“The Gateway” Newsletter – March 2017

MEET OUR BOARD MEMBER: Se-Se Yennes, Cardinal Health

When Se-Se Yennes moved to Columbus, Ohio in 2010, she was eager to continue her over 15 years of supporting causes aimed at helping people affected by HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ community. “I looked for an organization with the mission and values that were important to me in providing programs, services, and care to these often-underserved communities.” As luck would have it, there was an opening on the Equitas Health Board of Trustees (then AIDS Resource Center Ohio) and her employer, Cardinal Health, made her aware of the opportunity. “Cardinal Health knew of my passion for advocating for HIV/AIDS organizations and LGBTQ equality, and they helped me get connected.”

Since then, Se-Se has been a proud Equitas Health Board Member and philanthropist. Her involvement with the organization does not stop there though. She is thrilled to be serving as the chair for this year’s AIDS Walk Central Ohio, and is committed to helping Equitas Health raise $338,000 through this important community event. As a past walk participant, Se-Se has personally raised thousands of dollars as a member of Cardinal Health’s team. This year, in her role as chair, she is excited to help Equitas Health secure new corporate sponsors, recruit walkers, and make it an unforgettable event for all participants.

For Se-Se, she takes pride in knowing her donations and volunteer time are helping advance Equitas Health’s mission. “I’ve seen firsthand the incredible impact their programs, services, and care have on the thousands of Ohioans they serve each year.” As she reflects on the organization’s expanded mission, she appreciates the continued focus on helping people affected by HIV/AIDS. “Although Equitas Health has grown, they haven’t lost sight of their original mission. The fact that they’ve been able to expand their services without sacrificing everything they continue to do for those affected by HIV/AIDS is remarkable.”


Announcing New Medical Center and Pharmacy Opening in Columbus’ King-Lincoln District in April

We will be commemorating April’s National Minority Health month in a big way this year, by opening our third Medical Center and Pharmacy in Columbus’s King-Lincoln District.  In line with this year’s theme, we’re working to “bridge health equity across communities.” Since expanding our mission to “care for all” in April 2016, we’ve been exploring where community resources are needed most and where our person-centered medical home approach to care can make the biggest difference. After conducting some research and analysis, we determined that 750 E. Long St. in the King-Lincoln District in Columbus’ Near East side would become our newest health center location. The King-Lincoln District and surrounding community meets the federal government’s criteria as a medically underserved area, meaning it’s an area where there are not enough medical providers to meet the health needs of the community. Addressing these needs, paired with the health disparities that people of color face, including high rates of heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, will be key goals of the King-Lincoln Medical Center. We also bring to the community our long history of reducing stigma, barriers, and disenfranchisement as we provide culturally competent and compassionate care.

The King-Lincoln Medical Center will offer quality primary care, specialized LGBTQ care, specialized HIV care, behavioral health, HIV/STI testing, HIV supportive services, and pharmacy. We are also thrilled to introduce dentistry services at the new location. Dr. Heather Crockett-Miller and Dental Assistant, Tich White, will provide an array of dental services including emergency, preventive, and restorative care. We’re happy to provide these services to anyone, regardless of insurance type or ability to pay. We’re pleased to be at the forefront of bridging health equity across communities in Ohio. We hope you’ll join us at our community open house. Stay tuned for details.


What’s New This Year for Camp Sunrise

In anticipation of the 2017 camp season, Camp Sunrise is excited to unveil a new logo and enhanced website! The refreshing new logo captures the spirit of summer camp while keeping with the long-standing history of Camp Sunrise. The “hand” continues to be a symbol for Camp Sunrise, representing the rising sun and never-ending friendships formed year after year at Camp.

Entering its 23rd year, Camp Sunrise is Ohio’s only summer camp developed specifically for children living with or impacted by HIV/AIDS. Each summer, as many as 100 children ages 6-17 from across Ohio experience the joys of friendship, love and support of a caring community, and learn life-skills in an encouraging environment free of the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Camp dates for 2017 are August 6-12, again taking place at Camp Joy in Clarksville, Ohio. If you know a youth in Ohio between the ages of 6 and 17 interested in attending Camp Sunrise, complete the pre-registration form on the website to have the full application packet mailed directly to you!

