Coming out to a healthcare provider has positive effects on health. In one survey of lesbian women in Portland Oregon, respondents who were ’out’ to their provider were more likely to have had a Pap smear and to currently be a non-smoker.*
A healthy community benefits us all. Becoming a welcoming provider can also have positive effects for your practice and your community. It can also
- Increase word of mouth referrals
- Foster better communication with your patients that can result in more accurate diagnosis and care.
- Increased patient compliance.
- Greater patient satisfaction.
What can you do?
Be aware of health issues that may impact LGBT people differently.
- Health disparities impact LGBT people. Find out how and why. The National Coalition for LGBT Health identified key health disparities for LGBT people. Find out more about these areas.
- Learn more about the specific health needs and behavior of LGBT youth, and ways disparities impact them differently than adults and than heterosexual peers.
- Discuss these issues with your patients. Help them assess their health. Better information equals better care.
Show your commitment to providing care to all in our community.
- Display symbols that communicate that you care about LGBT patients.
- Post your office non-discrimination policy.
- Provide waiting room magazines and pamphlets that cater to a wide range of individuals and interests, including LGBT people.
- Conduct an Inclusion Audit of your office or facility.
- Learn more about ways to make your office more open and inclusive to LGBT people with the new guide Straight for Equality in Healthcare by PFLAG.
Planned Parenthood provides trainings on topics of interest to providers. We can also suggest additional resources about health care and LGBT people. Some online resources include:
- NEW! The National LGBT Health Education Center provides educational programming and consultation for health care organizations with the goal of eliminating health disparities among LGBT people.
- NEW! Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations Information & Resource Kit
- NEW! Web-based seminar for health professionals working to decrease smoking dependence among LGBT people Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Sensitivity Training for Tobacco Cessation Providers
- Free Online Continuing Medical Education Course (CME): Tobacco Use and LGBT Individuals from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. This free online course reviews the scientific literature on tobacco use and tobacco-related health disparities among LGBT populations.
- The Fenway Institute online learning modules on LGBT Health
- American Medical Association video "Patient Sexual Health History: What You Need to Know to Help"
- Online course Removing the Barriers: Providing Culturally Competent Care to Lesbians and Women who Partner with Women, from The Mautner Project
- Guidelines for Care of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Patients, from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Access Project. Community standards of practice for the provision of quality health care services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients.
- Kaiser Permanente National Diversity Council and the Kaiser Permanente National Diversity Department. A provider’s handbook on culturally competent care: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered population. San Francisco, CA, 2000. To order: Kaiser National Diversity Department: 510.271.6663
- Transgender Sexual And Reproductive Health: Unmet Needs And Barriers to Care
You're a piece of the puzzle! Healthy people make healthy communities. Let LGBT people know you care about their health!
*White JC, Dull VT. Room for Improvement: Communication between Lesbians and Primary Care Providers. In Ponticelli CM, Ed. Gateways to Improving Lesbian Health and Health Care: Opening Doors. 1998. The Haworth Press, Inc. Binghamton, NY. pp. 95-110.