Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veteran Care - James J. Peters VA Medical Center
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James J. Peters VA Medical Center


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veteran Care

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VHA) is committed to providing quality care to all Veterans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Veterans. Excellent care has no boundaries.

We Serve All Who Served poster

James J. Peters VA Medical Center seeks to promote the health, welfare, and dignity of LGBT Veterans and their families. We are committed to making sensitive and high quality health care accessible. Our policies and practices focus on ensuring a safe, welcoming, and affirmative environment of care for LGBT Veterans. Our employees receive training in clinically competent care that is responsive to the unique needs of LGBT Veterans.

Participate in an LGBTQ Needs Survey for the Bronx

LGBTQ Needs Survey

Please participate in an LGBTQ Needs Survey for the Bronx.


VA cares about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Veterans.

VA has always served LGBT Veterans. We serve all who served and we thank you for your service! In recent years, the Veterans Health Administration has renewed and deepened its commitment to addressing the health needs of LGBT Veterans, and providing a welcoming environment of care for them and their families.

VA serves a large LGBT population.

America is home to an estimated one million LGBT service members and Veterans who have served the US military with honor and distinction.

VA policy prohibits discrimination.

VA does not tolerate discrimination against patients, their families or employees on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

  1. Veterans and their family members will not be subject to discrimination for any reason, including for reasons of age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
  2. VA will not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, gender identity, parental status, sexual orientation, age, disability, genetic information, or retaliation for opposing discriminatory practices or participating in the discrimination complaint process.

If you believe you have experienced discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression at our facility, please contact our Patient Advocate at (718)584-9000 x6602/x6516 or our LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator at (718) 584-9000 x5948.

The James J Peters VAMC is a Leader in LGBT Health Equality.

Since 2013, the Human Rights Campaign has designated the James J Peters VA Medical Center as a leader in LGBT Health Equality. Maintaining our designation as a leader requires educating our staff about the healthcare needs of LGBT Veterans.

Because we are dedicated to caring for LGBT Veterans, we strive to:

  1. Demonstrate sensitivity and respect at all times to the cultures of LGBT communities.
  2. Provide care of high quality that meets the full range of health needs of LGBT individuals.

VA cares about your health!

Routine medical checkups and preventative care are important, even if you’re feeling fine. Studies have shown that LGBT individuals - like members of other minority groups - are at increased risk for high levels of stress. This stress can lead to:

  1. Problems with tobacco, alcohol and other substances.
  2. Physical and emotional pain from past and present experiences of discrimination and stigma.
  3. Physical and emotional trauma.
  4. Anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.
  5. Sexually transmitted diseases including (but not limited to) HIV infection.

Many LGBT individuals delay going for care because they are not sure they will find health care providers who will understand and respect them. This can lead to:

  1. Less use of routine and preventive care
  2. Delayed diagnosis and treatment for health problems including high blood pressure and cancer
  3. Poorer health over-all

Remember, you are welcome here!

At VA, you have a right to expect respectful treatment. If you experience stigma or discrimination in any form, contact the LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator at (718) 584-9000, ext. 5948.

Disclose your sexual orientation and gender identity to the professionals you see for your health care.

The more complete and accurate the information you give them about yourself and your health concerns, the better the care they can give you.

Clinical Services for LGBT Veterans

Services: Below is a partial list of services. Direct questions to your primary care provider or the LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator at (718) 584-9000, ext. 5948.

    1. LGBT Veteran Support Groups (direct inquires to Batsheva Halberstam, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, at 718-584-9000 x5948)
    2. Culturally sensitive gynecological services for lesbian and bisexual women, and for transgender men and women
    3. LGBT family building services, including:
      • Culturally sensitive counselling
      • Infertility treatments
      • Gamete cryopreservation
      • IUI

    1. Gender transition services, including:
      • Mental health evaluations and support
      • Gender affirming hormones
      • Gender affirming prosthetics, including wigs, packers, stand-to-pee devices, gaffs, chest binders, breast forms, surgical compression vests, and dilators
      • Referrals for gender confirmation surgery
      • Pre-surgical evaluations
      • Post-surgical follow-up care

  1. LGBT-affirmative mental health services
  2. State of the art treatment for HIV
  3. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) against HIV (direct inquires to Dr. Gelman at (718) 584-9000, ext. 6680) (If you think you were exposed to HIV, call the NYC PEP Hotline at (884) 373-7692 or go immediately to a clinic or emergency room and ask for PEP)
  4. Vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

Do you want to learn more about any of these services?
Do you have suggestions for improving them?
Do you have suggestions for other programs for LGBT Veterans?

If so, please call:

  1. The LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator: Batsheva Halberstam, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, (718) 584-9000, x5948

Useful Links for Patients and Staff

  1. Participate in an LGBTQ Needs Survey for the Bronx.
  2. VHA Directive 1340: Provision of Health Care for Veterans Who Identify as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual
  3. LGBT Veteran Health Care Fact Sheet
  4. VHA Directive 2013-003, Providing Healthcare For Transgender
  5. The LGBT Community Center (serving metro NYC)
  6. The National LGBT Health Education Center
  7. The Department of Health and Human Services LGBT Page
  8. Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Provider Directory
  9. Top Health Concerns for Each LGBT Population
  10. The Human Rights Campaign: Health Equality Index
  11. VA Office of Patient Care Services LGBT Programs
  12. Organizations that Provide Assistance to the LGBTQ Community
  13. Providers for Transgender and Intersex Patients
  14. Find LGBT Doctors

LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) Program

As of March 2016, each VA facility has a local LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) who is appointed by their facility leadership. The VCC is responsible for promoting best practices for serving LGBT Veterans and connecting LGBT Veterans to services.

Health Information

To learn important information about the unique health risks of LGBT Veterans, download these relevant fact sheets. Here you can also find information about relevant services offered by VA.

Gay and Bisexual
Health Care Fact Sheet

Gay and Bisexual Men Health Care Fact Sheet

Lesbian and Bisexual
Health Care Fact Sheet

Lesbian and Bisexual Women Health Care Fact Sheet

Health Care Fact Sheet

Transgender Women Health Care Fact Sheet

Health Care Fact Sheet

Transgender Men Health Care Fact Sheet


Dr. Batsheva Halberstam, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator
718-584-9000 Ext. 5948

Zed Lucienne
Biomedical Engineer
718-584-9000 Ext. 1404


LGBT Updates