Center for LGBTQ+ Health at Cooper Opens in Collingswood

Cooper Care Alliance is excited to announce the opening of a new office dedicated to providing specialized health care for the LGBTQ+ community in South Jersey and surrounding regions.

This center offers a safe space where patients will receive care from knowledgeable providers who understand and advocate for their unique health needs.

“We have created an environment where the LGBTQ+ community can receive the care they deserve,” says Justin Schweitzer, DO, Medical Director for LGBTQ+ Health at Cooper. “Many of our patients have had negative experiences with providers who lack expertise in queer-related health issues, leading to healthcare avoidance. Our center ensures that patients feel seen, and their health needs are addressed.”

The demand for specialized LGBTQ+ health care is high in South Jersey and the Philadelphia region. Patients often wait up to six months for an appointment in Philadelphia, where many from the entire Delaware Valley region seek care due to the lack of local LGBTQ+ health care centers. Dr. Schweitzer works along with S. Ryan Kirker, PA-C, part of Cooper’s LGBTQ+ affirming provider network for more than two years. Ryan Kirker helps the center provide patients with same- or next-day appointment availability and he is very knowledgeable with routine and LGBTQ+ specific health care needs.

The new Collingswood office offers a full range of primary care services. Since 2021, Cooper has established a comprehensive network of primary care providers and specialists to meet the specific needs of the LGBTQ+ community. The goal has always been to create a centralized, inclusive center with specialties such as mental health care and gender-affirming surgical care under one roof.

The Center also offers primary care services for allies and patients who aren’t members of the LGBTQ+ community. The office is inclusive for all!

Dr. Schweitzer highlights the importance of using patients' pronouns and chosen names. "Our care is always gender-affirming and individualized," he says. "It’s vital to connect with health care providers on a human level. Our team understands the high rate of health care avoidance due to past negative experiences, and we aim to provide a safe and welcoming environment.

“Our goal is that every part of the Cooper system is LGBTQ+ friendly and inclusive,” Dr. Schweitzer adds. “Our center ensures coordination of care within this system. When patients feel comfortable with their providers, it enhances communication and improves health care outcomes.”

The new center offers wellness visits, vaccinations, gender-affirming hormone therapy, PEP and PrEP for HIV prevention, and DoxyPEP for STI/STD prevention. We also provide gender-affirming hormone therapy or puberty suppression for minors, both of which do require parental consent. By the end of the year, a goal is to have a plastic surgery provider available for gender-affirming surgery pre-op and post-op care for adults. The center’s future mental health team will address issues such as substance abuse, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicidal tendencies, which are often experienced by the LGBTQ+ community.

“Many patients struggle with anxiety, depression, and gender dysphoria,” says Dr. Schweitzer. “We address mental health conditions daily.”

Cooper Care Alliance is committed to breaking health care barriers for the LGBTQ+ community and their families. "Our mission is to serve, to heal, and to educate,” says Dr. Schweitzer. "We've created a consortium of LGBTQ+-affirming providers who work together to provide the best care. Patients can trust that they will find a safe and supportive environment at our center."

The Center for LGBTQ+ Health at Cooper in Collingswood is located at 17 West Knight Ave in Collingswood, NJ. To make an appointment with Justin Schweitzer, DO (he/him) or S. Ryan Kirker, PA-C (he/they), please call 856.536.1515.