Michigan Medicine named ‘top performer’ for LGBTQ+ health care equality

September 23, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

Congratulations to Michigan Medicine, which was recently designated as a “top performer” for LGBTQ+ health care equality by the Human Rights Campaign!

The Human Rights Campaign has created the Health Care Equality Index to assess a health care system’s ability to deliver LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and services for patients, visitors, and employees. The index has four major objectives:

  • To ensure foundational protection for patients, visitors and staff in patient and staff policies and provide cultural competency training on LGBTQ+ inclusion
  • To demonstrate progress toward inclusion on LGBTQ+ patient care and support
  • To cultivate an inclusive workforce by providing LGBTQ+-inclusive employee support and benefits
  • To demonstrate public commitment to the LGBTQ+ community

Such objectives are evaluated through staff training, patient services and support offerings, employee benefits and policies, and patient and community engagement.

“Nationally, the LGBTQ+ community continues to face challenges in receiving care that supports their needs,” said David Brown, M.D. “In fact, many members of the community avoid seeking health care because of biases and discrimination. Ensuring that Michigan Medicine expands our awareness and cultural humility in LGBTQ+ health will help these patients receive equitable care so they can thrive and feel valued.”

Helping the LGBTQ+ community

For employees at Michigan Medicine, the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion has created an LGBTQ+ resource group to improve awareness, education and networking on campus. U-M also recently expanded health coverage for transgender employees and family members.

During the Employee Appreciation Day, members from the LGBTQ+ resource group provided Michigan Medicine Pride buttons for employees. While these may seem like a simple giveaway at an event, the buttons may help provide a subtle way for patients, guests and colleagues to infer that they can feel at ease, communicate openly or find an ally in that employee.

“I recently had an interaction with a patient who has been with us for many weeks and had a difficult time coping,” said Lori-Jene Brazier, chaplain in the Spiritual Care Department. “He started communicating more with one of his nurses after he saw the nurse wearing the Michigan Medicine Pride pin. The pin was a way for them to connect and share stories about their lives. The patient also felt more comfortable opening up to me after seeing my pin.”

Among the improvements that Michigan Medicine has made to promote health care for LGBTQ+ individuals includes a dedicated website developed by the Office of Patient Experience focused on diversity, equity and inclusion within the organization. The website includes a variety of resources including role specific training for providing competent care to our transgender patients, as well as links to free training provided by the HRC which offer free continuing education credits for a variety of roles. To connect with the broader community in Ann Arbor, Michigan Medicine also sponsored the Ann Arbor Pride event for the first time.

“We have been working diligently to improve the health care experience for the LGBTQ+ community over the past year,” said Keith Gran, chief patient experience officer. “It’s encouraging to be recognized by the Human Rights Commission’s Health Equity Index and we look forward to continuing to make improvements for our LGBTQ+ patients and families to deliver the best care experience possible.”