Check out our redesigned website and stay tuned for exciting announcements about Camp at

For ways to donate directly to Camp Sunrise, click the link below, or visit our Amazon Wish List to purchase camp essentials and fun supplies for our Holiday-themed year, shipped directly to Camp Sunrise!


Equitas Health Dayton Dental Clinic Hosts “Give Kids a Smile” Event

Equitas Health’s new Dayton dental clinic held its first “Give Kids a Smile” event in Dayton.  The “Give Kids a Smile” program is a collaborative effort among the American Dental Association, the Ohio Dental Association, and other dental societies throughout the U.S. to provide dental care and oral health education to children without dental coverage.

Our first “Give Kids a Smile” event this year was in collaboration with Dayton’s East End Community Service’s “Family Night”.  Director of Dental Services Dr. Heather Crockett-Miller explains the event. “Children and their parents are invited to Ruskin Elementary School for educational activities, dinner, games and prizes once a month.  Dental Assistants, Tich White, Janice Rountree, and I had a booth set up with a demonstration of the amount of sugar in many popular drinks.  This encouraged further conversation with families about which drinks with high sugar content should be substituted for healthier options to protect their teeth from cavities. We discussed healthy oral hygiene practices, demonstrated good brushing techniques, and children had the opportunity to practice on our puppets and teeth models.  We distributed over 160 oral hygiene kits, including toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a 2 minute brushing timer, to each child, parent, and sibling.  After our activities, the children, and their families enjoyed a healthy dinner provided by East End Community Services.”

“Based on what I saw, I could tell a few children had already received extensive dental treatment.  It was great to hear some had been to the dentist recently. But many revealed that they did not have a toothbrush or rarely brushed their teeth.  There were several parents in attendance who had unmet dental needs and expressed that they make sure their kids make it to the dentist but have neglected their own oral health.”

Events like these are important to help improve oral hygiene habits and establish a routine relationship with quality, affordable dental care in the community. By improving children’s oral health literacy, we have put them on the right path to healthier smiles.


Equitas Health Earns Multiple Honors in Columbus CEO’s 2017 Healthcare Achievement awards
Click here to read more about the winners and finalists in Columbus CEO’s March edition.

Equitas Health President & CEO Bill Hardy was named 2017 Healthcare Trailblazer of the Year by Columbus CEO magazine. The award recognizes an organization, company or individual for innovative or entrepreneurial healthcare initiatives that improve the practice of medicine or delivery of care to patients.

HIV Testing and Safe Point volunteer John Ridge was named 2017 Volunteer of the Year. The award recognizes an individual or individuals for making a positive impact by devoting time, expertise and/or dollars to support local healthcare organizations, patients and the community.

Equitas Health, as an organization, was also recognized as a finalist for the 2017 Pathway to Population Health Award, an award that recognizes an organization, company or individual for creative efforts that get in front of healthcare issues to effectively reduce the incidence of disease and improve the well-being of communities.

Peggy Anderson, Equitas Health Chief Operating Officer was recognized as a finalist for the 2017 Executive of the Year Award, an award that recognizes an individual for having a positive impact on a healthcare organization and those it serves through sustained, outstanding administrative efforts.

Michael Para, MD, Columbus Medical Director at Equitas Health, was recognized as a finalist for the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, an award that recognizes a longtime or retired healthcare professional who has demonstrated exceptional leadership, knowledge, decision making skills and commitment to his or her organization, patients and profession.

Mimi Rivard, MSN, CNP, Nurse Practitioner at Equitas Health, was recognized as a finalist for the 2017 Practitioner of the Year Award, an award that recognizes an individual (physician, nurse, physician’s assistant, etc.) for providing outstanding care and/or advancing the practice of medicine.

“We are incredibly grateful to be recognized in every category of Columbus CEO’s Healthcare Achievement Awards. This recognition is a testament to the visionary leadership that guides our organization and the commitment and passion that drives our staff and volunteers to deliver the best care possible,” said Joel Diaz, Chief Marketing & Community Affairs Officer.

Equitas Health (formerly AIDS Resource Center Ohio) is a regional not-for-profit community-based healthcare system founded in 1984. Its expanded mission has made it one of the nation’s largest HIV/AIDS, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) healthcare organizations. With 13 offices in 10 cities, it serves more than 67,000 individuals in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia each year through its diverse healthcare and social service delivery system focused around: primary and specialized medical care, dental, behavioral health, HIV/STI prevention, advocacy, and community health initiatives.

