at the new health center, he is in charge of the Wilshire Dental Clinic, S. Mark Taper Center Dental Clinic, as well as the APLA Health & Wellness mobile dental unit.
The Gleicher / Chen Health Center is located at 3743 S. La Brea Ave. in the Baldwin Hills Shopping Center. Medical service hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Dental services are available Mondays 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Tuesday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. For additional information, please call 323.329.9900 or visit aplahw.org.
This project is funded in part by L.A. Care Health Plan and will benefit low-income and uninsured residents of Los Angeles County.
APLA Health & Wellness (APLAHW) provides primary medical and oral health care, behavioral health services, HIV testing, PrEP counseling and management of eligible clients, STD screening/treatment, and health education and HIV-prevention services, with a specific focus on low-income gay and bisexual men of color and transgender individuals living in Los Angeles County. APLAHW is a federally qualified health center that includes: the Gleicher / Chen Health Center in South Los Angeles; the Wilshire Dental Clinic downtown; Behavioral Health Services at the David Geffen Center in Mid-City; and a mobile dental facility. The S. Mark Taper Foundation Dental Clinic in South Los Angeles is also part of APLAHW. APLAHW serves more than 8,000 people each year. For more information, please visit aplahw.org.