Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset Recieves TD Bank Grant To Improve Access To Care For Transgender Patients

Published Friday, October 29, 2021

SOMERVILLE, NJ, Oct. 28, 2021 – TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®, recently awarded a $150,000 grant to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s Babs Siperstein PROUD Center to improve access to medical care for members of the LGBTQ+ community with a focus on HIV prevention and mental health. The grant will also help provide funding to ensure more equitable access for transgender individuals of color who face significant barriers to medical care.

“Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset is committed to addressing health care disparities, particularly in the Black and brown and LGBTQ+ communities,” said Tony Cava, president and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset. “This grant will help enhance our efforts to ensure that these underserved populations get the quality medical care that they need and deserve. We are extremely grateful to TD Bank for their investment in improving the health of the most vulnerable in our community.”

Members of the LGBTQ+ community are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as heterosexuals and a greater percentage are uninsured, impacting their ability to get the medical care they need, according to the Human Rights Campaign. About 28 percent of transgender individuals of color have no insurance compared to 8 percent of all U.S. adults.

This gap in care contributes to an increased rate of HIV in Black transgender patients compared to the overall transgender populations. While mental health issues are a major concern for the entire LGBTQ+ community, fewer LGBTQ+ adults of color get diagnosed and treated for mental health issues than the general LGBTQ+ population.

"The medical needs of an LGBTQ+ individual are unique and far too many members of the community face extraordinary barriers to access basic medical care," Michael Carbone, Regional President for Metro Pennsylvania and New Jersey at TD Bank. "We know the support from TD will help the PROUD Center to improve access to care and ultimately improve the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ New Jerseyans."

The Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s Babs Siperstein PROUD Center was the first in New Jersey to offer specialized primary care services for the LGBTQ+ community. Its medical director, Sameh Abdellal, MD, is an infectious disease specialist with extensive experience in caring for patients with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The PROUD Center recently expanded its HIV prevention services with the addition of a Preexposure Prophylactics (PrEP) Counselor who provides education on PrEP and postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) and HIV risk reduction counseling. A therapist from the hospital’s Behavioral Health Services also recently began offering mental health services for patients at the Babs Siperstein PROUD Center. In addition, the center’s patient navigator works closely with patients to address gaps in care and connect patients with hospital and community resources.

Funds from the TD Bank grant will help ensure transgender patients of color have access to HIV prevention and mental health services as well as health care services associated with the transitioning process, including hormone replacement therapy. The grant will also fund Webinars and workshops to educate hospital employees and community members about the unique health care needs of the LGBTQ+ community.

"The TD Ready Commitment, our corporate citizenship platform, is about making the changes necessary to create a more sustainable and inclusive tomorrow," said Shelley Sylva, Head of U.S. Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank. "As part of that, we are committed to supporting organizations and initiatives focused on ensuring more equitable health outcomes for everyone – regardless of how someone identifies. We know the PROUD Center shares that commitment and we are thrilled to support the incredible work they do to improve health care access and outcomes for all."

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has been honored as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign. It earned statewide recognition in 2021 for its efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the Black and brown communities, receiving the NJBiz Healthcare Hero Award for Public Health and the New Jersey Hospital Association’s Healthy New Jersey Award. The hospital also received an “A” national social responsibility grade from the Lown Hospitals Index Awards.

The PROUD Center, named in memory of the late transgender activist Babs Siperstein, opened in 2017 on the hospital’s campus. Appointments are available five days a week, including evening and telehealth appointments. To schedule an appointment, call 855-PROUD-FH. For more information, visit www.rwjbh.org/somersetproud.
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About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset
Located in Somerville, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is a nationally accredited, 353-bed regional hospital providing comprehensive emergency, medical/surgical, behavioral health and rehabilitative services to central New Jersey residents.  As a designated teaching hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the hospital maintains a family medicine residency program with 21 residents.

RWJUH Somerset has earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety including the prestigious Magnet® Award for Nursing Excellence and designation as a “Top Teaching Hospital” by the Leapfrog Group. As the first hospital in New Jersey to offer primary health care services for the LGBTQIA community, RWJUH Somerset has been honored as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign.

The Steeplechase Cancer Center at RWJUH Somerset has been designated as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. RWJBarnabas Health and RWJUH Somerset in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey - the state's only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center - bring a world class team of researchers and specialists to fight alongside you, providing close-to-home access to the latest treatment and clinical trials.
 
About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9.6 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,100 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.td.com/us. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US and www.twitter.com/TDNews_US.

TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol "TD". To learn more, visit www.td.com/us.
 
About the TD Ready Commitment
TD has a long-standing commitment to enriching the lives of its customers, colleagues and communities. As part of its corporate citizenship platform, the TD Ready Commitment, TD is targeting CDN $1 billion (U.S. $775 million) in total by 2030 towards community giving in four areas critical to opening doors for a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow – Financial Security, Vibrant Planet, Connected Communities and Better Health. Through the TD Ready Commitment, TD aspires to link its business, philanthropy and human capital to help people feel more confident - not just about their finances, but also in their ability to achieve their personal goals in a changing world. For further information, visit td.com/tdreadycommitment.