Case Study:

A Leader in LGBTQ+ Healthcare

Carl Gaines shares on the meaning of his board service with Callen-Lorde, a New York City-based Community Health Center.



For me, it has been most meaningful to give back to an organization that was really there for me when I needed help myself. When I came to New York, I had plenty of enthusiasm, friends, and hope but what I didn’t have was health insurance. Knowing that I had high quality healthcare at Callen-Lorde, no matter how much money I happened to have in those early days, allowed me to stabilize myself and establish a career. So the time I’ve spent this past year active in board service there has meant a lot.


Black Leaders and Their Impact on Communities

Black leaders are already having that impact in their communities. I’ve learned from many others, primarily my father. What they’ve taught me is to ask a lot of questions about things I’m interested in and to not be afraid to jump in if there is an opportunity to help. I’ve also learned that everyone has something to bring to the table. You don’t have to be the loudest, most aggressive person. That’s what I wish someone had told me earlier on—when it comes to service, everyone has something to offer.


Elevating the Work

Callen-Lorde’s mission is to provide high-quality healthcare targeted to New York’s LGBTQ+ community, regardless of ability to pay. They do this in an environment that is judgment free, which is incredibly important. Because I’m also a patient there, I’ve had the ability to watch this in action. It is moving to see the care and respect with which clients are treated, especially those who are historically mistreated, endangered, or taken advantage of outside Callen-Lorde’s walls. It’s a safe haven.

About Callen-Lorde

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center provides sensitive, quality health care and related services targeted to New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities — in all their diversity — regardless of ability to pay. To further this mission, Callen-Lorde promotes health education and wellness, and advocates for LGBTQ health issues.  Callen-Lorde is the global leader in LGBTQ healthcare. Since the days of Stonewall, we have been transforming lives in LGBTQ communities through excellent comprehensive care, provided free of judgment and regardless of ability to pay. In addition, we are continuously pioneering research, advocacy, and education to drive positive change around the world, because we believe healthcare is a human right.

Contributing Authors:

This story was developed from an interview between BoardLeader Carl Gaines and Annie Baierl, Marketing and Communications Lead at Cause Strategy Partners

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