Five Questions With: Dr. Amy Nunn
and Guillaume Bagal

A new clinic expected to open this fall in downtown Providence will offer primary care along with express screenings for HIV, sexually transmitted infections and the hepatitis C virus for members of the LGBTQ+ community and the broader population.

Open Door Health, an initiative of Rhode Island Public Health Institute, will aim to improve the health of Rhode Island’s LGBTQ+ population, which is often subject to disparities in care and outcomes, according to the health institute.

With sexually transmitted infections rates rising in Rhode Island and nationwide, providing express screenings and immediate treatment will be a priority for Open Door Health, officials say. The clinic, which is still under construction, will be located at 7 Central St., Providence.

Dr. Amy Nunn, the health institute’s executive director, and Guillaume Bagal, a health institute board member and head of diversity and inclusion at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, discuss details about the clinic.

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PBN: How did you identify a need for a clinic that cares for the LGBTQ community?

NUNN AND BAGAL: We have partnered with other clinical organizations and have long served the LGBTQ population with other social support needs. Our clients frequently tell us that they don’t have a primary health care provider that can meet their needs, or with whom they feel comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation. People with financial means and time often travel to Boston for culturally congruent services, but some other clients often go without primary care. This highlighted an important niche for us to fill. We see a community deserving of affirming care and respect, which we plan to earn.

PBN: This looks like a collaborative effort. What other agencies are involved, and what are their roles?

NUNN AND BAGAL: We have received generous financial support of the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services Ryan White Program, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, private donors, Brown University and others.  We have also partnered with other community-based agencies in our plan to share patients and clients. We have several other major grants under review with private foundations. We are forming a community advisory board to ensure inclusiveness and a community-centered strategy.

GUILLAUME BAGAL is a Rhode Island Public Health Institute board member. / COURTESY RHODE ISLAND PUBLIC HEALTH INSTITUTE

PBN: How large of a patient base do you expect, and is it likely to extend outside of Providence?

NUNN AND BAGAL: We don’t really know yet, but we do believe, “If you build it, they will come.” We know that there is a lot of unmet need for LGBT health services that are focused on the unique needs of this population. We would be delighted if we could serve a few thousand patients in year one and hope to grow over time.

PBN: What is the cost of the clinic, and where is the money coming from?

NUNN AND BAGAL: To pay for construction and to open our doors, we need about $1 million. We are more than halfway there! We have received seed grants from the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services, as well as Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. Other community members are donating their precious time and resources to help us with our community focus. We are still fundraising! Anyone who wishes to donate can learn more at

PBN: Can we expect to see more Open Door clinics in Rhode Island in the future?

NUNN AND BAGAL: That’s a good question. Right now, we are really focused on doing a good job with Open Door Health, the first LGBTQ-centered health clinic in the state.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN staff writer. She can be reached at