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NYC Health + Hospitals partner IHI to launche comprehensive LGBTQ+ mental health training program

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NYC Health + Hospitals’ Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has joined forces with the Institute for Human Identity (IHI) to introduce the “LGBTQ+ Mental Health Training Project.”

This innovative three-month clinical training program aims to enhance the skills and knowledge of mental health professionals within the health system, fostering the ability to provide affirming therapy to LGBTQ+ patients.

IHI, renowned as the nation’s pioneer in LGBTQ+-affirming psychotherapy, brings over fifty years of expertise to this collaboration.

The program addresses the distinctive mental health challenges and disparities faced by LGBTQ+ communities, emphasizing the mitigation of social stigma, minority stress, and discrimination experienced by patients with multiple marginalized identities.

Ivelesse Mendez-Justiniano, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at NYC Health + Hospitals, expressed the significance of this training in advancing gender and health equity.

Co-Deputy Chief Medical Officer Omar Fattal highlighted the commitment to providing respectful and dignified care, ensuring mental health clinical staff possess the knowledge necessary for affirming patient care.

Tara Lombardo, Executive Director of IHI, praised the collaboration for supporting LGBTQ+ mental health and wellness across New York City.

The training, delivered in small groups, challenges participants to examine unconscious biases, promoting self-reflection on attitudes toward sexual and gender diversity.

The program equips providers with skills to offer culturally-responsive behavioral health care to LGBTQ+ patients, emphasizing culturally‐responsive knowledge, LGBTQ+‐affirming psychotherapeutic principles, and affirming therapy practices.

The achievement of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation by all 18 eligible facilities in 2022 and the recognition of all five long-term care facilities as LGBTQ+ Long-Term Care Equality Leaders in 2023 attest to NYC Health + Hospitals’ ongoing commitment.

With seven Pride Health Centers strategically located across the city, the health system provides dedicated spaces for individuals of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

Specifically tailored LGBTQ+ services for youth and adolescents are available at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Judson Health Center in Manhattan.

Since becoming the first public healthcare system in the U.S. to mandate a Cultural Competence Training program in 2011, NYC Health + Hospitals has consistently demonstrated its commitment to providing respectful and culturally competent healthcare services.

The system continues to offer monthly systemwide Achieving Health Equity for LGBTQ+ People training, reinforcing its dedication to delivering equitable care to LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.

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