Cooley Dickinson Hospital Earns Top Score as LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader

NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Hospital received an evaluation of 100 and the designation of LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 15th anniversary edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors, and employees.

Cooley Dickinson is the only hospital in Western Mass. — and one of 14 in the Commonwealth — to earn the LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader designation.

According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 906 healthcare facilities actively participated in the 2022 HEI survey, and 496 of those earned an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader designation.

“We are here for all patients, no matter who they love, what they believe, or where they come from,” said Dr. Lynnette Watkins, Cooley Dickinson Health Care president and CEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the health inequalities that have existed for decades. I am so proud of our teams at Cooley Dickinson who put equitable, inclusive, and affirming care at the center of the services we provide here. They are to be commended for doing this critical work every day, and earning this designation from the Human Rights Campaign validates their efforts.”

Cooley Dickinson-affiliated primary-care providers and specialists complete continuing-education training to better understand and serve LGBTQ+ patients. Some medical practices, such as Oxbow Primary Care, offer routine screening and health maintenance, including hormone therapy and other gender-affirming medical care. Northampton Plastic Surgery provides top surgery or gender-affirming mastectomy and chest contouring for transmasculine patients. Vocal coaching is offered through Cooley Dickinson Rehabilitation Services.

A Positive Place of Cooley Dickinson, which has been providing comprehensive HIV services for more than three decades to gay and bisexual men and other same-gender-loving men (among with other clients), has more recently been partnering with healthcare providers and community-based human-services programs in providing transgender health navigation for individuals at risk of HIV/HCV/STI.

Within the Mass General Brigham system, Cooley Dickinson partners with specialists for local patients to receive other gender-affirming surgeries in Boston. Across the Mass General Brigham system, staff are in the process of finalizing a transgender-inclusive rooming policy.

Cooley Dickinson has earned an overall score of 100 on the past five Healthcare Equality Index benchmark surveys.