Transgender and gender non-binary New Jerseyans often experience discrimination and misunderstanding from health care providers. And they have a strong desire for a health provider that can deliver diverse services in a compassionate and respectful setting.
So said a recent Community Health Needs Assessment by Bergen New Bridge Medical Center.
Bergen New Bridge CEO Deborah Visconi said the medical center is determined to do something about that.
Earlier this week, Bergen New Bridge had a grand opening for its new LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Center.
“This center is a safe place where LGBTQ+ individuals can access care, testing and education in a welcoming, supportive, equitable and stigma-free environment,” Visconi said. “Our goal is to connect members of that community with medical and mental health services in one convenient location.”
The LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Center is located on the second floor of the medical center in Paramus.
- Primary care services;
- Mental health services;
- Substance abuse services;
- Endocrinology services;
- Sexually Transmitted Infection screenings & treatment;
- HIV/AIDS testing, and treatment & prevention, including PREP and PEP;
- Care coordination.
Christian Fuscarino, the executive director of Garden State Equality, was one of numerous key stakeholders who joined elected officials and hospital administrators at the event.
She praised Visconi for being a longtime partner ally.
“(Bergen New Bridge is) providing services to the LGBTQ population and creating the first-of-its-kind center in Bergen County providing a spectrum of critical health care services at a time when they are most needed,” he said.
Ray Welsh, a longtime LGBTQ advocate and representative from Buddies of NJ, said the opening is a landmark day.
“It is reassuring to finally have a place to go to for health care in a place you feel comfortable and know you are wanted,” he said.
Visconi said she simply is helping Bergen New Bridge continue its legacy.
“Bergen New Bridge Medical Center has a proud history of servicing the disparate needs of the LGBTQ+ community,” she said. “This new health and wellness center is the natural evolution of our commitment to this underserved population.”
Kristen Muldowney, Bergen New Bridge’s chief administrative officer, said the center is eager to earn the trust of the community.
“We thank the LGBTQ community for trusting us to provide their health and wellness needs and believing in us to do it with compassion, respect and a true dedication to delivering high-quality, personalized care,” she said. “By embracing diversity, we strengthen our understanding of equity and inclusion and help create a world that appreciates the value and importance of every person.”
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco praised the efforts of Bergen New Bridge, the largest medical center in the state.
“The LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Center is a testament to the medical center’s leadership and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and I could not be prouder of this dedication,” he said.
“Today demonstrates once again that the doors to Bergen New Bridge Medical Center are open for everybody and never closed. This is everyone’s home, and all are welcome and cared for with respect, dignity, and compassion.”
Reach the LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Center by phone at 201-225-7130.