Stony Brook Medicine (SBM) has released key findings from its 2021 LGBTQ+ health needs survey.
The study reveals critical health insights about Long Island’s LGBTQ+ adults (18 years and older), such as:
- 43.6% of the 1,150 respondents rated themselves as being in fair to poor mental health
- 33.5% had thoughts of self-harm and
- 23.9% had seriously considered suicide within the past 3 years.
More than a third of those who participated in the study indicated they were suffering from moderate to severe anxiety and/or depression. The survey further revealed that demographic groups, such as transgender people, respondents who are gender nonconforming, low income, young adult, Black, and Asian reported experiencing an even higher prevalence of behavioral health concerns including intentional self-harm.
The survey represents the collaborative efforts of Stony Brook Medicine, in partnership with more than 30 Long Island-based organizations and community leaders who reach Long Island’s diverse LGBTQ+ community through advocacy and providing programs and services.
“Quantitative information on the healthcare needs of LGBTQ+ persons is severely limited both regionally and nationally,” said Harold L. Paz, MD, MS, Executive Vice President of Health Sciences and Chief Executive Officer, Stony Brook University Medicine. “This study provides vital data that can shape the future of LGBTQ+ healthcare in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.”
“The LGBTQ+ Health Needs Survey findings give voice to members of Long Island’s LGBTQ+ community about their healthcare experiences and challenges,” said Robert S. Chaloner, Chief Administrative Officer, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, which along with Stony Brook Medicine, oversees the Edie Windsor Healthcare Center that provides LGBTQ+ healthcare services in addition to HIV/AIDs treatment and prevention services. “These insights are critical to Long Island’s healthcare and social service providers, government officials and public health workers in their efforts to expand and improve programs and advocacy efforts.”
“The top three issues cited by the survey’s respondents were access to behavioral health resources, training healthcare providers about LGBTQ+ health needs, and access to health insurance that addresses LGBTQ+ needs,” said Allison H. Eliscu, MD, Medical Director of the Adolescent LGBTQ+ Care Program at Stony Brook Medicine, and Principal Investigator of the study. “Respondents also cited violence, bullying, and harassment as critical issues facing the community.”
“Long Island’s LGBTQ+ community is diverse. This survey’s findings provide detailed analysis of the respondents’ healthcare experiences, challenges and concerns, and great insight into the intersectionality of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, and income status,” said Gregson H. Pigott, MD, MPH, Commissioner, Suffolk County Department of Health Services. “These insights provide a foundation to better understand and serve the LGBTQ+ community, moving towards health equity.”
The LGBTQ+ Health Needs Survey was conducted online and open to all LGBTQ+ adults age 18 years and older, including individuals questioning their identity, who resided in either Nassau or Suffolk Counties or attended college, university or technical school on Long Island during the period of the survey. The survey was anonymous and launched in June 2021 during Pride Month and concluded on September 30, 2021. For some of the measures, the survey respondents’ experiences significantly varied by group (age, sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, and income) within the context of the larger LGBTQ+ community. To review the survey findings as well as access a list of LGBTQ+ resources, visit stonybrookmedicine.edu.
The need for the LGBTQ+ Health Needs Survey became clear as Stony Brook Medicine began planning, with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, for the expansion of the Edie Windsor Healthcare Center to better serve the healthcare needs of Long Island’s LGBTQ+ community. Located in Hampton Bays, the Center’s mission is to provide compassionate and quality healthcare to the LGBTQ+ community in a culturally sensitive, safe environment.
In response to the study, Stony Brook Medicine is rolling out a multi-faceted effort to respond to the key findings. Current efforts include:
Clinical and support services
- Distributing a Directory of Stony Brook Medicine LGBTQ+ Care Providers available in print and online (https://www.stonybrookmedicine.edu/LGBTQ)
- Offering private mammography screenings by SBM’s mobile mammography unit with staff trained in LGBTQ+ cultural sensitivity
- Implementing expanded LGBTQ+ cultural sensitivity training for health providers, medical trainees, and community based organizations
- Expanding behavioral health support group offerings for adolescents and young adults
- Using data to support funding requests for expanded addiction treatment and prevention services and mental health services
- Expanding access and promotion of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV transmission
- Planning a multidisciplinary adolescent gender-affirming care clinic
Training for regional healthcare staff, students and trainees
- Expanding sensitivity training across the entire healthcare system
- Addition of LGBTQ+material to the medical student and residents’ curricula
- Providing partners and other organizations access to data sets
- Creating a plan to publish community data and share it with other professionals at professional meetings
Community Engagement and Collaboration
- Sponsoring family-friendly events for the LGBTQ+ community, such as the October 11, 2022 Coming Out Day Celebration at the Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank and the first ever Pride Parade in East Hampton
Additionally, Stony Brook Medicine and The Edie Windsor Healthcare Center have:
- Operated as the East End’s monkeypox vaccination site administering over 2000 vaccinations to date
- Expanded Sexually Transmitted Disease counseling and testing services, including providing support for those without the ability to pay
- Received a grant, along with community partner LI for Youth, to expand counseling services for LGBTQ+ young people
- Increased mental health counseling services with an on-site Licensed Clinical Social Worker
- Led hospital-wide campaign to train patient-facing staff to ask patients for the name they and pronoun they use
About Stony Brook Medicine
Stony Brook Medicine integrates and elevates all of Stony Brook University’s health-related initiatives: education, research and patient care. It includes five Health Sciences schools — Dental Medicine, Health Technology and Management, Medicine, Nursing and Social Welfare — as well as Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and more than 200 community-based healthcare settings throughout Suffolk County. To learn more, visit stonybrookmedicine.edu.
About The Edie Windsor Healthcare Center
The Edie Windsor Healthcare Center provides comprehensive outpatient medical and mental health care to LGBTQ+ individuals. Rose Walton Care Services at the Edie Windsor Healthcare Center offers HIV testing and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS. Most private insurance plans, Medicare, Medicaid and ADAP Plus are accepted. No one is denied care for lack of financial resources.