The Equitas Health Pharmacy operates as a social enterprise for Equitas Health and is one of the pillars of the healthcare organization’s patient-centered care model. 100% of pharmacy profits are reinvested back into the organization’s programs and services, providing an earned income revenue line for the organization while providing a critical service for the community.

Winners and finalists of awards, including Equitas Health, will be celebrated Thursday, March 23, beginning at 5:30 PM at Noah’s Event Venue in New Albany. Click here to purchase tickets to attend.


Recognizing LGBT Health Awareness Week – MARCH 27-31
LGBTQ Health Awareness week is March 27-31. We have several events planned across the state from movie screenings, to research lectures, to patient empowerment workshops. Visit for more information.


Greater Dayton  Transgender Mental Health Summit Recap
On March 3rd, our Institute for LGTBQ Health Equity hosted the inaugural Greater Dayton Transgender Mental Health Summit. The event brought together over 100 mental health professionals and community members to discuss the issues facing Ohio’s trans and gender non-conforming community. The main goals of the conference were to help professionals who serve the TGNC community identify mental health risk factors for patients, increase their confidence and improve their skills in order to serve the community better, and to connect with other social service and mental health providers. The keynote address was delivered by Scott Leibowitz, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Medical Director of Behavioral Health, THRIVE (Differences of Sexual Development and Gender Concerns) Program. We’d like to thank Dr. Leibowitz for delivering a rousing and inspiring keynote, and we’d also like to thank Petey Peterson of Wright State University’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs and Dr. Michelle Vaughan of the Ellis Human Development Institute’s School of Professional Psychology for helping us pull off such a successful summit. In addition, we couldn’t have made the summit happen without the contributions of Equitas Health’s dedicated and talented group of staff members and volunteers.

The event was sold out, and attracted coverage from multiple Dayton media outlets, including Channel 2 and Channel 7. The City of Dayton issued a proclamation declaring March 3 to be Transgender Mental Health Day. Click here to watch the video of the proclamation.  and lunch was provided by Wheat Penny Oven and Bar. Wheat Penny, a Dayton area LGBTQ-owned-and-operated establishment, donated lunch free of charge. We’d like to thank them for their generous donation, and we’d also like to thank the Ellis Human Development Institute for graciously hosting what is hopefully just the first in a series of events like this in the Dayton area. Click here to view WDTN Dayton’s story.


Ohio AIDS Coalition Ending Operation At End of March
In July of 2016, the Ohio AIDS Coalition (OAC), a division of Equitas Health, announced that it would cease operations effective March 31, 2017. This decision was due to elimination of grant funding which was the primary source of financial support for OAC consumer programs and initiatives. While this was a difficult reality to accept, the OAC staff have worked with consumers, providers and community partners to help prepare for this transition.

Equitas Health is committed to ensuring that OAC’s 30+ years of HIV/AIDS advocacy and policy work continues to move forward and will do so through Equitas Health’s government affairs and public policy initiatives and the work of the Equitas Health Institute.

The Positive Youth Leadership Summit and the Transforming Care Conference will continue under the direction of the Equitas Health Institute’s HIV/AIDS initiatives.

All OAC staff have found new positions within Equitas Health or at other organizations prior to the grant ending.

To remain engaged in our advocacy work, please complete this form.



AIDS Walk Ohio

APR 15 | Columbus
APR 22 | Dayton
APR 29 | Toledo

Become a “Grand Walker” by raising $1,000 and be entered to win a trip for 4 (four) to Hawaii for 8 day/9 nights!

Can’t make it? Purchase a $20 AIDS Walk Ohio Red Ribbon Project sign that will display your reason for supporting AIDS Walk Ohio along the walk route.



Name and Gender Change Legal Clinic

MAR 22 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM | Columbus
MAR 29 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM | Cincinnati
APR 11 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM | Toledo

Trained attorneys will provide one-on-one counseling about the gender- and name-changing process. Registration is preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. To register, email or call (614) 340-6729.


Equality March for Unity and Pride

JUN 11 | Washington, DC

Attend the march in Washington, DC in support of LGBTQ rights to coincide with Capital Pride, DC’s annual pride celebration.