In October 2017, Dr. Kathy Oriel opened a small medical practice, Oriel Medicine, to serve LGBTQ+ people in a more personalized, private setting. She and her nurse, Melisa Arndt, turned an old Taco BellTM on the west side of Madison into a safe space for patients to receive both primary care and specialized treatment including addiction medicine. Within nine months, 400 patients enrolled.
The 2018 flooding in Madison completely damaged the clinic and left Dr. Oriel, nurse Melisa and innumerable friends and family members working around the clock to clean up and dry out the office. A month later, the office flooded again. They temporarily relocated to a nearby space –and the roof in that space began to leak.
Recognizing that the devastating loss of her office could potentially leave hundreds of at-risk individuals without the medical care they deserve, several of Dr. Oriel’s patients, friends, and supporters started a GoFundMe campaign to keep Oriel Medicine in business at another temporary location. The Campaign has raised $15,211 to date.
At the encouragement of several advisors, Dr. Oriel created the nonprofit organization, OUT HEALTH, inc. whose mission is to reduce LGBTQ health disparities through the provision of medical care to individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have access to services and through education and training of medical providers regarding best practice in caring for the LGBTQ+ community.
OUT HEALTH held its first meeting of the Board of Directors who unanimously voted to fund the organization’s mission and secure permanent office space to provide care to LGBTQ+ individuals.
OUT HEALTH hires Joy Stieglitz as its first Executive Director to help achieve its mission by strengthening operations and finances, preparing the organization for a merger with Oriel Medicine, and positioning the organization for long-term stability and growth.
Construction starts at 5231 University Avenue to renovate a former dental office and make way for Oriel Medicine and OUT HEALTH to have a permanent location in early Spring.
With construction complete, the OUT HEALTH/Oriel Medicine Team take occupancy of the new facility at 5231 University Avenue; however, due to social distancing measures being enforced as a result of the global pandemic from COVID-19, patient care is limited to telehealth for existing patients.
OUT HEALTH launches its new website.