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OHSU named LGBTQ HealthcareEquality Leader for eighth time

Human Rights Campaign Foundation recognizes equity, inclusivity for LGBTQ patients, employees
a colorful banner with OHSU logo is carried by people at the portland pride parade
In this 2018 photo, OHSU employees and their families take part in the Portland Pride Parade. OHSU has been recognized as an LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader, for commitment to offering an equitable, inclusive environment for LGBTQ patients and employees. (Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Oregon Health & Science University is again being recognized as an LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. OHSU has earned this honor eight times since 2011.

OHSU is named a leader in the Healthcare Equality Index 2020, a national benchmarking tool that evaluates health care facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of patients, visitors and employees who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, or LGBTQ. OHSU is among 495 institutions nationwide and 11 in Oregon that earned a top score of 100 for their commitment to offering an equitable, inclusive environment for LGBTQ patients and employees.

Amy Penkin, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
Amy Penkin, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

“The Healthcare Equality Index offers a roadmap for achieving equality. It can also serve to inspire OHSU to go beyond providing important institutional policies, procedures and resources by also encouraging meaningful change through daily actions by every OHSU member to create a truly affirming, inclusive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ patients and the broader community,” said Amy Penkin, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., director of the OHSU Transgender Health Program.

Institutions recognized as LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leaders meet several key indicators for equitable care, including non-discrimination policies for LGBTQ patients and employees, a guarantee of equal hospital visitation for same-sex partners and parents, LGBTQ health education for staff, and offering a company-wide health insurance plan with transgender-inclusive coverage.

Among OHSU’s LGBTQ-focused programs is the Partnership Project, which has provided comprehensive services to people living with HIV since 1995. And since 2015, OHSU’s Transgender Health Program has also offered support, information and advocacy to transgender patients seeking health care at OHSU. In addition, the OHSU fertility clinic has also been a leader in family planning for LGBTQ communities.

Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS
Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS

OHSU recently reaffirmed its commitment to offering welcoming care to LGBTQ patients in light of the U.S. government’s decision to reverse civil rights protections for transgender, gender-nonconforming, gender-nonbinary and gender-diverse people. In a June 13 statement, OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D. M.P.H., FACS, said in part: “We know that high-quality health care in affirming, welcoming environments can be lifesaving. OHSU will not tolerate discrimination of any kind in our health, education or research missions and will continue to protect and support our transgender communities.”

two woman laughing together in a hospital hallway
Jean Bryant shares a light moment with nurse Julia O’Neill at OHSU. After having treatment at OHSU, Bryant became an OHSU Transgender Health Program volunteer. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

“The health care facilities participating in the HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) are not only on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also making it clear from their participation in the HEI that they stand on the side of fairness and are committed to providing inclusive care to their LGBTQ patients,” said HRC President Alphonso David, J.D. “We commend all of the HEI participants for their commitment to providing inclusive care for all.”

OHSU has been part of the Healthcare Equality Index every year since 2011. For eight of those nine years, the university has been named a Healthcare Equality Leader, meaning it earned a top score of 100.

OHSU’s ongoing efforts to improve equity and inclusion for LGBTQ patients and employees are supported by the OHSU Diversity Advisory Council, which created the university’s first Diversity Strategic Plan in 2008.

For more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2020, see the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s announcement, where you also can download a free copy of the full report.

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