BHCHP Summer Zoom Series - August 19 - Caring for Our Most Vulnerable Patients: Women

Melinda Thomas PA-C, Associate Medical Director

Caring for Our Most Vulnerable Patients: Women

Wednesday, August 19, @ 11 am


One out of three BHCHP patients is a woman, and they are among the most vulnerable subgroups of the homeless population — at high risk for physical and sexual assault, addiction, and serious physical and mental illnesses. BHCHP’s women’s health initiative (WHI) was created to address the unique health needs of our very diverse cohort of female patients. One of if its most popular programs is HER Saturday — a women-only health clinic that also offers case management, crafts and other activities, haircuts and place to relax and chat. It’s a safe space treasured by women, who often have nowhere else to go to escape the dangers of the streets.  Unfortunately it and other women’s programming has been temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has hit our female patients particularly hard. They tell us that the violence they experience on the streets has continued unabated.  Some are eschewing emergency rooms when assaulted because of fear of infection.  And they miss the care and community of HER Saturday and our other female-focused services.

Melinda will talk about:

  • The dangers of homelessness for women and the challenges of caring for patients with significant histories of trauma
  • BHCHP and its partners’ plans to focus more resources on younger homeless women with addiction who practice ‘survival sex’ and are among the most at-risk patients
  • Future plans to expand BHCHP health care services for women experiencing homelessness in various locations around the City of Boston

Melinda Thomas, PA-C, Associate Medical Director

Melinda Thomas is the Associate Medical Director of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, where she has practiced since 1998.  During her tenure at BHCHP, Ms. Thomas has practiced at various locations at BHCHP including various outreach sites, primary care clinics and most extensively at the 104 bed medical respite.  She is currently leading the Women’s Health Initiative in an effort to increase and improve access to services for Boston’s most vulnerable women.  Ms. Thomas graduated from the University Of Massachusetts with a degree in Economics and completed her PA training at Hahnemann University (now Drexel) in 1997.

To see more of our Summer series Zoom offerings click here.