Press Release

For Immediate Release
Jun 16, 2016
Contact : Maureen Gillespie, Public Relations Manager  

Meridian Health Hospitals Named Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality

Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Bayshore Community Hospital Highlighted in Healthcare Equality Index 2016  

Neptune, NJ - The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has recognized two Meridian Health hospitals as leaders in healthcare equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel and Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune have both been recognized as a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization.

The findings were part of HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index 2016, a unique annual survey that encourages equal care for LGBT Americans by evaluating inclusive policies and practices related to LGBT patients, visitors and employees.

“Creating and maintaining an environment in which the uniqueness of each person is valued, and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, is at the core of our diversity principles and also essential to our continued success at Meridian Health,” says Wayne Boatwright, vice president of Cultural Diversity for Meridian Health. “ We work diligently to always promote diversity at every level within our organization, and are sure to treat every patient or family member we encounter with the utmost respect and compassion.”

Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Bayshore Community Hospital earned top marks in meeting non-discrimination and training criteria that demonstrate its commitment to equitable, inclusive care for LGBT patients, and their families, who can face significant challenges in securing the quality healthcare and respect they deserve.

“Our recognition by the Human Rights Campaign will broaden the understanding of diversity and cultural competency,” says Melissa Harker, MSN, RN, BC, corporate manager of Nursing Education and chair of Pride and Allies at Meridian, a new Team Member Resource Group devoted to increasing awareness and understanding of issues and concerns of LGBT team members and communities. “We will practice with the ability to provide greater clinical, academic, and social sensitivity, which in turn will support our professional responsibility for advocacy, equality, and human rights. Quality healthcare for everyone is an essential component of our culture at Meridian Health.”

Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Bayshore Community Hospital are members of a select group of496 health care facilities nationwide to be named Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality. Facilities awarded this title meet key criteria, including patient and employee non-discrimination policies that specifically mention sexual orientation and gender identity, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and LGBT health education for key staff members.

Meridian has a long history of collaborating with local and national LGBT organizations and leaders in developing best practices and procedures for serving the LGBT community. Among its many accomplishments are the creation of a system-wide interdisciplinary committee to develop transgender policies for patients and team members; providing lectures and training to physicians, clinicians, and team members in caring for the LGBT community; and developing education through our Cultural Ambassador Program on best practice approaches to providing culturally sensitive and competent care to LGBT patients.

“Despite all the progress we’ve made, far too many LGBT people still lack inclusive and affirming health care. Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality are helping to change that, and, in the process, making the lives of LGBT patients and their families better each and every day,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “LGBT people have a right to be treated equally in all aspects of our lives, and HRC celebrates Bayshore Community Hospital and Jersey Shore University Medical Center for their work in creating inclusive and welcoming environments for all patients.”

The Healthcare Equality Index offers healthcare facilities unique and powerful resources designed to help provide equal care to a long-overlooked group of patients, as well as assistance in complying with regulatory requirements and access to high-quality staff training.

For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2016, or to download a free copy of the report, visit

About Meridian Health

A leading not-for-profit health care organization in New Jersey, comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, and Meridian Partner Companies that include home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, ambulatory care, ambulance services, fitness and wellness centers, and outpatient centers. In May, Meridian Health and Hackensack University Health Network signed a definitive agreement to merge. Meridian Health has consistently been rated among the top performing health systems in New Jersey for clinical quality, is one of the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” for six consecutive years, and is the recipient of numerous state and national recognitions for patient care and nursing excellence. Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium alongside six of the nation’s leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies. With more than 100 convenient locations, over 2,300 beds, nearly 15,000 team members, and affiliations with more than 2,700 of the area’s finest physicians, Meridian Health is a leading health care provider in New Jersey, providing quality health services, facilities, and programs. For more information, please visit