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Breaking Down Barriers to Health Care for the LGBTQ+ Community

Breaking Down Barriers to Health Care for the LGBTQ+ Community

By |2021-06-03T13:57:17-04:00June 2nd, 2021|

Pride Month is here and with it comes celebrations of the LGBTQ+ community. But the history of Pride is rooted in standing up for the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Although great strides have been made since the first Pride demonstrations, LGBTQ+ individuals face many barriers when attempting to access healthcare. Sometimes these issues are based on discrimination. Other times, it is simply a lack of knowledge from the healthcare providers.

Research states that less than 50% of physician education programs address LGBTQ+ health and only 16% have what is considered “comprehensive” training. This has resulted in a shortage of healthcare providers who are knowledgeable and culturally competent in LGBTQ+ health. And studies suggest that once an LGBTQ+ person has experienced discrimination in healthcare once, they are often significantly less willing to access care.

Studies have shown that LGBTQ+ individuals often have significantly worse healthcare outcomes than cisgender and heterosexual patients. These inequalities include:

  • Lower overall health status
  • Increased risk of some cancers
  • Lesbians are less likely to get preventive services for cancer, including mammograms
  • 19% of transgender persons lack any type of health insurance
  • LGBTQ+ populations have the highest rates of tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use
  • LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to become disabled at a younger age than heterosexual individuals

To address these issues, CentraState is working hard to create a safe environment for all of our patients. In the fall of 2019, a new employee workgroup called the LGBTQ+ Inclusion Committee held its first meeting with the mission to ensure that all members of our community receive compassionate, quality care in an environment free from discrimination.

In the 18 months since the committee launched, its passionate members implemented several significant changes within the hospital. All single-stall restrooms at the medical center have been labeled with signs denoting them as gender-neutral restrooms. A lecture entitled Caring For the LGBTQ+ Patient was added to the curriculum for new hires enrolled in the nurse residency program. The committee spearheads a monthly evening lecture series that is free and open to all who are interested.

CentraState is eager to create a safer, more welcoming environment where staff is educated and sensitive to the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. We are working to do our part to end the healthcare disparities affecting LGBTQ+ individuals. If you would like to support the LGBTQ+ Inclusion Committee, consider signing up for an upcoming lecture or gift a donation to help further its mission.

For more information about the committee, contact

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