State Department of Health Celebrates Pride Month and Strives to Eliminate Disparities Faced By LGBTQ+ New Yorkers

The Department Celebrates the Contributions of the LGBTQ+ Community and Advances its Commitment to Health Equity

Transgender Clinical Scholars Training Program to Recruit and Train Health Professionals to Deliver Transgender Primary Care Services

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 1, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health is celebrating the official kickoff to Pride Month this June and continues to advance its commitment to health equity among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender-non-conforming New Yorkers. Pride month is an annual celebration that recognizes the many contributions made by LGBTQ+ communities, and the work that still needs to be done to promote the rights of every individual to live their fullest, most authentic lives. It is the Department's ongoing mission to engage with community members, health care networks and community-based providers to target public health and health care solutions and create a more compassionate, equitable New York.

"Pride month is a time to celebrate the vibrant individuals that form New York's diverse LGBTQ+ communities," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said."Pride is a time to uplift the voices of our LGBTQ+ members and honor the trailblazers who paved the way for equal rights. The LGBTQ+ rights movement started right here in New York, and that's something to be proud of. This Department remains dedicated to safeguarding diversity, and we will continue to engage with community partners to best promote and protect the rights of all New Yorkers."

During the month ahead and beyond, the Department will continue its work to raise awareness for the unique health disparities and critical gaps in care that continue to face LGBTQ+ communities. In an effort to address a crucial shortage of medically trained personnel willing and competent to address Transgender health care in New York, the AIDS Institute is implementing a pilot Transgender Clinical Scholars Training Program. The purpose of this pilot program is to recruit and train health professionals to deliver Transgender primary care and other services to the underserved members of the Transgender and transitioning community. Clinical training will draw on the recognized expertise of several medical providers and institutions within the State currently serving the Transgender community. The goal of the program is to expand the cadre of leaders in the field of Transgender health care who will attract others to this discipline and ensure the future of Transgender health care in New York State.

These efforts build upon New York's commitment to LGBTQ+ communities. Last year's, Governor Hochul's enacted FY 2023 Budget included $13.5 million for the Department of Health. This was an unprecedented increase of $8 million over the prior fiscal year, more than doubling funding, and serves to support the LGBTQ+ communities and network of providers with direct health services, cultural competency education and training, organizational capacity building and transgender wellness initiatives.

To further identify emerging health needs, the LGBT Health and Human Services Network which receives the above funding, in collaboration with TRX Development Solutions, also released the latest 2021 Needs Assessment Survey report. Highlighting these trends will inform the Department's programmatic priorities and help identify crucial gaps in care that are the core of disparities faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

The report's major takeaways include disparities identified in needs, access, and health outcomes in the LGBTQ+ communities; patterns of privilege and health inequities that mirror overall American society; intersectional discrimination related to needs, access, and outcomes of services; and the need to address urgent mental health needs and the impact to overall health and quality of life for LGBTQ+ individuals in New York State.

"Health equity remains at the core of everything we do at the Department of Health," Office of Health Equity and Human Rights Deputy Commissioner Johanne Morne said. "It's our continued mission, and my personal passion, to serve the people of New York and reach all communities. Pride month is a time for reflection on the progress we've made to promote and protect the health and human rights of LGBTQ+ New Yorkers, and to look forward to the work that still lies ahead. Everyone deserves the right to dignity, respect, and compassionate care."

Monitoring these trends and identifying new ones will allow the Department to continue its mission to dismantle barriers to equitable health care to underserved populations as the Department continues to develop programmatic initiatives centered around the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ communities. 

The State Department of Health AIDS Institute is a large part of this effort. Since 1994, the AIDS Institute has forged an unprecedented history of community response and dedicating resources specifically for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers. These initiatives, developed with community involvement, support a holistic approach to overall LGBTQ+ physical and mental wellbeing and needs.

In 2008, in a cooperative effort with the Department's Center for Community Health, the AIDS Institute developed the LGBTQ+ Health and Human Services Unit to address the non-HIV related health disparities of LGBTQ+ individuals in New York State. This initiative supports improved access to health care and supportive services, improving health outcomes and quality of life for LGBTQ+ individuals, capacity building, and increasing community awareness of the health and human service needs of LGBTQ+ communities across New York State.

The AIDS Institute has also awarded multi-year funding to Trillium Health (Mocha Center) in Rochester and Evergreen Health Services in Buffalo to address crystal methamphetamine use among men who have sex with men (MSM) primarily aimed at supporting Black and Brown men in Upstate NY. Additionally, the University of Rochester will receive funds to begin a research pilot study to focus on the outcomes of crystal methamphetamine use among Black MSM across New York State.

This year, the Department launched its 2023 multimedia mpox vaccine campaign, urging eligible New Yorkers to start or complete their two-dose mpox vaccine series. In support of this effort, The AIDS Institute is also providing funding to community service providers to support delivery of community-based services to build knowledge and awareness of mpox in affected communities and build access to mpox services including testing, treatment, and vaccination to increase detection of mpox cases and reduce further transmission. Programming focuses on populations that have been disproportionately affected, with an emphasis on BIPOC communities.

The campaign messaging is further backed by a Department-led vaccine effectiveness study that found getting two doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine offered maximum protection against mpox.

To learn more about the Department's AIDS Institute programs and priorities, visit AIDS Institute (

For more information about the Department's Office of LGBTQ Services initiatives and LGBTQ healthcare resources, e-mail

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