For Immediate Release: June 25, 2014
AtlantiCare’s PRIDE (Promoting Respect, Individuality, Diversity and Equality) employee resource group held a preview party for its ‘It Gets Better’ video premier Tuesday June 24 at the AtlantiCare LifeCenter, Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.
The video depicts AtlantiCare staff and leadership – LGBT and allies – describing the struggles they and their family members faced as children and young adults and offering hope for youth facing similar challenges today. “There are many hard times, but eventually you will get beyond those times,” Kurk Elsey, radiologic technologist, ARMC, and PRIDE member, says in the video. “There are brighter things waiting for you, and you can have a wonderful life.”
The It Gets Better Project™ offers hope and support to LGBT populations across the globe through affirmation of social and political change as well through user-submitted videos and testimonials. AtlantiCare PRIDE will submit its video to the national campaign and use it in AtlantiCare’s diversity education for staff and the community.
“People in the LBGT community face very scary life experiences when it comes to healthcare,” notes Penny Campanella, senior compensation analyst and PRIDE ally, AtlantiCare. Her brother is gay, Campanella explains, and struggled with being bullied as a child. “Across the nation, LGBT individuals often suffer disparities in healthcare, such as lack of access to care and lack of community and environmental supports. They are often afraid to tell health care providers the truth. AtlantiCare supports and values its customers and its staff – in all their differences - and promotes honesty, respect, and integrity in patient-provider interactions.”
“AtlantiCare is committed to improving health outcomes in our community, and that includes the health of diverse ethnic and social populations, who have diverse needs” says Cydney Savage, LPC, director, Adult Patient Outservices, AtlantiCare Behavioral Health and PRIDE member. “LGBT adolescents and young adults are three times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers, and are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders, according to the American Association of Suicidology – due, in part, to bullying and harassment. The ‘It Gets Better’ campaign provides a direct link to those in our community with a message of hope and resiliency – and it’s a message people in our community need to hear.”
“We are sending a message of love: be proud of who you are,” adds Campanella. “It’s never easy to be different, but the support you need is out there. In standing up for what we believe, we hope that future generations have the support they need to live without fear and without animosity.”
About AtlantiCare’s Diversity & Disparities Council
AtlantiCare’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, which includes physicians, staff and leadership from throughout AtlantiCare, established employee resource groups (ERGs). The ERGs help support the mission of the Diversity & Disparities Council by educating staff about the culture/community; celebrating community/cultural holidays and events; representing AtlantiCare at community/cultural events; enhancing recruitment efforts; and identifying top health concerns and developing ideas for addressing these concerns. AtlantiCare ERG groups include African Americans, Asian Pacific, Hispanic, LGBT, Military, Interfaith, and Disabled.
To view AtlantiCare PRIDE’s It Gets Better video, visit AtlantiCare’s YouTube Page. For more information or to find an AtlantiCare physician or provider, call the AtlantiCare Access Center at 1-888-569-1000, visit www.atlanticare.org or find AtlantiCare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atlanticare.
Jennifer Tornetta, (O) 609-569-7010, (C) 609-335-3446,
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