At a time when vaccinations are becoming more of an acknowledged standard procedure, one health organization is expanding its footprint to meet the demand.
Latinos Salud opened a new location in North Miami, said Dr. Stephen Fallon, executive director. North Miami is the third location in Miami-Dade County and fourth overall for the organization that offers services and programs geared towards gay and bisexual Latinos and the wider LGBT community.
“It’s a fun, cool, mid-century modern building that we’ve just finished renovating,” Fallon said. “People aren’t going to feel like they are in some sort of drab and dreary clinic.”
When complete, the location will match a positive programming vibe that Latinos Salud offers its clients in each of its other locations. Cultural activities ranging from movie nights, kayaking adventures, beach trips, and yoga classes are a chance to make new friends and socialize in a safe environment, Fallon said.
North Miami is much more accessible than Miami Beach with its traffic congestion, said Rafaelé Narváez, director of health programs.
“When we first expanded to Miami-Dade in 2014, a location on Miami Beach was the best place to be, to serve everyone on the east side of the county," Narváez said. “Today, though, nearly two-thirds of our clients testing in Miami Beach are making the drive over the causeway. The North Miami location will save them that drive. More importantly, it will serve all those community members who meant to get service but never made that drive over the causeway before.”
The North Miami location is two connected buildings with 3,700 square feet just off Dixie Hwy. and close to art galleries, cafes and shops. Like the other Latinos Salud locations, North Miami will be open late to 9 p.m. Four new staff members have been hired with plans to bring on three more, said Fallon.
The need for more staff is the result of Latinos Salud commitment to public health during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ironically, during the times of COVID-19 when people were scared and did not want to get out of their houses, we had a surge of new clients because other clinics were closed and we had started to provide essential services that the community needed to follow up,” said Juan Buch, programs coordinator for the Miami Beach location. “Throughout 2020, we implemented our wellness clinic in which we are able to provide Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) treatment, and vaccinations.”
Vaccinations remain a hot topic, Latinos Salud received its first shipment of monkeypox vaccines at its Wilton Manors location. The Jynneos vaccines are very limited and reserved for those at highest risk, Fallon said. On July 22, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency.
Latinos Salud is also administering vaccinations for meningitis, Hepatitis A and B, HPV and COVID-19 and continues to offer HIV and STD screening, PrEP initiation, condom distribution and Ryan White case management. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Miami-Dade County leads the nation in new HIV cases with a majority of those cases being gay Latinos.
To schedule a vaccination appointment or appointments for STD screening, PrEP, or any of the agency’s other services, visit LatinosSalud.org and click the Appointment tab at the top of the page. In Broward County, call 954-765-6239. For the new North Miami location call 786-631-4538 for more information.