The Health Collective: Celebrating 40 Years of Transforming Lives and Empowering LGBTQIA+ Youth

3 min read

By Cornelia Ehlebracht ’25

News Editor

The Health Collective, formerly known as the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, marks a momentous occasion this year as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. With just a few months on the job, Executive Director David Grant and Medical Director Dana Bishop are bringing about changes that reflect the organization’s commitment to inclusivity. One notable change is the adoption of a new name: The Health Collective.

Since its founding on Nov. 20, 1983, The Health Collective has left an indelible impact on the community. As the oldest LGBTQ+ healthcare organization in Connecticut, it has been a trailblazer in culturally competent healthcare and was among the first to provide HIV testing. The collective’s medical clinic continues to offer a range of vital services, including STI testing with follow-up care, couples counseling, domestic violence screenings and a dental care program. Its pioneering efforts in providing oral care for individuals living with HIV have earned the trust of the community. According to NBC Connecticut in a November 2023 article, reflecting on the past, Bishop vividly recalls a time when LGBTQ+ individuals faced discrimination and were denied access to healthcare. The progress made over the past four decades is undeniable, but The Health Collective recognizes there is still much work to be done to combat stigma and discrimination. Acknowledging the evolving needs of the community, Grant emphasizes the importance of consistently challenging the organization to adapt. To ensure inclusivity, The Health Collective aims to bridge gaps and reach as many people in need as possible.

In an exciting partnership, The Health Collective is collaborating with the New Haven Pride Center and the Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Chamber Foundation to launch a scholarship program. This program seeks to recognize outstanding LGBTQIA+ high school seniors across Connecticut’s five congressional districts, helping them become future leaders. As reported by the Hartford Courant in an April 2024 article, applications for the scholarships are open, and students have until June 20 to submit their applications. The rewards will be disbursed after July 1. The scholarship program represents a significant opportunity for LGBTQIA+ high school seniors, providing financial support and recognition for their achievements. By investing in their potential, The Health Collective and its partners aim to empower these young individuals to contribute to a more inclusive society. To learn more about The Health Collective and its services or to apply for the scholarship program, visit their website and join them in creating a healthier and more inclusive future for all.

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