FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 05, 2014
HHC Opens New Health Center at Metropolitan Hospital That Tailors Care to LGBT Community
Comprehensive health center aims to remove barriers to care for underserved lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population
||(l-r) Medical Director of the Metropolitan LGBT Health Center Dr. Nadia Duvilaire;
patient Christopher Leo Daniels; HHC President Dr. Ram Raju;
and Executive Director of Metropolitan Hospital Meryl Weinberg.
New York, NY — New York City Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC) officials today announced the opening of a new health center in East Harlem that will aim to remove barriers to care for New York City's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults. The Comprehensive LGBT Health Center at HHC's Metropolitan Hospital will provide primary, preventive and specialty care by a team of professionals who are specially trained to manage the health care needs of the LGBT community. The hospital is designated as a "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality" by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and has earned top marks for its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients and their families. HHC President Dr. Ram Raju and Metropolitan Hospital Executive Director Meryl Weinberg were joined by patients and community advocates to mark the opening of the health center located in the hospital campus at 1901 First Avenue and 97th Street in Manhattan.
"HHC strives to ensure that all patients are treated with respect and receive patient-centered and culturally sensitive healthcare. This specialized clinic will provide an environment where patients feel welcome and comfortable, and it will serve as a center of excellence to share best practices and spread understanding across our system," said Dr. Raju. "Our goal is to reduce barriers to healthcare so all New Yorkers can access the health services they need at any point of care in our system and without hesitation."
"LGBT patients often face significant challenges in securing adequate healthcare, and many delay medical care and limit information they share with healthcare providers out of fear of discrimination and uncomfortable environments," said Meryl Weinberg, Executive Director of Metropolitan Hospital Center. "Our team is committed to providing comprehensive and inclusive services that address the physical and mental health needs of all of our patients with sensitivity and respect. We have already been designated as a leader in LGBT healthcare, which makes us uniquely qualified to provide these services to the LGBT patients we already serve, as well as to our staff and the larger community."
"Before coming to the Comprehensive LGBT Health Center, I hadn't had a proper checkup in years," said Christopher Leo Daniels, who lives in Upper Manhattan. "I was one of those people who avoided doctors and hospitals, especially after having to explain my sexuality to doctors who made me feel uncomfortable and judged. The staff at Metropolitan erased any anxiety and concerns I had, and were supportive from the time I arrived to the time I left. For the first time, I felt truly cared for in a medical setting. I felt respected and was treated as a collaborator in my own healthcare."
The Metropolitan Hospital Comprehensive LGBT Center will be staffed by primary care physicians, nurses, health educators, patient advocates, and other healthcare professionals who have been working across disciplines, and in conjunction with community based organizations and patients, to ensure that the center meets the needs of LGBT patients.
Services include men's health, OB/GYN and women's health, trans/affirmative care, senior health, HIV screening and treatment, infectious disease risk reduction and prevention, family planning, specialty immunizations, addiction counseling and rehabilitation services, behavioral health services, community-specific support groups, art therapy groups, referrals and other specialty service linkages, as well as LGBT cultural competence organizational training.
In 2011, HHC became the first public healthcare system in the United States to mandate a Cultural Competence Training program for staff. The program was designed to teach staff to provide respectful, patient-centered and culturally competent healthcare services to LGBT New Yorkers who are served by the public hospitals, community health centers and nursing homes each year. Part of the training included a video "To Treat Me, You Have to Know Who I Am," to help staff better understand LGBT patients to improve access to healthcare and help reduce health disparities related to sexual orientation and gender identification. HHC continues to offer staff training sessions to secure the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) designation "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality" for other hospitals and health centers in the system.
The Metropolitan Hospital Comprehensive LGBT Health Center is located at 1901 First Avenue at 97th Street, 4th Floor. It is open Saturdays, from 9 AM to 5 PM, by appointment only. To schedule an appointment or speak with a member of the LGBT Health Center staff, patients and families can contact 212-423-7292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.