APLA Health & Wellness Opens New Gleicher / Chen Health Center in South Los Ángeles, Offering Medical and Dental Care, PrEP Program, and More.
Photos by Derrick Shore
APLA Health & Wellness opened the brand-new Gleicher / Chen Health Center for the South Los Ángeles community October 1st. The center offers a range of free and low-cost medical, dental, and behavioral health services for the LGBT community.
The Gleicher / Chen Health Center, which is located on South La Brea Avenue in the Baldwin Hills Shopping Center complex, is open six days a week and features five exam rooms, four dental operatories, and three counseling rooms, as well as a lab, vitals room, and prevention services in an adjacent office suite. This marks the first time that APLA Health & Wellness will be providing primary medical care to patients, greatly expanding the services it offered in the space, which was previously known as the APLA Health & Wellness Center.
The much needed services the new health center offers include medical insurance enrollment assistance, medical and dental care, mental health and substance abuse counseling, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing and HIV specialty care, and the Pendleton /Goldman PrEP program, which provides counseling and management of HIV-negative patients who are eligible for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis—a medication that helps prevent HIV infection.
PrEP, in particular, is a highlight of the services being offered. While the medication has been controversial in some circles, APLA Health & Wellness notes that it is an important tool to use in conjunction with other HIV prevention methods in order to fight the rise in HIV infections that have been documented in younger gay and bisexual men over the last several years. HIV Specialist Christian Takayama, Medical Director Gifty-Maria Ntim, MD, MPH, and Clinical Advisor Raphael Landovitz, MD MSc, oversee the Pendleton / Goldman program, which encompasses doctor evaluations, case management, regular HIV testing, along with Truvada prescriptions for eligible HIV-negative patients. “The goal of the 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.
“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 adds. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and we’re pleased to finally have this wonderful space in which to do it.”
Wagner 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 Ángeles County and is a passionate advocate for eliminating health disparities and empowering patients from underserved communities.Vitero has worked with APLA Health & Wellness and AIDS Project Los Ángeles for over 10 years.
Serving more than 8,000 people each year, APLA Health & Wellness offers patients a variety of services throughout Los Ángeles County, with a specific focus on low-income gay and bisexual men of color and transgender individuals. APLA Health & Wellness is a federally qualified health center that includes the following locations: 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 is also part of APLA Health & Wellness and is located in South L.A.
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. (Hours are subject to change.) For additional information, please call (323) 329.9900 or visit aplahw.org.