Virtua Health to Open Primary Care Practice for LGBTQ+ Community
Marlton medical office to provide a range of health services and ongoing care relationships
June 21, 2022 - Coinciding with Pride Month, Virtua Health will open a new primary care practice that will serve as a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies while offering a range of specialized health screenings and services. The Marlton, N.J., practice is called Virtua Pride Primary Care and will begin welcoming patients on June 27. It will serve adults as well as children ages 7 and up.
“Our vision at Virtua Health is to be the region’s trusted choice for personalized health care and wellness,” said Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, president and CEO of Virtua Health (he/him). “Virtua Pride Primary Care reflects that intention by offering services that are meaningful and necessary in an environment that is welcoming and inclusive.”
Two established Virtua physicians will lead the practice: Shanin Gross, DO (they/them), and Richard Levine, MD (he/him). Both doctors requested to be part of the practice as soon as the opportunity became available.
“I’m pleased that Virtua Health recognizes the need for the LGBTQ+ community to have a safe and affirming space for primary care and, personally, I’m extremely excited to be part of the team that launches this dedicated service,” said Dr. Gross.
“When primary care is at its best, there is a connection between the patient and provider, and a sense that you are a unique individual deserving of a curated plan-of-care,” said Dr. Levine. “That gold standard is what we strive for.”
Specialty services available at Virtua Pride Primary Care include gender-affirming care; HIV testing, prevention, and management; sexual health; medication-assisted treatment for opioid and alcohol abuse; and behavioral health services. The practice also has dedicated schedulers who are trained to assist members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Brandon Balcom (he/him) a travel-services professional in Collingswood, N.J., is among the many local people eager to receive care at Virtua Pride Primary Care. Balcom and his husband, Dane Cox (he/him), moved to New Jersey from Minneapolis, Minn., in early 2022 for Cox’s work managing an insurance office. They want the peace of mind that comes from having a health care team that’s experienced and interested in caring for LGBTQ+ individuals.
“In the seven years I lived in Minnesota, I never found a primary care practice that offered this type of specialized care,” Balcom said. “There’s a level of comfort that comes with an organization that thinks holistically about all aspects of health. It informs how the doctor interacts with you, the questions they ask, and the considerations they anticipate.”
Another person ready to register for Virtua Pride Primary Care is Shane Lipscomb (he/him), who works at Virtua Marlton Hospital as an assistant nurse manager.
“I’ve seen the ways Virtua has intentionally and actively advanced matters of inclusion and diversity. And, as chair of the OUT at Virtua Colleague Community, I appreciate that we have been hands-on and heard in the formation of this new practice. I definitely plan on being a patient,” Lipscomb said.
OUT at Virtua is one of four Virtua-sponsored employee affinity groups; others are in development. “OUT” stands for open, united, and transformative, and consists of LGBTQ+ colleagues and allies from across the health system. The group serves to advance inclusion, diversity, and equity in patient-care practices and Virtua’s talent-recruitment strategy, and organizes social and educational opportunities for staff.
“Quality care is built on trust and being able to express yourself freely. We want everyone in South Jersey to have a partner in primary care who will be by their side through all the ups and downs of life,” said Rebecca D. Lynch, RN, MHA, senior vice president for Virtua Health and president of Virtua Medical Group (she/her). “That sense of support and understanding is something that, for generations, has not come easily to our LGBTQ+ family and friends. We hope to change that in a small but significant way with Virtua Pride Primary Care.”
Virtua Pride Primary Care is the health system’s 24th primary care location. To learn more about the practice, visit virtua.org/pride. For a complete list of primary care offices or to schedule an appointment, visit virtua.org or call 888-847-8823 (888-VIRTUA-3).