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Jefferson Health Launches Trailblazing LGBTQ+ Elderly Care Program

Written by : Aishwarya Sarthe

December 7, 2023

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The initiative, a first of its kind, seamlessly integrates clinical care and research efforts to establish a specialized clinic catering to the healthcare needs of older LGBTQ+ individuals.

Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health has introduced a pioneering program, Pride at the Jefferson Center for Healthy Aging, aimed at providing primary care to the city's aging LGBTQ+ population. 


The initiative, a first of its kind, seamlessly integrates clinical care and research efforts to establish a specialised clinic catering to the healthcare needs of older LGBTQ+ individuals. The program, which commenced two months ago, focuses on delivering gender-affirming care, HIV treatment, and advanced care planning.

The primary objective of this initiative is to address the healthcare needs of the traditionally underserved LGBTQ+ community, specifically older adults. Pride at the Jefferson Center for Healthy Aging aims to create an inclusive and affirming space where individuals, regardless of their background, feel welcomed, valued, and respected. 

The program strives to fill a critical gap in healthcare services for LGBTQ+ elders, offering specialised care that goes beyond the standard clinical approach.

The program's genesis can be traced back to the vision of Michael Danielewicz, MD, and his team, who recognised the need for tailored healthcare services for the LGBTQ+ community. 

The clinic, led by Dr Danielewicz, includes a dedicated team of four doctors, two nurse practitioners, pharmacists, medical assistants, and a nurse. The staff underwent specialised training from SAGECare, an organisation focusing on LGBTQ+ cultural competency for older adults, ensuring that Pride at the Jefferson Center for Healthy Aging provides a supportive and inclusive environment.

"Inclusivity is about feeling welcomed, valued, and respected, no matter where you're from or who you are," stated Baligh Yehia, MD, president of Jefferson Health. The clinic's commitment to inclusivity goes beyond clinical care, extending to decor and marketing materials designed to convey a message of affirmation and support.

The program acknowledges the historical challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, including loss of community and trust issues within healthcare settings. Jefferson Health recognises the importance of rebuilding trust and providing support in a way that these patients may not have experienced before.

Concerns about missing vulnerable communities have been addressed through meticulous program design. Dr Danielewicz noted by saying, "The data Jefferson is seeing with the clinic appears to be representative of the community." The success of the Pride at the Jefferson Center for Healthy Aging underscores the program's excellence and its potential to be integrated into existing healthcare clinics.

Jefferson Health has expanded its commitment to LGBTQ+ healthcare with two additional initiatives, namely the Einstein Pride Program and Haddonfield Primary Services & Specialty Care, both situated in Philadelphia and South Jersey. 

The overarching goal is to demonstrate that specialised healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community can be seamlessly integrated and delivered with excellence.



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