Greater Portland Health’s Bayside location (formerly 63 Preble Street), home to our Health Care for the Homeless Program provides primary care and dental services to all clients regardless of their ability to pay. We follow a harm reduction model and provide nonjudgmental, trauma informed care.
We are located in the Bayside Neighborhood of downtown Portland. The Health Care for the Homeless site is located directly across the street from the City’s Preble Street Resource Center and soup kitchen. It is 2 ½ blocks from the shelter hub and 0.7 miles to the south of Florence House, a shelter for women.
Greater Portland Health staff often meet patients in their most vulnerable moments: just arriving in a new country, navigating shelter systems, accessing detox/substance use treatment, or spending nights sleeping on the streets. The team builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as navigation of systems, outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy. This serves to help patients effectively carry out their treatment plans. Team members also serve as cultural brokers between Greater Portland Health, health or social services, and the communities of focus to facilitate access and improve the quality and cultural competence of health care delivery, ensuring positive health outcomes.
Outreach staff, led by the Director of Social Work, are immersed in and members of Portland's diverse communities, the homeless community, and the recovery community. In coordination with leadership and providers, outreach staff build bridges between GPH and the communities served, facilitating fluid feedback regarding ways to reduce barriers to medical and behavioral health care.
A community health worker (CHW) based at our Bayside location spends much of her time in the community focusing on ways to bridge the large gap that exists between healthcare services and individuals experiencing homelessness. The CHW spends significant time in the local soup kitchen, resource center, on the street and provides outreach twice a week at the City of Portland Oxford Street Shelter to explain available health services, and support individuals to walk into the health clinic to see a medical provider and/or social worker. CHWs and Social Workers reduce barriers to care by going walking and/or taking the bus with patients to specialist appointments, viewing apartments for rent, going to the pharmacy to get medications, and connecting patients with benefits such as Food Supplemental Program, MaineCare and/or housing vouchers. Peer support provides additional support to those struggling with substance use. Our peer Support Coordinator meets with patients wherever they are at and supports them through the stages of recovery.
In response to Maine’s opioid crisis among the homeless population, we rolled out an innovative daily dosing program in 2017.
The program provides daily intensive outpatient support to high-risk patients experiencing homelessness with a focus on those who do not have access to other outpatient or residential treatment.
MARP’s daily observed dosing model has shown clear evidence of positive results in the community. The program optimizes existing substance use disorder (SUD) treatments and recovery-oriented services and adds monitored daily dosing MAT, paired with mental health counseling. Our Preble Street partners provide daily intensive case management, expedite access to entitlements and community services, and support efforts to gain housing and employment.
Our dental team at Bayside offers preventative and restorative dental services to all patients regardless of their ability to pay.
Learn more about our dental services here.
With your support, we are able to continue providing needed medical, dental, and behavioral health services for our most vulnerable community members.
Kevin Sullivan, MD, Bayside Clinical Director
Kevin earned his MD from Emory University in Atlanta, and completed his Internal Medicine training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Addiction Medicine. He has a passion for bringing clinical care to those who most often fall through the cracks, and meeting patients wherever they are physically, emotionally, or situationally. When confined to four walls he sees patients at 63 Preble St—the Health Care for the Homeless clinic.
Renee Fay-Leblanc, MD, Chief Medical Officer
A board-certified physician, Renee attended medical school at the University of Vermont and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at New York University. She has been practicing Internal Medicine in the Portland area since 2006 and joined Greater Portland Health in 2014 as Chief Medical Officer. In addition to her administrative duties, Dr. Fay-LeBlanc sees patients at 180 Park Ave, 63 Preble Street and Franklin Towers.
John Fitzsimons, DMD, Dental Director
John earned his DMD at Boston University in 2011 and then completed a general practice residency at Penobscot Healthcare in Bangor. Following residency, Dr. Fitzsimons served six years at a federally qualified health center in Portsmouth, NH. He is excited to return to Maine and is looking forward to expanding the scope of services provided in the dental component of this integrated mission. Dr. Fitzsimons is an active member of the Academy of General Dentistry, Maine Dental Association, and the American Dental Association.
Joanna Kass, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Joanna was born and raised in Maine and cherishes the local community. She completed undergraduate degrees in psychology and biology at Bowdoin College and obtained her advanced practice nursing degree at the University of Southern Maine. She provides psychiatric care for school-aged children, adolescents, and adults.
Lori Nicholas, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Lori worked with the homeless for many years before graduating from the University of Southern Maine. She offers psychiatric specialty care for children and adults.
Courtney Pladsen, FNP
After receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Boston College, Courtney worked as an ER Nurse for five years, went on to get a graduate degree from Georgetown University, and became a Nurse Practitioner (NP). In 2018, she was awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Leaders Fellowship, where over the next three years she will continue to develop programs that promote health equity specifically for people who are experiencing homelessness. She currently provides medical, mental health, and substance use treatment to people who are experiencing homelessness at the 63 Preble St clinic as well as medical outreach to people who were formally homeless in the Housing First Locations across the city of Portland.
Jennifer Rogers, NP-C, AAHIVS
Jen Rogers has been caring for people living with HIV and viral hepatitis since 2005. A former member of the Maine HIV Advisory Council and the NE Division of the American Liver Foundation’s Medical Advisory Committee, she holds an HIV Specialist certification with the American Academy of HIV Medicine. Jen is honored to work with her patients at Greater Portland Health.