Central Outreach Wellness Center Celebrates New Washington Clinic | Local News
City Councilor Rosemary Ketchum first heard about the Central Outreach Wellness Center in 2018, in Wheeling, the very first W.Va Pride Parade.
âI remember Carol Priest, Ryan McMullan and their entire team riding the biggest and strangest party bus I’ve ever seen,â Ketchum said, referring to the clinician and business administrator of the organization. âHe is affectionately known as the ‘Outreach Van’. “
Ketchum, who gained national attention in 2020 after winning a seat on Wheeling City Council and becoming West Virginia’s first openly transgender elected official, shared the story at the inauguration Wednesday of Central’s new facility. Outreach at 817 Jefferson Ave. in Washington.
The Central Outreach Wellness Center is a clinic focused on providing health care to the LGBTQIA community.
Ketchum went on to describe how Central Outreach was able to provide important services to their community that day, such as testing for STDs and HIV.
âI can tell you with certainty that many of my gay friends and family members were able to know their status that day because of it. Many for the first time in their lives. I couldn’t be more grateful for the job they did that day, âKetchum said.
Dr Stacy Lane founded Central Outreach in 2015 with the organization’s first location in Pittsburgh. Central Outreach opened its second location in Washington, originally in two small offices on Leonard Avenue.
Lane studied pre-med at Washington & Jefferson College and graduated in 1997.
âI would like to tell you that I enjoyed W&J and my university experience and living in Washington so much that I wanted to come back here and do that kind of work here. That’s not what happened, âLane said. âCollege was difficult. Pre-med was difficult. I had an uncle who was dying of AIDS. This is what motivated me.
Lane described how when they first opened in Pittsburgh, patients came from Ohio and West Virginia for services that weren’t available where they lived.
âWashington, Pennsylvaniaâ¦ was the perfect place, because I was able to get reciprocity for the state of Ohio and the state of West Virginia, and I could provide for all of those states if I had an office here, âLane said. .
Ketchum said she referred many friends to the Central Outreach location in Washington.
âIt’s so necessary, it’s so important, but in a place like West Virginia, it’s so rare. So I’m delighted to be here to be able to support this, âKetchum said ahead of his remarks at Wednesday’s event.
After Ketchum and Lane spoke, they and several others tied ribbons to the handrail that leads to the main entrance to the building, believed to symbolize Central Outreach’s “binding” to the Washington community.
Canonsburg Mayor David Rhome and Washington Mayor Scott Putnam also took part in the ribbon-tying ceremony.
âWe have to be able to serve everyone, and the fact that they serve without insurance, they serve vulnerable people, that’s important,â Putnam said.
Ketchum has expressed interest in an organization like Central Outreach moving to Wheeling, and believes it could succeed despite preconceptions about the state’s political leanings.
âI have a lot of conservative people in my family who are incredibly tolerant and inclusive of LGBTQ people, and I think it’s not a mutually exclusive conversation. We can have really important health care serving very vulnerable populations in stereotypically conservative communities, âKetchum said.
âI think it’s a win. I know it can happen in West Virginiaâ¦ and I think we may not give some conservative communities enough credit for their ability to embrace LGBTQ neighbors.