Representatives from CarePoint Health and the Hudson Pride Center, along with Mayor Steven Fulop and Assemblyman Tim Eustace (NJ-38), announced a partnership to expand access to healthcare for the LGBTQ community at Christ Hospital on March 27.

As part of the effort, inclusive policies and procedures for patients and employees will also be developed to ensure best practices. This will include LGBTQ sensitivity and cultural competency training, as well as increasing services to the LGBTQ community.

The announcement was made during national LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, held this year March 26-30, which focused on bringing attention to health care disparities that affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community.

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Jersey City is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, with one of the largest LGBTQ communities in New Jersey, and CarePoint Health seeks to ensure that all of its patients have full access to needed services, a spokesman said.

“Studies show that LGBT individuals have unique healthcare issues and experience certain health challenges at higher rates than the general population,” said Dr. Tucker Woods, Chief Medical Officer at Christ Hospital. “By partnering with Hudson Pride, we will be able to work together to face the challenges and barriers to accessing needed health services.”

Dr. Woods noted that employees at the healthcare system – which also includes Bayonne Medical Center and Hoboken University Medical Center – have formed “CarePoint Pride,” a group to start the work necessary to address the goals and objectives of this alliance with Hudson Pride.

Earlier last month, Hudson Pride temporarily relocated its offices to Christ Hospital until it moves to its new home on Newark Avenue in downtown Jersey City. While located at Christ Hospital, the two organizations saw an opportunity to partner and be leaders for LGBTQ healthcare in New Jersey.

“Hudson Pride is excited to launch this partnership with CarePoint, as we know it will be an opportunity for us to bring important services to thousands of people throughout the area,” said Michael Billy, CEO of Hudson Pride Center. “To understand the disparities and inequalities that the LGBT community face within the healthcare system is the first step.”

“The second step is to create a model for healthcare for the LGBT community that not only addresses the unmet needs we face, but also works to break down these disparities and finally provide proper access to care,” Billy continued.

As part of the partnership, Hudson Pride will conduct an LGBTQ Sensitivity and Cultural Competency Training for all CarePoint Health Emergency Department staff.

The first segment of the workshops will help participants distinguish between the concepts of sex, gender, sexual orientation, sexual behavior, sexual identity and gender expression when discussing issues related to human sexuality.

The training also discusses the social, mental, physical and sexual health trends within the LGBTQ community. It is aimed at making service providers aware of the various health issues disproportionately affecting that population.

Other initiatives being collaborated on are hormone therapy, women’s health, mental health and an overall better connection and referral system between agencies to create the most effective success rate for healthcare needs.

In addition, CarePoint Health and Hudson Pride will be hosting an LGBTQ health fair during Pride Month in August and CarePoint and its health care professionals will be partnering with Hudson Pride on its annual Trans Youth Camp in June.

“Jersey City is one of the most diverse communities in the nation, and our health care system wants to be reflective and welcoming of that diversity,” said Marie Duffy, Chief Hospital Executive for Christ Hospital.

“We know that many people within the LGBTQ community often turn to New York City for care and that is something we want to change,” Duffy continued. “Health care should be something everyone can access directly in their community, and we are proud to be part of this important partnership with Hudson Pride Center.”

“Jersey City has one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the state, and I am proud to stand with our partners at CarePoint Health and Hudson Pride to celebrate another step forward in supporting this community,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.

“From being the first in the state to provide healthcare coverage for transgender public employees, to implementing LGBT sensitivity training for new police officers, Jersey City has been on the forefront of policies and programs aimed at enhancing inclusivity, and we look forward to continuing to further this mission with CarePoint Health,” Fulop added.

About Hudson Pride Center

Hudson Pride Center is the largest and only full-service LGBTQ center in New Jersey. HPC is a home and voice for the diverse LGBTQ community and its allies who advocate for physical, mental, social and political well-being. HPC creates safe and vibrant spaces to gather and celebrate diversity. Hudson Pride Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-governmental, community organization formed in 1993. The center is dedicated to improving not only individual lives, but also the communities served each day through advocacy efforts and an on-going commitment to social and economic justice.