Clara Maass Medical Center has been designated a leader in LGBTQ healthcare by HRC

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Michael Straker, MD, Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at CMMC
Michael Straker, MD, Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at CMMC, says that “culturally competent” care to LGBTQ patients is important.

New Jersey hospital partners with LGBTQ community

What’s been the key to your success in engaging the LGBTQ community?

A genuine focus on acceptance. Our goal is to provide a safe and comfortable environment to receive quality care without fear of judgment.

How do you and your staff approach care for LGBTQ patients?

We always want to be certain we are providing compassionate care, but we’re also able to address some of the misconceptions that some folks may have. For example, lesbian women may be less likely to look for preventive services for cervical cancer due to their perceived lower risk. However, their risk is very similar to that of heterosexual women.

Are there challenges or issues for LGBTQ patients?

Feeling disenfranchised and not having a voice in the medical field, they may not go to a doctor when recommended or they may skip care altogether. So, we just want to make sure that we can address any issue that they may have—even things like obesity—that may not fall into the purview specifically for OB/GYN care. We always strive to work holistically and focus on the person, not only on organ systems.

How does CMMC act as a partner to the LGBTQ community?

As part of its LGBTQ outreach, Clara Maass Medical Center frequently partners with Bloomfield Pride, a volunteer education and advocacy community group. “CMMC reached out to us about a year ago to learn about the work we do and tell us more about their initiatives,” says Tobias Wilson, co-chair of Bloomfield Pride. “Since then, we’ve partnered on a number of events, including a fundraiser for the RAIN Foundation, which helps homeless LGBTQ adolescents [in East Orange and greater Newark], a community dinner and conversation about addiction in the LGBTQ community, and our annual pride picnic. The power of a community hospital openly identifying itself as an LGBTQ friendly medical center cannot be overstated.”

To learn about programs and services at CMMC for the LGBTQ community, call 888-724-7123 or visit rwjbh.org/claramaass. To learn about Bloomfield Pride, visit bloomfieldpride.org.