Happy Birthday 26Health!

by Dr. David Baker-Hargrove

On August 3, 2015, we opened our doors as a fully functional comprehensive health center, providing both medical care and behavioral health services. This month, we review our five-year history, while excitedly looking forward to what lies ahead.

Starting as Two Spirit Health Services, we have gone through many changes in five years. We constantly appraised our brand and our website to find that “best fit”. Ultimately, last year, we decided Two Spirit Health Services was not the right name for us and we rebranded to 26Health. We are all in love with the new name and the new brand! We hope you are too, and we think the 26Health name and our tag line, Care for Every Letter, will be a legacy to withstand the test of time.

When we opened for business on that August Monday, we had three full-time and four part-time employees and we held a medical clinic for only one day a week. Our dream was to create a safe space where the most vulnerable members of our community could get affordable, quality healthcare and we were eager to see what the future would hold.

Nine months later, tragedy struck our community on June 12, 2016, with the Pulse Nightclub Shooting. For me, it was not a question of whether 26Health would respond, but how. The local governmental institutions responded in ways that were familiar to them: focus on the legally related family members of the victims. I realized our role would be to focus on those not considered: “family” members of choice, friends, romantic partners, co-workers who were like family, our LGBTQ+ community in general – you. Over the next three weeks up until the July 4th weekend, we mobilized 650 volunteer counselors to support over 1,000 people in our local community. To this day, we continue to serve as a principal provider of behavioral health and medical services to survivors, people who are close to them, and people in general who deeply feel the pain of that night.

My, how we’ve grown! We are now over 40 staff members. Along with our full-time medical and behavioral health clinics, we offer patient care services; our hair removal services have evolved into a full Medispa offering medical-grade skin treatments, facial fillers, and wrinkle relaxers. And, in March of this year, we became a fully licensed child placement agency, being the first and only LGBTQ+-focused adoption agency in the State of Florida and the only adoption agency in the state attached to a medical clinic.

Such phenomenal growth does not come without a price. Along with our successes, these past five years have also brought heartbreaking growing pains. Turnover has been a significant problem, especially in the medical clinic. We have struggled endlessly with managing and responding to phone traffic and I know how troubling that is for our patients. We continually look at all our processes, policies, and cultural norms to see where we can improve and how we can stabilize our staff and our technology to serve you better.

August also marks National Health Center Week. This year’s theme is “Community Health Centers: Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities Today and in the Future”! As your local health center, we hope we have been able to light your way to better health and we look forward to continuing to do so in the future. Thank you for choosing us as your partner in health.

Happy Anniversary 26Health!


Real stories are a powerful way for families to understand the benefits of foster care and being adoptive parents. Whether you are a birth parent, adoptive parent or adoptee, adoption changes you. Each time you share your story with someone, you will be reminded how all the pieces of your adoption or foster care journey came together.