Tucker partners with Magic City Wellness Center to provide care to LGBTQ community

Rodney Tucker, M.D., will provide primary care to patients once a week at the Magic City Wellness Center.

Tucker TEST JOOMLARodney Tucker, M.D., will see patients at the Magic City Wellness Center once a week, starting on Nov. 5.More patients will be able to be seen at the Magic City Wellness Center in Birmingham thanks to a partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Rodney Tucker, M.D., an internist in the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care at UAB, will provide primary care to patients once a week starting in November. Tucker also serves as the director of the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care and is a UAB alumnus.

The Magic City Wellness Center is the first LGBTQ comprehensive health care facility in Alabama. It is also the only health care center openly advertised as an LGBTQ-affirmative primary care clinic in the state.

“The goal of the clinic is to bring patients who may have been marginalized in the past into a medical setting,” Tucker said. “This will help increase health care options for members of the LGBTQ populations in the Birmingham area. I am very excited to join with the staff at MCWC, including Dr. Scott Weisberg and nurse practitioners Josh Hicks and SB Wheeler.”

This is the first time UAB has had a clinical affiliation with the Magic City Wellness Center.

“The center provides a safe, open and affirming space for LGBTQ individuals to have an open dialogue with a health care provider without fear of rejection, embarrassment or discrimination,” said Will Rainer, director of the Magic City Wellness Center. “We hope the partnership with a world-renowned medical center like UAB will encourage more people to seek primary health care.”

According to Rainer, the center assists in reducing barriers to care while eradicating health disparities in the LGBTQ community. The benefits of reducing health disparities through an LGBTQ center include lower HIV/STD transmission rates and progression, reduced health care costs, and increased physical and mental well-being.

“We are seeing more and more patients who have diabetes, hypertension and other chronic illnesses,” Rainer said. “Many of these patients have not seen a doctor in years due to fear of being discriminated against or judged for their choices; meanwhile their health has deteriorated.”

Since the center opened in 2016, it has reached capacity for the number of patients it can see. UAB’s partnership will let it take on new patients and, in turn, reduce health disparities in the LGBTQ population and encourage more people to seek health care.

“While there are many providers in Birmingham who have an affirmative practice for LGBTQ patients, this will represent a major step in providing more comprehensive wellness services in an affirming environment,” Tucker said. “Everyone is excited about this progress and the partnership with our flagship medical center at UAB.”

The Magic City Wellness Center is part of the Birmingham AIDS Outreach, which benefits from the UAB Benevolence Fund. The executive director of the BAO says the partnership with UAB is invaluable.

“The relationship we have with UAB is probably one of the most important relationships we have,” said Karen Musgrove, executive director of the BAO. “We work closely with UAB in several areas, and expanding to include primary care is one more way we are working together to provide better health care to the LGBTQ community and ultimately make Birmingham a healthier city.”