The survey will give healthcare providers a better sense of what the LGBTQ community's heath needs are, said Stony Brook Southampton chief administrative officer Bob Chaloner, right, pictured here at the Edie Windsor Healthcare Center in Hampton Bays with Dr. Eric Lella. Courtesy photo: Stony Brook Medicine

Stony Brook Medicine has launched a survey to collect data on the healthcare needs of the LGBTQ community on Long Island to better inform their practice.

The survey is the first of its kind on Long Island. It launched on June 4 and is available until the end of June to complete for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning adults in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The survey is anonymous.

Dr. Allison Eliscu, Stony Brook Medicine’s chief of adolescent medicine and principal investigator of the study, said that the survey’s results will help address gaps in data on the needs of the LGBTQ community both on a national level, and especially on a regional level on Long Island.

“[The survey] gives the opportunity for LGBTQ individuals here in Nassau and Suffolk counties to make their voices heard and really feel empowered in their care; to voice what experiences they’ve had in the healthcare system thus far, whether it was positive or negative experiences and what concerns they have,” Eliscu said.

LGBTQ individuals face certain health disparities, Eliscu said. This includes higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, higher rates of mental health disorders and suicidal ideation, and being less likely to have health insurance. LGBTQ individuals have also experienced discrimination in the doctors office and are also often less comfortable.

With the survey, Stony Brook hopes to learn what resources healthcare providers need to better serve the LGBTQ community. Stony Brook Medicine has already been named a leader in LGBTQ healthcare, with both their hospitals receiving top scores in the National LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Index of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in 2020.

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They also spearheaded LGBTQ healthcare services on Long Island with the Edie Windsor Healthcare Center in Hampton Bays, which provides specialized care for the LGBTQ community and services to people living with HIV/AIDS. Employees at the center are recruited based on their interest in LBGTQ healthcare, according to Southampton Hospital’s chief administrative officer Robert Chaloner.

“By encouraging as many people as possible to do the survey we will be able to get a better sense of what are the health needs of the community and be able to plan and structure the services more precisely than we’ve been able to do in the past,” Chaloner said.

The survey is also being distributed in partnership with more than 20 Long Island based organizations and community leaders who help to support the LGBTQ community and their struggles.

“We will be sharing information back with those organizations so that together we can try to improve access to care and make sure that resources are available,” Eliscu said.

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Alek Lewis
Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.