This year, one of the new categories was Best Health Advocacy Group. Inclusive, top-quality health care has been a topic of conversation for a long time but has only started taking the spotlight as it becomes more obvious how important this type of care for all people is. In this category's first year, First Place went to Central Outreach Wellness Center.
Central Outreach Wellness Center opened in July of 2015 in a modest 2,000 square foot medical clinic with six patient rooms and three employees. Central Outreach Wellness Center is the largest LGBTQIA focused medical center in Pennsylvania. Five medical facilities across two states, over 57,000 square feet of space for health care, and 115 employees, Dr. Lane has grown Central Outreach to advocate and care for people regardless of their circumstances.
There are now offices in Pittsburgh, Aliquippa, Erie, Washington (PA), and Cleveland.
Central Outreach offers free STD, HIV, and Hep C testing; the cure for Hep C; HIV(+) care; transgender health care; primary care; personalized pharmacy services and discounts; laser hair removal; massage therapy. Walk-in patients are always welcome, and no insurance is necessary at Central Outreach.
When the leaders at Central Outreach Wellness Center were asked what it meant to them to achieve this win, they expressed their excitement and the honor the community bestowed on them. “It was an honor to be nominated twice: Best Pandemic Relief Campaign and Best Health Advocacy Group. We are happy to receive recognition for the hard work we did in service of the community over the past year, and we thank the readers for making us winners as the Best Health Advocacy Group in Pittsburgh,” the marketing director Alex Young said.
Dr. Stacy Lane, D.O. has been leading Central Outreach since its inception, stepping out as a leader in the community to ensure these services have not only been made available to all who need it but in more and more areas, not just the City of Pittsburgh. When asked to share, Dr. Lane said,
"Central Outreach Wellness Center is health care targeted at those on the fringe of society: LGBTQIA, the artists, the swingers, and those with addiction. The City Paper has been the publication that targets these same communities.”
“To win a ‘best of’ award from the City Paper tells me that COWC is doing well to hit its mark. The people that matter to us have spoken.
We don’t want an award from UPMC or Highmark. We don’t care what the mainstream thinks, because we are not for them.” — Dr. Stacy Lane, D.O.
Central Outreach is committed and will continue to be culturally competent, and push themselves as an organization to help even more people than they have before. Recently, they have expanded their services into Cleveland, Ohio to support priority populations there with quality medical care and community. “Of course, we want to win Back-to-Back Best of Pittsburgh awards too.”