All Stony Brook Medicine Hospitals Once Again 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

The Stony Brook Medicine healthcare system has once again been recognized by the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) survey of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for the ways in which they address and affirm the specific and unique needs of LGBTQ+ individuals. Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH), Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital (SBSH) and Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital (SBELIH) have been named the HEI “LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leaders” for 2024.

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. All Stony Brook hospitals received the top score of 100 on a survey encompassing non-discrimination and staff training, patient services and support, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement. This is the 17th biennial HEI survey of over 900 facilities nationwide. Stony Brook Medicine received this designation in 2022 as well.

"We are honored to be recognized as LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leaders by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Healthcare Equality Index,” said William A. Wertheim, MD, MBA, Interim Executive Vice President for Stony Brook Medicine. “This recognition reaffirms our unwavering commitment to providing inclusive and equitable care to all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. We stand as advocates for diversity, champions for equality and partners in health for every member of our community."


A common sight throughout Stony Brook Medicine during Pride Month

Continuing to Identify, Support and Advocate for LGBTQ+ Healthcare Needs Across Long Island

In 2023, SBUH scholars published results from Stony Brook Medicine’s LGBTQ+ Health Needs Assessment Survey, a collaborative effort in 2021 involving over 30 Long Island-based organizations and community leaders. The results are being utilized to guide our health system’s efforts to address health equity for the LGBTQ+ community. (See the survey results here:

Since then, SBUH has continued to develop new ways to address and affirm the specific and unique needs of LGBTQ+ individuals. Also in 2023, SBUH updated their electronic medical record to add pronouns to the banner bar, so they’re front and center for healthcare workers. Pronouns are words used to refer to either the person who is talking (like “I” or “you”) or a person being talked about in the third person (like “she/her,” “he/him,” and “they/them”). “They/Them” are common gender neutral pronouns. Being intentional about using someone’s pronouns is a simple way to show respect.

Further, 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. 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, Vice Chair, Behavioral Health, Stony Brook Medicine. The multidisciplinary group is made up of 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.


Stony Brook Medicine LGBTQ+ Committee Co-Chairs, Rose Cardin, MSN, RN; Allison Eliscu, MD, FAAP; Adam Gonzalez, PhD (photo taken pre-COVID)

LGBTQ+ Initiatives at Stony Brook University Hospital and Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

A core mission for SBUH is fostering health equity for both its patients and staff. This past February, SBUH was among the first eight hospitals in the United States to attain the Health Care Equity Certification from The Joint Commission and the only awarded organization on Long Island. Recognition was given to SBUH for implementing exemplary practices, such as employing health equity screening and data collection tools, documenting social work effectively, and making accommodations to meet the needs of patients with disabilities, among other activities.

“This recognition is a testament to the meaningful work carried out at Stony Brook University Hospital each day in support of the LGBTQ+ community on Long Island,” said Carol A. Gomes, chief executive officer for Stony Brook University Hospital. “For decades, our healthcare system has developed programs and offered services to help patients access the highest quality of care, and we want to continue to build on that strong foundation.”

Dr. Bacchi, Dr. Osipoff and Dr. Berg

Dr. Bacchi, Dr. Osipoff and Dr. Berg reprenting Stony Brook Medicine at the PFY Trans Resource Expo

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 a free educational support group for Parents of Transgender and Gender Diverse Children.

LGBTQ+ Initiatives at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital

Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s Rose Walton Care Services has administered HIV prevention and care since the 1990s. In 2021, the hospital expanded services to include LGBTQ+ healthcare and opened the Edie Windsor Healthcare Center in Hampton Bays. The practice has a dedicated, full-time physician, Dr. Eric Lella, and provides confidential medical services in an accessible and caring environment, affirming all sexual orientations and gender identities and expression.

In 2023, SBSH implemented a LGBTQ+ Health Equity and Education initiative focusing on further educating staff in LGBTQ+ health care services, needs and protocols, including pronoun identification. The Edie Windsor Healthcare Center (through a NYSDOH AIDS Institute subcontract with PFY™) expanded mental health and case management services, and the Center introduced patient navigation services to assist with insurance enrollment and access to entitlements/benefits, medical and other supportive services. The Center continues to administer mpox vaccinations to those who have been exposed to mpox or are at risk.

“The HEI Leadership designation recognizes our unyielding commitment to educate our staff in providing high-level LGBTQ+ healthcare with respect,” said Fredric I. Weinbaum, MD, CMO, COO and Interim CAO, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. “As well as our efforts to provide LGBTQ+ patients with access to resources, programs and services.”


Celebrating Pride Month at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital (photo taken pre-COVID)

Further, Stony Brook Southampton’s Hospital’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 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 the hospital’s 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

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. The hospital’s history of service contributed to HEI naming SBELIH a Leader in LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality.


Welcoming LGBTQ+ rainbow flags line the walkway to Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital during Pride Month

SBELIH proudly participated in several initiatives promoting LGBTQ+ health equality. In June 2023, they joined the Greenport Pride Parade, demonstrating Stony Brook’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Collaborating with SBSH Edie Windsor Healthcare Center, SBELIH presented "LGTBQ* and Healthcare: Empowering Health, Embracing Diversity, in Southold NY," underscoring the importance of LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare practices.

Additionally, SBELIH took part in "Queer Pride & Progress” by QUEERLI, in Jamesport NY, an event emphasizing inclusivity and understanding. Discussions covered a range of topics, including gender and sexuality, pronoun usage and fostering a culture of care. SBELIH’s Chief Nursing Officer Suzie Marriott provided impactful contributions to these conversations.

“Ensuring health equity for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is not just a moral imperative but a fundamental aspect of our commitment to compassionate care and inclusivity,” said Paul Connor, Chief Administrative Officer of Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital. “Let's continue to educate ourselves, engage in positive dialogue and respect each other's identities. Together, we can cultivate a world where everyone feels accepted and valued.”

Community Events

SBUH has sponsored community events that provide welcoming and supportive resources for families. These include the following:

  • SBM is a founding partner of events for families at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center in response to survey findings that expressed a need for families and young people to have access to safe spaces and supportive resources. Pride at the Farm is held every June since 2022. Coming Out Day Celebration is held every October since 2021.
  • SBUH was an inaugural event sponsor of the Patchogue Pride Parade in June 2023 and hosted two informational tables and connected with hundreds of eventgoers.
  • Hamptons Pride, sponsored by SBSH, held its first event in 2022.

Find more events at

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. For more information on Stony Brook Medicine’s LGBTQ+ care, visit:

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