Pride Day was made official by Bill Clinton in 1999, and now it’s a monthlong celebration in June. Unfortunately, the LGBTQ+ community is still subject to discrimination, including at health care facilities, which may lead to some people avoiding medical care altogether. As a health care organization, it is imperative we provide all individuals with a safe space to receive the care they need and have their voices heard.
That’s why I’m proud of the work and progress we’ve made over the past few years. For example, we were recently recognized for the third time for our outstanding dedication to workplace equity, earning a perfect score with the 2022 LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The HEI evaluates and scores health care facilities using detailed criteria falling under four central pillars: foundational policies and training in LGBTQ+ patient-centered care; LGBTQ+ patient services and support; employee benefits and policies; and patient and community engagement.
Last year, we also began expanding our services for LGBTQ+ patients by offering gender affirmation surgery. Using a comprehensive care approach, physicians and health care teams across various specialties, including primary, psychiatry, endocrinology and surgery, work together to treat the whole patient.
Additionally, for employees, the LGBTQ+ employee resource group meets regularly with the goal of creating and fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for patients, visitors and employees through education, support and advocacy.
Thank you for your ongoing dedication to providing safe and equitable health care to all.
Russell E. Armistead, MBA
CEO, UF Health Jacksonville