Henry Ford Health System to Provide Primary Care Services in the Highly-Anticipated Ruth Ellis Health & Wellness Center for LGBTQ Youth

August 23, 2016


DETROIT – The Henry Ford Health System School-Based and Community Health Program and Global Health Initiative have partnered with the Ruth Ellis Center (REC) to provide primary care services in the soon-to-open Ruth Ellis Health & Wellness Center. The center will provide vital health and wellness services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

The partnership is designed to increase access to healthcare for these vulnerable young people by supporting the coordination of LGBTQ-competent integrated primary and behavioral health care in a one-stop facility. This includes specialized care for transgender young people, HIV testing and guidance, and comprehensive behavioral health services, including mental health and substance use disorder and prevention.

"Both Henry Ford Health System and the Ruth Ellis Center are deeply committed to improving the overall health of the communities we serve," said Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting. "Many young LGBTQ individuals experience significant barriers to accessing even the most basic healthcare services. The Ruth Ellis Health & Wellness Center will play a critical role in making high-quality primary and behavioral health services more accessible to the LGBTQ community."

Henry Ford medical experts will offer a wide range of services at the Ruth Ellis Health & Wellness Center, including:

  • Quick visits for general medical issues (sore throat, rash, ear infection, cough/cold)
  • Visits for longer term medical issues (asthma management, healthy weight, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.)
  • Vision and hearing screening tests with referral
  • STD testing and treatment
  • HIV testing and guidance
  • HIV prevention services
  • Transition care for transgender youth
  • Birth control
  • Screening for need of emergency services

REC will offer fully-integrated behavioral health services, including:

  • Individual, Family & Group Counseling
  • Substance Use Disorder Treatment & Prevention
  • Dental Services (cleaning, exams, prevention)

"Developing a health & wellness center accessible to all at-risk youth and young adults and specifically tailored to support the needs of LGBTQ young people is an extraordinary achievement for our organization," said REC Executive Director Jerry Peterson. "Discrimination, lack of access to care, and lack of cultural competence will no longer be reasons why LGBTQ youth are denied their right to efficient and effective health care."

Over its 17-year history, Ruth Ellis Center (REC) has established a national reputation for quality and innovation in providing trauma-informed services for homeless, runaway and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and young adults of color. What began as a 500-square-foot safe space in Highland Park, Michigan has evolved into a 10,000-square foot multi-faceted organization, providing outreach and safety-net services, individual, family and group counseling and case management, skill building workshops, HIV prevention programs and the only residential foster care program specifically for LGBTQ youth in the Midwest.

Ruth Ellis Center has reached nearly 75% of its $1.5 million capital campaign goal. To learn more about REC and how you can support their capital campaign for the Health & Wellness Center, visit ruthelliscenter.org or contact Mark Erwin- McCormick, Director of Development at [email protected]. To learn more about REC, visit ruthelliscenter.org. For more information on the Henry Ford School-Based & Community Health Program, visit Henry Ford Pediatrics.

About Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System is a six-hospital system headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. It is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive, integrated health systems, recognized for clinical excellence and innovation. Henry Ford Health System provides both health insurance and healthcare delivery, including acute, specialty, primary and preventive care services backed by excellence in research and education. The system is a 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. Over the last three consecutive years, four acute care hospitals within the system have also been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as leaders in healthcare equality for the LGBTQ community. Visit Henry Ford to learn more.

About The Ruth Ellis Center

Incorporated in 1999, is a youth social services agency that serves the needs of runaway, homeless and at-risk youth. REC is one of the nation’s leading experts on vulnerable youth who are experiencing residential instability. The mission of the Center is to "provide short and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender, and questioning youth." The REC is the only organization in the country that has a Residential program for LGBTQ youth in the foster care and juvenile justice system, and is mission specific to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. While the Center emphasizes serving LGBTQ youth who are often ostracized, shamed, and denied services by other agencies, no youth, regardless of gender identity and/or sexual orientation is turned away or denied services. Furthermore, all youth who seek assistance receive the highest level of services based on trauma informed care, late adolescent development theory, and best practices for serving homeless youth.

Jeff Adkins
(586) 307-2027

[email protected]

Mark Erwin-McCormick
(313) 252-1950

[email protected]