Just Read: From Patients to Providers: Changing the Culture in Medicine Toward Sexual and Gender Minorities

This is a perspective piece accompanying the study that I wrote about yesterday.

In some areas, like academic medicine, the medical profession continues to change at a pace slower than the world around it:

we posit that SGM* trainees and health professionals face discrimination in medicine and that these environments are ultimately connected to the inequities that our patients encounter when accessing care.

*The term SGM is inclusive of all nonheterosexual and noncisgender individuals, including, but not limited to, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), queer, or questioning.

In a recent survey of LGBT physicians, 10% reported being denied referrals from and 15% being harassed by heterosexual colleagues. In addition, 22% reported being socially ostracized, and 65% heard derogatory comments about LGBT individuals in the workplace.

There are really good examples given, in list form, of leading edge practices at academic institution. This list should not fit on just one page, considering the number of academic institutions that exist.

Very few academic medical centers are rated best places to work for SGM people

Very few academic medical centers and medical schools are rated in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.

Human Rights Campaign, Corporate Equality Index, 2015 - How to be a best place to work.
Human Rights Campaign, Corporate Equality Index, 2015 – How to be a best place to work.

For example, University of California, San Diego, which is cited in the perspective piece for having single-occupancy bathrooms, does not have a CEI ranking (you can view their lack of one here).

To see the difference of what it means to score 100%, look at Kaiser Permanente’s.

It takes a commitment to do this, one which our organization has had since the inception of the index. (see: Just Read: A perfect score for Kaiser Permanente on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index again for 2015)

As it says in the piece:

Medicine should be at the vanguard of change and serve as a respite from societal discrimination, not as a haven for its perpetuation. Although these shortcomings likely are not universal, they remain inappropriately common.

There’s a rich opportunity for collaboration here, because there are parts of the medical profession that are leading change outside and inside of academia. Thanks again to the authors and the Academic Medicine for the reminder that the journey isn’t over.

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Ted Eytan, MD