New mental health clinic extends care, compassion to LGBT community

New mental health clinic extends care, compassion to LGBT community

When health-care professionals say they can't help you, you might assume it's because of what you have, not because of who you are. 

But, if you're a member of the LGBT community, you can't be sure. 

"There is a perception that some physicians are homophobic and that makes the patient reluctant to come out," said Dr. Scott Rodgers, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior.

"Staying hidden is an unhealthy way of living your life."

For that reason, Rodgers' department in July launched the LGBT Clinic at the Jackson Medical Mall Thad Cochran Center - a pioneering treatment center that will help fill a gap in mental health services for Mississippi's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Apparently the first of its kind in the state, it's a project of UMMC's new Division of Gender, Sexuality and Health, directed by Dr. Kim Gratz, a School of Medicine professor and researcher who is overseeing a new LGBT Health Program, as well as a Women's Health Program.

The LGBT Clinic is offering psychiatric care as well as psychotherapy to a population making up 2-5 percent of the state's inhabitants, by Rodgers' estimate.

"We want them to know they can come to a place that is accepting and where they can get competent care," Gratz said.

To that end, she and Rodgers will work with another pacesetter in this field: Dr. Leandro Mena, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases.  

"We're building on the work he's done," Gratz said.

That includes his work as medical director of the Open Arms Healthcare Center, which specializes in primary care focused on the health needs of LGBT populations; established by the nonprofit community organization, My Brother's Keeper Inc., it also offers the services of a clinical psychologist and referrals.

LGBT issues have not been ignored at the Medical Center, Gratz said, but the stress was on physical, rather than psychological needs. 

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Hearin grants help UMMC keep ‘best, brightest’ SOD, SHRP scholars

The Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation has awarded a pair of multiyear grants to the University of Mississippi Medical Center to help ensure the state's "best and brightest" dentistry and allied health professions students have the opportunity to stay in Mississippi to obtain their respective degrees.

The School of Dentistry received a four-year, $510,500 grant for its Best and Brightest Scholarship Program, while the School of Health Related Professions obtained a five-year, $250,000 grant for its Mississippi Rural Allied Health Professionals Scholarship Program.

Two high-achieving applicants to the School of Dentistry will be selected each year to receive the Best and Brightest Scholarships of $25,525 each, in exchange for their commitment to practice in Mississippi for a minimum of five years upon completion of their dental education.

Up to five students enrolled in any of SHRP's two-year academic programs may be selected for the Mississippi Rural Allied Health Professionals Scholarships, based on their sincere interest and commitment to rural health in the state.

The UMMC faculty who authored the grant proposals believe the scholarships will help attract the state's top academic talent to their respective schools.

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Hearin grants help UMMC keep ‘best, brightest’ SOD, SHRP scholars

People of the U: Alex Mullen

People of the U: Alex Mullen

If you've ever misplaced your car keys - or your car - if you can't recall your bank PIN -  or where you put your ink pen - if you don't remember why you entered a room - or the building the room came with - then Alex Mullen could make you look really bad.

He has recalled the arrangement of a 52-card deck in under 29 seconds - the only American to do so in an official competition.

He has committed to memory a series of 615 digits in order; memorized 70 made-up "historical" dates in under five minutes; and remembered correctly 102 digits in sequence - after hearing it only once.

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State health officer's talk, chancellor session highlight week's events

A number of interesting events is scheduled for the upcoming week at the Medical Center.

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State health officer's talk, chancellor session highlight week's events
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