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The Importance of Education Surrounding LGBTQ+ Communities

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By Chris Waybright, MSN, FNP-C
Assistant Director of Advanced Practice Clinicians


Disparities within LGBTQ+ Communities in Healthcare

Equity, access and inclusion in the healthcare setting are vital to the safety of our patients and colleagues. While we see an opportunity to address these topics across all populations, the LGBTQ+ community is disproportionally impacted by mental health and substance use health disparities at different points in their lives. LGBTQ+ youth are 2-3 times more likely to attempt suicide and experience higher rates of homelessness, while the adult population has higher rates of substance abuse and employment discrimination. We also see that LGBTQ+ elders are more likely to face financial hardship and social isolation. These health disparities highlight our healthcare systems’ need to be a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community. However, a national poll found that one out of every six LGBTQ+ people describe facing discrimination in the medical setting, and this statistic increased to one out of three for transgender individuals. As healthcare providers, we owe it to our patients and colleagues to shift the paradigm and prevent these negative interactions by cultivating a culture of inclusivity and acceptance while promoting the importance of education surrounding the LGBTQ+ community.

2023 Hospital Medicine Bootcamp Experience

Recently, I had the pleasure of addressing the growing need for clinician education surrounding LGBTQ+ care, affirming language and documentation, and gender-affirming interventions at the 2023 Hospital Medicine Bootcamp, presented by the American Academy of Physician Associates and the Society of Hospital Medicine. In partnership with Dr. Keshav Khanijow of Johns Hopkins Medicine, we presented, “When the Answers Aren’t Straight Forward: LGBTQ+ Health for Hospitalized Patients,” to healthcare providers across the United States. I am thankful for this platform and the opportunity to provide training surrounding appropriate terminology, language and clinical considerations specific to the LGBTQ+ population. I hope this training will allow clinicians from across the country to ally for our LGBTQ+ patients and colleagues and ultimately advocate for change in the care we provide.

LGBTQ+ Resource Group at TeamHealth

TeamHealth has been a leader in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for patients and team members. I continue to be inspired by the meaningful work TeamHealth is doing to address healthcare disparities and inequities nationwide. Despite social and political stances, we owe it to our patients, colleagues, and future generations to give a voice to those at risk for inequity, and in doing so, we will save lives.

In the role of Assistant Director of Advanced Practice Clinicians, I am most grateful to support more than 2,000 advanced practice clinicians providing acute care services across emergency medicine, hospital medicine and critical care. The work these clinicians and teams are doing to address inequities and disparities in their communities is inspiring.

See more about TeamHealth’s dedication to DEI