PAP 2024: Michael Galarraga Discusses "The State of Patient Access and Affordability”


In an interview with Pharma Commerce Associate Editor Don Tracy, Michael Galarraga, LPC, ATR-BC, Pennsylvania State Representative, OutCare Health offers his thoughts on the breakout session and his experience in mental health counseling.

PC: What points did you raise during your “The State of Patient Access and Affordability” session?

Galarraga: Some of the points that were raised were the need for access to resources and education on healthcare and healthcare plans to increase accessibility for patients to have quality and effective health care.

PC: How does your plethora of experience—including as a bilingual Spanish-speaking licensed professional counselor, board certified registered art therapist, certified substance abuse counselor, certified sex offender treatment provider, and certified EMDR therapist—better prepare you for supporting patients in their day-to-day challenges?

Galarraga: I mean, having all of the credentials that I currently hold, and also the experiences that I've had as a therapist, helps me prepare my clients to have these different conversations about different social drivers in their life that impact their own healthcare and their own health and well being. A lot of the populations that I have more recently began working on have been either people of color or bilingual speakers who need Spanish services, as well as individuals within the queer and trans population to help work on their mental health needs.

PC: What inspired you to pursue a career in the mental health counseling and advocacy space?

Galarraga: Funny enough, I actually wanted to be a vet at first and not work with humans. But I think that the biggest piece was my own upbringing. There are different moments in my own upbringing where I saw how different providers were helpful to providing not just effective health care, but also different resources in my own community. Growing up in the South Bronx in New York City, I went to a clinic for every form of my health care. I went to the dentist there, I went to the pediatrician there, and I went to see the nutrition and joined the dietary program as a teenager. All of those services were provided in a holistic manner all in one. I think that what was helpful for me was, in my experience of trying to figure out my career path, identifying how can I get back to the communities that I'm a part of, and being a mental health therapist was one of those.

PC: As a member of the OutCare team, could you elaborate on the nonprofit’s mission? How does OutCare ensure that every LGBTQ+ person has access to quality healthcare?

Galarraga: What we do is we have different state, regional and national teams, and we try to increase awareness. OutCare's mission is to increase accessibility and effective health care for queer and trans individuals throughout the US. What we do is we have a directory that lists providers who are queer and trans affirming individuals. We also offer healthcare organizations and smaller organizations ways to update their language and how they're treating and working with queer and trans individuals when seeking health care.

Related Videos
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.