Northwestern Memorial Recognized as National Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality

Northwestern Medicine
News June 21, 2012
We at Northwestern Memorial recently had the good fortune of being named a “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality” in the 2012 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) report. This is the first time our hospital has been commended for its commitment to serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Chicago.

The annual survey, conducted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation*, named only 234 healthcare facilities nationwide as Leaders in Healthcare Equality. Northwestern Memorial was one of only three institutions in Illinois recognized.
What we healthcare organizations know, is that LGBT patients and their families can sometimes face challenges in accessing healthcare suited to their unique needs. Northwestern Memorial has long been committed to providing equitable, inclusive care to the LGBT community, but to be recognized as a leader in this area is quite rewarding. To be named a leader, we had to demonstrate that we met several key indicators for equitable care, including nondiscrimination policies for LGBT patients and employees, a guarantee of equal visitation for same-sex partners and parents, and training in LGBT patient-centered care for key staff. This recognition is a reflection of our Patients First mission which assures that the patients we treat who represent many diverse populations receive personalized, high quality care suited to their individual needs.

Following, are just some of the areas where this is most evident:
  • Specialized clinical care – Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group (NMPG) employs several physicians who specialize in the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. They strive to educate both patients and other medical providers about the unique healthcare needs of LGBT patients. They are also strong advocates for creating a welcoming environment where their patients can receive quality non-judgmental care.
  • Education and training – All of our employees undergo CultureVision* training as part of the hospital’s commitment to providing culturally competent care. CultureVision is a comprehensive database that gives healthcare workers a resource to help them improve the quality of care, reduce disparities in patient care and increase patient satisfaction. The LGBT community is one of the groups included in the database. Hospital employees can also access the Safe Space program training, which is an initiative of Northwestern University. The program strives to educate on LGBT issues and mobilize a network of people who are empathetic and knowledgeable about LGBT people and topics. Participants are asked to provide evidence of LGBT support by publicly displaying the Safe Space sticker as a visible symbol of personal commitment.
  • Health education – Our Health Learning Center (HLC) provides resources so that patients, their families and members of the community can access a wide array of health information as well as classes, online services and support groups that can be accessed through the hospital. 
  • Inclusive work environment – Beyond our commitment to serving LGBT patients, we also strive to provide an inclusive work environment for our employees with nondiscrimination employment policies and same-sex domestic partner benefits. Our employees have access to an on campus, affiliate-wide networking group called the Northwestern Chicago Out Network. The group, which launched informally several years ago, quickly became a regular social networking group for the support and encouragement of LGBT faculty, staff, students, fellows, and residents on the Northwestern Chicago campus.

We are so proud to share this recognition and achievement with you. Learn more information about the Healthcare Equality Index 2012*, or to download a free copy of the report

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