JustUs Health is Now Rainbow Health
Originally Published: April 26, 2021
It was 38 years ago this week that the first Minnesotans affected by HIV filed documents creating the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) to lead the fight against HIV in Minnesota. For 38 years we have upheld this mantle to improve the lives of thousands affected by HIV.
In 2018, MAP merged with Rainbow Health Initiative, a long-standing LGBTQ+ health education and research organization, and Training to Serve, a trusted program supporting the needs of older LGBTQ+ Minnesotans. The past few years have challenged and strengthened this unified team in ways we could never have expected. Now, to move forward, we decided another change was needed: a better name.
We are proud to announce that JustUs Health is now Rainbow Health Minnesota—a diverse team of professionals united by a passion for health equity.
Why change? Simply, we want a name we can be proud of, that reflects our legacy and our people. We want a name that speaks to our role as an inclusive home for people experiencing health inequities. We decided that Rainbow Health Minnesota best reflects who we are today and where we see ourselves tomorrow. Our new name represents our pride and long legacy as an LGBTQ+ organization fighting HIV and health disparities for our diverse communities across Minnesota.
We also need to acknowledge that our prior name was inappropriately taken from another organization serving people of color, which led to its downfall and hurt many people in the process. That action was wrong and inconsistent with our values of anti-racism. As a result, too many people we care about felt excluded from our work. We need to take responsibility for undoing that misdeed and deepen our commitment to dismantling systems of white supremacy and injustice.
While our name has changed, our purpose has not. We are as dedicated as ever to working for equitable health care access and outcomes for people who experience injustice at the intersection of health status and identity. We bring our purpose to life in two primary ways:
- Directly serving and supporting the needs of people who need help, by providing compassionate care that breaks down barriers to better health.
- Fighting for better health systems for those erased and excluded, by educating care providers, policymakers, and one another about how to be more just and inclusive.
Rainbow Health Minnesota: What we do
We help people navigate healthcare systems by breaking down barriers, particularly for LGBTQ+ people and those affected by HIV.
We work to end HIV by building on our four-decade legacy of providing the most comprehensive array of wrap-around services for people with HIV in Minnesota. As a disease of injustice, the only way to end HIV is to end health disparities.
We offer unique and specialized mental and chemical health services of, by, and for the communities we serve. Our care is trauma-informed, harm-reduction based, sex-positive, and meets people where they are. We turn no one away for inability to pay.
We work to empower people on the margins with relevant information, support, and connection to resources that allow them to lead healthier lives. Our legacy of fighting HIV and LGBTQ+ health disparities have given us insight and experience that we can bring to the broader movement for health equity.
We educate and train health care and senior care providers about how to deliver better care for the diversity of LGBTQ+ and HIV communities through a lens of intersectionality.
We are Rainbow Health Minnesota, and we will work tirelessly to ensure every Minnesotan has access to health care that respects who they are.
Along with a new name and renewed energy, we have lots of new initiatives underway to expand our impact and fight for health equity in LGBTQ+ and HIV communities, including:
- Initiatives to support LGBTQ+ elders and those aging with HIV
- A ground-breaking partnership with the State of Minnesota responding to COVID-19
- A unique Rainbow Health Hub connecting people to healthcare and senior care providers
- A new HIV pharmacy and PrEP service to reduce the cost of PrEP for our clients
Be part of sustaining and growing Rainbow Health Minnesota by becoming a monthly donor. Your monthly donation gives us confidence and energy as we expand our work to meet our community’s health needs. Together, we can make a monumental impact.
Jeremy Hanson Willis, CEO