TUH designated LGBTQ healthcare equality provider

TUH received a perfect score based on its policies and procedures regarding LGBTQ treatment options.

Temple University Hospital is now designated an LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader.

The Human Rights Campaign 2018 Healthcare Equality Index survey is used to assess a health care facility’s inclusion of LGBTQ patients and employees.

Of the 626 healthcare facilities that participated in the HEI 2018 survey, 418 were designated as Healthcare Equality Leaders, according to a release by TUH.

In order to become a Healthcare Equality Leader, the facility must score perfectly on a 100-point scale. The previous year, TUH took the 2017 HEI and received a score of 60 out of 100 points based on its policies and procedures regarding LGBTQ treatment.

After receiving the results of the survey in 2017, the hospital implemented a task force to improve its inclusion and accessibility for LGBTQ patients.

The hospital focused on improving its education around using correct pronouns and other barriers LGBTQ people may face, using LGBTQ training modules from the Human Rights Campaign.

The task force is also trying to establish an LGBTQ care center, said Ben Moore, the co-founder and co-chair of the Temple Health LGBTQ Alliance Task Force. Moore hopes it will be up and running early next year.

The care center would provide more services and procedures for people in the LGBTQ community, like primary care for hormone therapy replacements. TUH cannot yet provide gender confirmation surgery, but plans to do so after the center opens.

The task force has improved the Lewis Katz School of Medicine curricula by providing up-to-date trainings to students so they are prepared to care for LGBTQ patients.

The hospital also provides resources for self-identified LGBTQ applicants in their residency programs by sending the task force to meet with them to let them know that this is an inclusive, supportive environment.

LGBTQ students at the Katz School of Medicine and at the College of Public Health appreciate TUH’s efforts.

“It really shows me that the university and the entire establishment as a whole really has a focus and a support for that community,” said Holly Rubinson, a sophomore nursing major who identifies as a lesbian. “So to be an LGBTQIA nurse working in a hospital that really supports that community…I’m able to see patients that are of that certain community and the struggles that they’re going through. As a nursing student who is in their position in some ways, I am able to relate and provide better care.”

“Philadelphia, as an entire city, is of course very progressive,” Rubinson added. “And to now see that…Temple doctors and nurses have done certain things to make it that they are ranked in this area is amazing to see. It makes me want to work there.”

TUH also established a transgender advisory board in 2017, which is based in the community and chaired by two Philadelphia residents. The board oversees the hospital to ensure it’s in line with the needs of transgender people. The board meets monthly and focuses on implementing the best medical practices for the transgender community.

“I am just really, really proud to be a part of this,” said Linda Johnson, the co-chair of the transgender advisory board. “We’re doing something that will be lasting, and I think we’re making a big push and we’re making a big statement by doing this initiative, especially in North Philadelphia.”

Moore’s goal is to have other facilities in the Temple Health System, like the Katz School of Medicine, pass the HEI survey by next year.

“It should be fairly easy, because we’re all under the same umbrella so there’s a lot of different areas that could really take advantage,” Moore said.

“For the first time I feel like Temple is breaching a gap,” Johnson said. “I’m very impressed with this and I’m very proud to be apart of the committee and try and make this a better environment that’s more receptive to the transgender population and the LGBTQ.”

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