"This is a wonderful time when we can really stop this disease in its tracks." Dr. Howard Grossman said, with a large smile and his signature bow tie, "and treat individuals to keep them from getting HIV with PrEP."
Dr. Howard Grossman is a long-time nationally-renowned leader in the areas of LGBTQ health and HIV medicine. He recently relocated to South Florida, to practice internal medicine and is now serving as Medical Director at Midway Specialty Care Center's Wilton Manors' office.
"As a gay man,” Dr. Grossman says, “being aware of the prejudice people face and the kind of hiding they’re forced to do, I’m very sensitive to the things that people are feeling judged about during a medical exam, especially when it comes to sexual health and HIV.”
In the early days of the AIDS epidemic, Dr. Grossman helped to treat some of the first cases of AIDS as a resident at Kings County Hospital, one of the largest public hospitals in New York City. Dr. Grossman then continued his commitment to fighting the disease as a physician at the first dedicated AIDS unit in the country at St. Clare’s Hospital. He entered private practice in 1987 in New York, and most recently worked for the Cleveland Clinic.
In 1997, Grossman was one of three physician plaintiffs in Vacco v. Quill, a case heard by the Supreme Court. Three terminal patients asked their doctors to write them prescriptions to end their own lives. After winning in New York, the case was overturned by the Supreme Court.
In 2004, Grossman went to Washington, D.C., to run the American Academy of HIV Medicine.
After 2 years there, he spent 10 months travelling the world and lecturing on HIV awareness. He's even collaborated with producers on Broadway to help advise a production of The Normal Heart, and is a frequent blogger and columnist for a number of publications like Poz.
“I very much feel if I talk about my own experiences, like my going on PrEP as a physician, it helps other people to make decisions, feel comfortable and make it acceptable.”
“Everybody talks about cultural competency these days. Cultural competency is very important, but it doesn’t trump living in the culture. Ok?” Dr. Grossman explains, “It makes perfect sense to me that patients want a gay doctor. A lot of it has to do with the fact gay doctors have dealt with discrimination and with people feeling uncomfortable in medical care forever. We understand we talk about very sensitive issues.”
Such sensitivity is particularly important to transgender men and women, who are the most likely of the LGBTQ population to face prejudice from the medical community and the community at large.
“They come in here so anxious and tightly held,” says Grossman, “and as we’re talking, and they see that I know what we’re talking about and that this is a completely accepting place, I just watch them relax and start to breathe.”
After a prestigious career, Dr. Grossman is now focusing on LGBTQ health in Wilton Manors. “The 3 southern counties in Florida, Dade, Broward and Palm Beach have some of the highest instances of HIV in the country, and some of the least access to care I have seen in a long time,” Dr. Grossman said, “ I think it’s very hard for people living with HIV to find compassionate and knowledgeable care. It’s very hard to find LGBTQ-knowledgeable care in South Florida, like most places in the country. So, I think there’s a real need here for both.”
Dr. Grossman is now accepting new patients. Call to make an appointment at (954)530-8357.
By Jana Eschbach
Director of Business Development and Community Relations
Midway Specialty Care Center, a 501 (c)3 organization