|4 ways to promote equity of care in your LGBTQA patient community|
Several events happened recently to highlight the ongoing need to reduce the disparity of health care experienced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied (LGBTQA) community. Such disparity was documented in the 2010 survey by the national LGBT organization Lambda Legal, which found that nearly 56 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and 70 percent of transgender people have experienced discrimination while accessing healthcare in the United States.1 As healthcare leaders in the Greater Charlotte region, I encourage you to use the following recent events as a teachable moment for yourselves and your staff.
Here are 4 ways to promote equity of care for your LGBTQA populations (both patients and employees):
1. Read the newly-released AAMC report on curriculum and cultural changes in medical education
In November of this year, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released their report, Implementing Curricular and Institutional Climate Changes to Improve Health Care for Individuals Who Are LGBT, Gender Nonconforming, or Born with DSD: A Resource for Medical Educators. (Available for free download here.) AAMC cites the reason for producing this report in their press release: “There has been no standardized set of competencies for medical education to address the health of individuals who are or may be LGBT, gender nonconforming, and/or born with DSD [differences in sex development]. Therefore, even the most progressive institutions have lacked a guide to direct curricular and institutional climate changes specific to these populations.”
The 314-page report is written by AAMC’s Advisory Committee on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Development. It’s designed to provide education about the health needs of LGBT, gender nonconforming and/or those born with DSD, to support medical schools in integrating this content into medical education, and to highlight national resources and academic work in this area.
According to this short video about AAMC’s efforts in diversity education, they are the first and only academic health institution to produce a comprehensive and evidence-based curriculum for education on LGBT and DSD populations. AAMC plans to add additional resources for LGBTQA patients, faculty and staff to their MedEdPORTAL site in January 2015.
Challenge: How well do you and your staff demonstrate the Personal and Professional Development competency domain as described in the report?
Practice flexibility and maturity in adjusting to change with the capacity to alter one’s behavior by: Critically recognizing, assessing, and developing strategies to mitigate one’s own implicit (i.e., automatic or unconscious) biases in providing care to the individuals described above [LGBTQA and DSD] and recognizing the contribution of bias to increased iatrogenic risk and health disparities.
2. Perform an organizational self-assessment using the same survey as the newly-recognized companies in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI)
Also in November, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released their twelfth annual Corporate Equality Index report, rating large U.S. employers and their policies and practices toward LGBTQA employees. Businesses rated 100 percent on the voluntary employer surveys are recognized in a "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality" list. Several North Carolina companies are among the highest scoring for LGBTQA equality, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, GlaxoSmithKline, and Charlotte’s own Compass Group USA Inc.
The CEI survey rates organizations on factors like non-discrimination/equal employment policies, spousal and partner benefits, transgender-inclusive benefits, organizational LGBT competency and public engagement in LGBT issues. Regardless of whether your company participates in the CEI survey process, the survey criteria can be used to start organizational discussions about creating more welcoming workplaces for LGBTQA employees.
Challenge: Download the CEI survey questions and assess how your organization would perform on items like including sexual orientation and gender identity topics in your diversity training for employees and supervisors.
3. Attend the GCHEG January educational event on equity of care
GCHEG has announced that equity of care will be the topic for our January 22, 2015 annual kickoff dinner. This year’s event features a panel of experts on diversity and inclusion, moderated by Peggy Harris, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Carolinas HealthCare System. The expert panelists include Meka Sales, Program Officer, Health Care, of The Duke Endowment; Cheryl Emanuel, from the Mecklenburg County Health Department; and Madison Hardee from Legal Services of Southern Piedmont. The event is pre-approved for 1.5 hours of ACHE Face-to-Face Education credit.
Challenge: Invite your colleagues to hear from these local thought leaders about tactics to reduce the disparity of care in our own community. Event details and registration information is online.
4. Download and share free resources from ACHE
While this isn’t a new development, the ACHE continues to update their robust list of LGBTQA resources at http://www.ache.org/policy/diversity_LGBT.cfm, which is open to the public – no ACHE login required. Materials include select publications from national agencies, information on creating a welcoming environment, and links to national LGBTQA organizations and initiatives.
Challenge: Visit the ACHE page for LGBT resources and share an article with your team. Demonstrate your thought leadership and commitment to a diverse healthcare workforce.
1 When Health Care Isn’t Caring: Lambda Legal’s Survey of Discrimination Against LGBT People and People with HIV (New York: Lambda Legal, 2010). Available at www.lambdalegal.org/health-care-report.
Anna Vordermark is the senior manager of thought leadership communications for Premier, Inc.