All Stony Brook Medicine Hospitals Named National Leaders in LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality

LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader

All Stony Brook Medicine hospitals received the top score of 100 on this year’s annual HEI survey

Each year, the Stony Brook Medicine healthcare system seeks new ways to address and affirm the specific and unique needs of LGBTQ+ individuals. Now these efforts have been recognized in a big way, by the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) survey of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The HEI survey serves as the national LGBTQ+ benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees.

In this year’s 15th annual HEI survey of over 900 facilities nationwide, Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH), which includes Stony Brook Children’s Hospital; along with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital (SBSH); and Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital (SBELIH) were all among a select group of healthcare providers nationwide who earned the designation of “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader” for 2022. All Stony Brook Medicine hospitals received the top score of 100 on the survey, which encompasses non-discrimination and staff training, patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement.

“Year after year Stony Brook’s LGBTQ+ Committee is committed to providing high quality, equitable care to our LGBTQ+ community in Suffolk County,” said Hal Paz, MD, Executive Vice President, Health Sciences, Stony Brook University and Chief Executive Officer, Stony Brook University Medicine. “I am proud of the entire Stony Brook Medicine healthcare system’s collective efforts and hard work to achieve this recognition.”


A common sight throughout Stony Brook Medicine during Pride Month
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Suzie Marriott, MS, RN, PMH-BC, couldn’t agree more. She is the Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services at Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital. "I am so proud of our entire Stony Brook Medicine team of hospitals for receiving this accolade and joining an elite group of facilities that provide care to members of the LGBTQ+ community, who often avoid seeking care because of fear of discrimination,” said Marriott. “Being compassionate and allowing a person to explore how they want to be known is key to initiating a safe and respectful relationship. In our adolescent units in particular, creating this safe environment can help facilitate a teen exploring their feelings and experiences of gender identity, if this is what is needed. Our team also knows how important it is to embark on family work — to ensure there’s a supportive environment at home,” she added.

Identifying, Supporting and Advocating for LGBTQ+ Healthcare Needs Across Long Island

In 2021, Stony Brook Medicine realized there was scarce quantitative information available both nationally and regionally on the healthcare needs of LGBTQ+ persons. As a result, Stony Brook collaborated with more than 30 Long Island-based organizations and community leaders to reach all sectors of the LGBTQ+ community to complete the LGBTQ+ Health Needs Assessment Survey, launched during Pride Month in June 2021. The survey aimed to provide Long Island’s LGBTQ+ community with an opportunity to express their healthcare needs so Stony Brook Medicine and its partners can better support them and advocate on their behalf. By the end of September 2021, a total of 1,150 participants completed the survey. Survey results will be released in Summer 2022.

Stony Brook Medicine continues to grow its dynamic LGBTQ+ Committee, amongst all of its hospitals, to address the needs of the LGBTQ+ community, including patients, faculty, staff and trainees.


Stony Brook Medicine LGBTQ+ Committee Co-Chairs, Rose Cardin, MSN, RN; Allison Eliscu, MD, FAAP; Adam Gonzalez, PhD (photo taken pre-COVID)
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LGBTQ+ Initiatives at Stony Brook University Hospital, including Children’s Hospital

The Stony Brook Medicine LGBTQ+ Committee is co-chaired by three SBUH-affiliated colleagues: Rose Cardin, MSN, RN, Director, Patient Education, Stony Brook University Hospital; Allison Eliscu, MD, FAAP, Chief, Adolescent Medicine, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital; and Adam Gonzalez, PhD, Director, Behavioral Health, Stony Brook Medicine. The multidisciplinary group includes medical and behavioral health providers and trainees, nurses, students, education specialists, and representatives from Human Resources, Information Technology and hospital administration. Its mission is to review, address and affirm the specific and unique needs of LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as promote respectful and culturally sensitive care to the LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTQ+ Initiatives at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital


Guests join Judith Windsor (blue shirt) in celebrating the naming of the Edie Windsor Healthcare Center for LGBTQ+ services (photo taken pre-COVID)
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In May 2021, SBSH’s Edie Windsor Healthcare Center, (formerly the David E. Rogers, MD Center) which has provided care for the LGBTQ+ community and those with HIV since the 1990s, moved to its new location in Hampton Bays to better serve the LGBTQ+ community. The practice, which cares for LGBTQ+ patients and continues to treat patients with HIV, has a dedicated, full-time physician, Dr. Eric Lella, and specializes in providing confidential medical services in an accessible and caring environment regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

“The Edie Windsor Healthcare Center supports the right of every member of the LGBTQ+ community to receive world-class clinical care in a compassionate environment that is culturally sensitive to the specific needs of the individual,” said Robert S. Chaloner, Chief Administrative Officer of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.


Celebrating Pride Month at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital (photo taken pre-COVID)
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Stony Brook Southampton’s Diversity Leadership Council, a committee of 25 administrators, physicians, nurses, and other staff, actively educates, informs, and provides resources for the wider hospital community about diversity issues while seeking opportunities to build an inclusive and safe environment for all who work in, seek care at, or visit hospital facilities. To foster a sense of inclusion and compassion for all, the hospital has provided training to staff through the Responding to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) program and the Greater New York Hospital Association’s Cultural Competency and Health Literacy education programs.

LGBTQ+ Initiatives at Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital


Welcoming LGBTQ+ rainbow flags line the walkway to Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital during Pride Month
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Upon reviewing HEI recommendations and criteria to better understand the behavioral health and medical needs of its local LGBTQ+ community, SBELIH revised human resource and hospital wide policies, employee documents, terminology in medical records and facility signage. The changes enhanced SBELIH’s already strong focus on providing non-discriminatory and compassionate care. With a long history of serving the LGBTQ+ community, SBELIH continues to add clinicians and other staff members who specialize in LGBTQ+ care. For example, John Batterman, a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor, has counseled LGBTQ+ patients in recovery throughout his 27-year tenure.

“Providing gender affirming care is a cultural and organizational shift, and we have made that shift,” said Paul Connor, Chief Administrative Officer of Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital. “To create an organization that is truly welcoming to LGBTQ+ patients, we engaged every department, from clinical care to medical records.”

To learn more about how Stony Brook Medicine addresses the needs of the LGBTQ+ community, including patients, faculty, staff and trainees, please watch this video.

Stony Brook Medicine offers a range of specialized LGBTQ+ health services including a Talking About Gender (TAG) support group for teens ages 13-19 to explore gender identity and expression, and learn ways to deal with stress. For more information on Stony Brook Medicine’s LGBTQ+ care, visit: