LGBT health center will move and expand in Somerset County

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Michellene Davis, Executive VP and Chief External Affairs Officer, RWJ/Barnabas Health; Trina Parks, Senior VP and Corporate Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, RWJ/Barnabas Health; Salvatore Moffa, MD, Chief Medical Officer, RWJ University Hospital Somerset; Aaron Potenza, director of Programs, Garden State Equality; Shereef Ehnahal, MD, MBA, NJ Commissioner of Health; Tony Cava, President, RWJ University Hospital Somerset; Somerville Mayor Ellen Brain; Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, and Jackie Cornell, Principal Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Services
Michellene Davis, Executive VP and Chief External Affairs Officer, RWJ/Barnabas Health; Trina Parks, Senior VP and Corporate Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, RWJ/Barnabas Health; Salvatore Moffa, MD, Chief Medical Officer, RWJ University Hospital Somerset; Aaron Potenza, director of Programs, Garden State Equality; Shereef Ehnahal, MD, MBA, NJ Commissioner of Health; Tony Cava, President, RWJ University Hospital Somerset; Somerville Mayor Ellen Brain; Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, and Jackie Cornell, Principal Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Services
New location will allow for more staff and expansion of LGBT services

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Somerset is the first hospital in New Jersey that offers specialized primary health care services for the LGBT community. Yesterday, they announced an expansion of the PROUD Family Health center. PROUD Family Health will move this summer to a new larger space in the Somerville area with expanded hours and additional staff.

RWJ/Barnabas staff said they are excited about the expansion. The move will allow increased access to medical specialists for the LGBT community in a local health care setting. PROUD opened in January 2017 in the hospital’s Somerset Family Practice. It provides services tailored to meet the unique health care needs of the LGBT community in a safe, supportive environment.

Services include primary medical care for children and adults, hormone therapy and monitoring, HIV care, health education, counseling, support groups and referrals for specialty services such as behavioral health services.

New Jersey’s Commissioner of Health Shereef Elnahal attended the press briefing

The announcement was made during a visit by New Jersey’s new Commissioner of Health. Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal attended the press briefing in Somerville to promote LGBT health during LGBT Pride month.  She toured PROUD Family Health and met with many patients and care providers.

“Providing high quality, culturally competent healthcare to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is a priority of the Murphy Administration, and I want to commend the staff and leadership at the PROUD Family Health and at RWJ Somerset for launching and expanding this important and exceptional center,” Commissioner Elnahal said.

“I learned a lot from the patients and staff today about the importance of delivering unbiased, compassionate and clinically appropriate services they need and deserve,” said the Commissioner, who spent part of the meeting in a roundtable discussion with PROUD staff and consumers. “For far too long, LGBT health — especially the unique healthcare needs of our transgender residents — has been an afterthought in the health care community. The services provided at the PROUD Family Health are an example worthy of replicating.”

The new space is just across the hall

The center’s new space will be in a dedicated office suite just across the hall from its current location on the hospital’s campus. It is currently open Mondays from 6-9 pm. They  will now offer appointments three full days a week. In addition, the hospital is hiring an advanced practice nurse for the center and a patient navigator who will help connect patients with the resources they need and conduct community outreach and health education.

RWJ/Barnabas Health is acknowledged as “Leaders in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the LGBT civil rights organization. RWJ/Barnabas facilities earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria in securing the health care the LGBT community in a respectful environment.

The name for PROUD Family Health derives from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s PROUD Business Resource Group. It is a group of employees at the hospital who help create a positive working environment for LGBT employees. They also lead LGBT outreach and advocacy efforts. PROUD stands for Promoting Respect, Outreach, Understanding and Dignity.

For more information about PROUD Family Health or to schedule an appointment, call 855-776-8334. To learn more about Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, visit rwjbh.org/somerset.

rwjbh.org/lgbtq