The Mazzoni Center has always strived to provide ally-ship for the LGBTQ+ community in Philadelphia. They do so by offering quality comprehensive health and wellness services to individuals who need it in a focused environment—including when it comes to sexual assault in the community. And like most subjects that the Mazzoni handles, it’s handled with care. Just ask the people who work at the local organization.
“As someone who grew up in Philadelphia, I’ve always been impressed by the organization’s reputation for meeting people where they are,” explains Sultan Shakir (he/him), president and executive officer of the Center.
Shakir’s role at the Mazzoni involves supporting and aligning the staff, board, community, patients, clients, funders, and partner organizations to address the health and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community. And in his role, Shakir makes an impact every day.
“I’ve known about the Mazzoni Center for years. It’s one of the premier LGBTQ health care providers in the country,” he continues. “Many of us in the LGBTQ community are used to having to gauge how open you can be with people. At the Mazzoni Center, we welcome you as you are, for all that you are.”
As Shakir explains, the Mazzoni offers a full range of primary care in a specialized environment designed to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ community.
“The amazing thing is the organization does so much more than just what people think of when you think of primary care. In addition to offering medical care, we have a food bank given that food insecurity affects health, we have a legal department that can help with name changes or issues of discrimination, we have social support programs, and we also engage in training work to help ensure that other spaces in the community are fully culturally competent to support the LGBTQ community. We really try to support the whole person,” Shakir says.
Mazzoni currently runs a nationally recognized program in partnership with WOAR (Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence) funded by the Department of Justice and the Office on Violence Against Women. It provides narrative-based training for individuals supporting, treating, and advocating for LGBTQ victims and survivors.
“The program provides a comprehensive overview of LGBTQ-specific trauma, particularly in relation to those who are multiply marginalized,” Shakir continues. “With an explicitly intersectional and anti-racist approach, our trainings encourage deeper understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ victims and survivors of sexual violence and promotes action in advocating for change at multiple levels. In addition, we also facilitate trainings within LGBTQ communities to educate members about safe, supportive, and liberating resources available for victims and survivors of sexual assault.”
For those looking to get in touch with the Mazzoni Center, their main number is always available at 215-563-0652. Philadelphians can also use the Contact Us form on their website, or use their patient portal, which can also be found on the website. Shakir states that those looking for support can also walk into their Broad and Bainbridge location, or their 12th and Locust location to speak to someone in person.
“We want people to know that when they come to the Mazzoni Center, they’ll be safe and supported,” finishes Shakir. “Over the past few years, the staff have really looked at a number of ways that we can create an environment that centers the needs of our clients, that listens to and trusts clients, and ensures that any allegations are taken seriously and addressed. We recently put more information at mazzonicenter.org/president as a way to demonstrate that our focus on safety is organization wide.”
For information on The Mazzoni Center, visit mazzonicenter.org