I trained at the Emory University Physician Assistant Program, where I served as the diversity coordinator and the National AAPA representative. I remain a member of both the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants and American Association of Physician Assistants.
Prior to moving to Atlanta, I lived in New York City where I volunteered with the Men’s Sexual Health Project and at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in Chelsea, both of which are involved in LGBT-focused healthcare.
My primary passion is healthcare for LGBT individuals, where my interests include sexual health, trans-health, HIV treatment/prevention, and hormone replacement therapy. I have been with T. Douglas Gurley MD since January 2016 and am proud to be a part of a team whose focus is on providing quality, compassionate healthcare for our community.
Allow me to share my story of what I have experienced firsthand and how I have grown to understand the unique challenges in healthcare that we face as LGBT. Too many times friends and patients have told me how they were treated by a doctor or nurse who “did not understand them” or who judged them based on their sexual practices. I have friends and patients who have shared with me how they were too afraid or embarrassed to get an HIV test in their small towns back in Alabama, West Virginia or North Carolina – or even here in Atlanta – due to fear of being shamed. I have heard the stories from my HIV positive friends and patients who tell me they were too fearful to reveal their status to their medical provider in fear of being judged or treated differently.
I Have Heard Your Stories
I share similar experiences growing up in a devout Christian family in a small town in southern West Virginia. I have experienced the implicit bias and felt the thickness of stigma as I have walked into a room. I often think back on my journey and wonder how I survived growing up in a place where I was “different” and felt that I didn’t belong.
The truth is that we are different and we deserve a medical provider who understands that a gay man, a lesbian woman, or a trans man or woman have different healthcare needs than a straight or cisgender person. We all deserve better. You deserve a medical provider who appreciates that there are specific challenges the LGBT community face when it comes to our health. You deserve a provider who understands and relates to you, a provider who keeps your best interests in mind.
I see my role in being your primary care provider as a special opportunity to address these challenges. I see my role as being much more than your medical provider: it is a way for me to give back to our community and to help others who have experienced similar injustices. It is my hope that through our interactions and time spent together that I am able to empower you through education, health prevention, and by tackling stigma straight-on.
My office is a safe space and judgment-free zone, where patients will find that talking with me is easy and comfortable. This allows us to talk openly and candidly about your questions and concerns regarding your health. This is important!
Lastly, there are two critical elements that I believe are often overlooked in medicine: good bedside manner and good “customer service”. This means that I will actively listen to you, thoroughly answer your questions and address your concerns, and will be responsive in a prompt, timely manner. I make it my aim to practice compassion and empathy in each and every interaction. There will be times where I will be a willing ear to listen and other times I will act as your advocate, and, perhaps, most importantly, there will be times I will challenge you, make you think, and hopefully inspire you to take positive steps to better your health.
I look forward to working together with you.