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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals Partners with the Institute for Human Identity to Deliver Advanced Training in LGBTQ+-Affirming Therapy

The three-month, comprehensive program will strengthen NYC Health + Hospitals mental health providers’ skills in culturally-responsive behavioral healthcare for LGBTQ+ patients

Jan 03, 2024

NYC Health + Hospitals’ Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has partnered with the Institute for Human Identity (IHI) to develop and deliver the “LGBTQ+ Mental Health Training Project,” an advanced clinical training program for the health system’s mental health professionals aimed at building their clinical knowledge and skills to provide affirming therapy to LGBTQ+ patients. IHI is the nation’s first and longest-running provider of LGBTQ+-affirming psychotherapy. Augmenting NYC Health + Hospitals’ robust services in LGBTQ+-affirming healthcare, the comprehensive, three-month-long program acknowledges and addresses the unique mental health challenges and health disparities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-binary, gender diverse, asexual, intersex, queer, and other patients identified with LGBTQ+ communities. Most importantly, the program focuses on mitigating the impacts of social stigma, minority stress—a particularly harmful form of psycho-emotional stress affecting many LGBTQ+ people­­––and the intersectional experiences of discrimination and violence on LGBTQ+ patients with multiple marginalized identities related to race, ethnicity, documented status, socio-economic status, ability, and others. This collaboration builds on existing trainings and the health system’s long-standing commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, including its seven Pride Health Centers, which are dedicated spaces where people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities can access individual care with respect and dignity.

“As we continue to focus on gender and health equity across our system, this training will serve as a valuable tool; ensuring we continue to provide the highest level of affirming care to our LGBTQ+ patients receiving behavioral health services” said Ivelesse Mendez-Justiniano, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at NYC Health + Hospitals.

“NYC Health + Hospitals continues to lead the way in ensuring our staff have the education and skills needed to serve LGBTQ+ patients,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Co-Deputy Chief Medical Officer and System Chief of Behavioral Health Omar Fattal, MD, MPH. “Across the system, and in Behavioral Health in particular, we are committed to providing care that will treat our patients with respect and dignity. This training will ensure our mental health clinical staff have the knowledge to provide the affirming care that our patients need and deserve.”

“For over fifty years, IHI has been a leading provider of LGBTQ+-affirming professional mental health services for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities as well as a pioneering clinical training organization,” said IHI Executive Director Tara Lombardo, LMHC. “IHI has trained hundreds of psychotherapists from various professional backgrounds and clinical orientations. Collaborating with NYC Health + Hospitals provides us not only with the opportunity to share our clinical knowledge and perspectives with a wider group of professional therapists but, most importantly, it allows us to support LGBTQ+ mental health and wellness across New York City more broadly.” 

The training will be delivered in small groups and will challenge participants to examine and reflect upon their own unconscious biases, assumptions, and negative attitudes about sexual and gender diversity. The project will equip providers with skills and competencies to offer high-quality, culturally-responsive behavioral health care to LGBTQ+ patients. Learners who complete the training will build capacity in gaining culturally‐responsive knowledge, integrating LGBTQ+‐affirming psychotherapeutic principles, and practicing LGBTQ+‐affirming therapy. 

All 18 of NYC Health + Hospitals’ eligible facilities earned the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” designation in 2022 — a recognition the health system has received every year since 2015. To earn this, facilities must train staff in LGBTQ+ health care, have LGBTQ+ responsive policies, and make those policies available to the public and staff. Additionally, in 2023, all five of NYC Health + Hospitals’ Long-Term care facilities were recognized as LGBTQ+ Long-Term Care Equality Leaders by the Human Rights Campaign and SAGE serving as testament to the health system’s commitment to providing equitable care to LGBTQ+ adults in their long-term care facilities.

The health system has seven Pride Health Centers:

  • NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue
  • NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi
  • NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Gouverneur
  • NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Judson
  • NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
  • NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan
  • NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull

LGBTQ+ services specifically tailored for youth and adolescents can be found at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Judson Health Center at 34 Spring St. in Manhattan.

In 2011, NYC Health + Hospitals became the first public healthcare system in the United States to mandate a Cultural Competence Training program for staff. The program was designed to teach staff to provide respectful, patient-centered and culturally competent healthcare services to LGBTQ+ New Yorkers who are served by the public hospitals, community health centers and nursing homes each year. NYC Health + Hospitals continues to offer staff training sessions for all staff in the system, including its monthly systemwide Achieving Health Equity for LGBTQ+ People training.



MEDIA CONTACT: Press Office, 212-788-3339

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About the Institute for Human Identity
The Institute for Human Identity (IHI) is the nation’s first and longest-running provider of LGBTQ+-affirming psychotherapy. Based in New York City, IHI provides affirming professional mental health services to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. For over 50 years, IHI has fought for and supported the mental health of people in LGBTQ+ communities while respecting and fostering their unique identities. In the early 1970s, IHI’s founders were instrumental in the successful fight to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In addition to professional mental health services, IHI provides clinical training to the next generation of LGBTQ+-affirming mental health clinicians and culturally-responsive continuing education and consultation to professionals and organizations. For more information about IHI or its services, visit www.ihitherapy.org and follow @IHITherapy on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter/X, and LinkedIn. Contact us directly at outreach@ihitherapy.org.