Today Evergreen Health announced that The MOCHA Center of Buffalo (“MOCHA Buffalo”) will become part of Evergreen Health beginning in May 2021. MOCHA Buffalo offers social events and other programs focused on improving the health and wellness of LGBTQ+ people of color, and is currently part of Trillium Health, based in Rochester, New York.
“MOCHA Buffalo joining Evergreen means adding even more passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion for LGBTQ+ people of color to our organization. Together, our combined efforts will benefit and improve the lives and opportunities for patients throughout the community,” said Ekua Mends-Aidoo, chief equity and inclusion officer of Evergreen Health. “To serve our patient populations more equitably, Evergreen has formally adopted a three-year Racial Equity Action Plan, and ‘community engagement’ is crucial in responding to racial equity issues. Bringing MOCHA Buffalo into the fold will allow us to reach communities of color in new ways.”
Founded in 1996 as the Men of Color Health Awareness Project, MOCHA Buffalo works to educate Black and Latino men in Buffalo about living a sex-positive life. Evergreen Health and MOCHA Buffalo are two complementary organizations with more than 60 years of combined commitment to community and support for LGBTQ+ people of color.
“Throughout MOCHA Buffalo’s more than 20 years of service, we have remained committed to addressing racial disparities in healthcare and providing space for young LGBTQ+ people of color to be themselves,” said De’Jon Hall, manager of MOCHA Buffalo. “By joining Evergreen Health, MOCHA Buffalo will be able to continue our legacy of serving queer and trans folks of color throughout the Western New York region, in furtherance of the values we were founded upon.”
MOCHA Buffalo will be within Evergreen’s Center for Supportive Services, which includes the Health Education & Engagement, THRIVE Wellness, Housing, Transportation, and Nutrition programs. A transitional period between January and May 2021 will ensure that MOCHA Buffalo patients continue to receive the care they need during the shift from Trillium Health to Evergreen Health.
“MOCHA Buffalo’s affiliation with Evergreen Health will allow MOCHA patients and clients to have faster, seamless access to a wide range of healthcare services,” said Dr. William Valenti, senior vice president for strategic advancement, chief of innovation, co-Founder, and staff physician at Trillium Health. “Health equity is a top priority for both Trillium and Evergreen, and both organizations will look for opportunities to engage LGBTQ+ communities of color and connect people to care through a socially-responsible lens as we fight to end the HIV epidemic.”
MOCHA Buffalo is one of two MOCHA centers under Trillium Health. The MOCHA Center in Rochester will remain a part of Trillium Health.
ABOUT EVERGREEN HEALTH
Evergreen Health fosters healthy communities by providing medical, supportive and behavioral services to individuals and families in Western New York – especially those who are living with chronic illness or who are underserved by the healthcare system.
ABOUT TRILLIUM HEALTH
As a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike, Trillium Health’s mission is to promote health equity by providing affordable and extraordinary primary and specialty health care to all, including LGBTQ+ communities, in Rochester, New York. Its comprehensive model of care ensures care for people from all backgrounds, regardless of income, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, or ethnicity. For more information, please visit www.trilliumhealth.org.