Beth Israel Steps Up LGBT Marketing

Crain’s Health Pulse
September 4, 2013
Beth Israel Steps Up LGBT Marketing

With North Shore-LIJ due to open a new facility in the West Village, Beth Israel is working to corner the LGBT market in Manhattan and beyond. The hospital recently hired Barbara Warren, a prominent LGBT advocate, to blog on health care and raise awareness of health issues and the hospital's record of specializing in care that is sensitive to LGBT needs.

Ms. Warren was formerly director of the LGBT Center at Roosevelt House-Hunter College. Continuum Health Partners runs Beth Israel Medical Group, located in the West Village, which has a longstanding LGBT practice.

"[Beth Israel] is a medical home for the LGBT community," said Dr. Richard Amarain, Continuum's vice president for ambulatory care. "We have the infrastructure in place, and we are very proud of what we do, including [medical] residency education."

But the system wants to do more to draw such patients. There's a big market at stake. Ms. Warren said "about 4% to 7% of the New York metropolitan area identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, so that's about half a million people."

The health system has stepped up its advertising in certain periodicals and in targeted neighborhoods like Chelsea. "Not the papers you pick up in the bars, but ones like Gay City News," said a Continuum spokesman.

Providing LGBT-friendly services in the outer boroughs remains a challenge, Dr. Amarain said. Beth Israel Medical Group has a practice in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, but in general most patients come into New York for LGBT-friendly care.

The shortage of services outside New York City may improve. Dr. Amarain said after a recent talk he gave addressed to physicians, "The question I kept getting was, 'How do we start something like this? How can I get my hospital to do this?’ ”


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